Why I’m heading down the rabbit hole

“Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?’

So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.

There was nothing so VERY remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so VERY much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, `Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!’ (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually TOOK A WATCH OUT OF ITS WAISTCOAT- POCKET, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.

In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.”

      AND so begins Lewis Carroll’s, Alice in Wonderland.

Like Alice in Wonderland I go about my day-to-day life hopeful of falling down a rabbit hole and discovering new ideas or worlds. Sometimes that rabbit hole will lead to a different perspective or it might lead to a fantasy world where dragons live.

I have written before about dragons and their place in fantasy writing but not about rabbit holes.

So let me start where it began: Alice in Wonderland.

Lewis Carroll, of course, didn’t invent rabbit holes, but his story about a girl who falls down a rabbit hole into an unknown, disorientating and magical world has inspired many uses of the term.
For me I’d like to start with the story itself and the white rabbit.
I love from the first page its deceptively innocent beginning. The idea that an ordinary young girl bored with her life has her world turned upside down after seeing a talking rabbit with a pocket watch, and ‘burning with curiosity’ she follows him.
How wonderful it is for Alice and the reader to be totally surprised. Carroll uses simple but precise words that say exactly what needs to be said. ‘Burning with Curiosity’ – there isn’t a better way to say that.
THAT IS the kind of feeling I want to inspire in my books.
Now though to the term “down the rabbit hole”.
There are several commonly accepted meanings.
  1. A metaphor for entry into an unknown world
  2. Falling into and becoming entrapped in a nonsensical situation or environment
  3. A slang expression for a psychedelic experience
  4. Going on a never ending search on the internet where one search takes you to one page, that takes you to another, that takes you to another and so on
  5. It is also associated with philosophical and existential thinking in search of the true reality but also the notion that venturing too far down is probably not that great of an idea.
Which definition do you prefer?
Lets look to Alice when she says to the Cheshire Cat: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? And the Cat replies: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
For me where I want to get to is simple.

The promise of a rabbit hole is finding magical and extraordinary in every day life. Letting my imagination take me to bizarre and interesting places. It’s the possibility of these adventures becoming wonderful stories. And while the rabbit hole is a nonsensical escape, I can always come back to the real world when I’m ready.
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Kylie Fennell
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