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Do you have a favorite piece of literature? What is it and why is it your favorite??
Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. We appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
Did I give it away? I had to have given it away! Regardless, I’m going to tell you. But first, let’s go down a rabbit howl about my writing for a minute…
As you may or may not know, I lean toward writing dark subjects, whether that is historical fiction or fantasy. None of my books is for the faint of heart. None of my books shies from embarking on discussions of tougher subjects. Whether that topic is sexual abuse and assault, domestic violence, the horrors of war, or the struggle of the weak against the powerful, you can bet that I dive in headfirst.
This drive to talk about darker or uncomfortable topics is something that is innate to me as a person, too. I care a great deal about modern issues, which are built upon the histories of humankind. There is no escape from the ripples of effects through time. You all know that every action has a reaction (or repercussion) and it continues into infinity. Nothing is ever truly completed. That’s why trauma and it’s causes constantly flow into my works.
Historical trauma is a very real thing. For instance, I took a course tied to my day job that explored the reasons why people are and tend to stay in poverty. The biggest factor is that we learn from those who raise us. Usually, everything we learn happens in our most formative years, taught to us by family. So, logically, family teaches us what they know.
Culture varies across the economic spectrum as much as it does across the world. That culture is learned from our family. Class ideology, and worldviews are all informed by the adults showing us the way things are (whether they’re really that way or not). One of the things they inadvertently pass down is the behavior they gained to adapt/respond to trauma. Sometimes, those behaviors are generations deep, meaning that the person you learned something from didn’t necessarily experience the trauma first hand that shaped them.
Historical trauma is far more complicated than this blog entry has time to delve into, but I encourage people to explore it more. Suffice it to say, I learned that day why I am constantly panicked about the number in my bank account, as if I am suffocating and the world will fall apart if it is not high enough. Literal debilitating fear. It’s no joke. There are many other behaviors that I took note of as well. You see, my mother was raised by a teen mom at the end of the 1940s and through 1960s. My grandmother was of the depression generation.
Those things are inextricable from my thinking. I was conditioned this way and it has a big impact on the way that I maneuver the world. So, of course, darker topics of suffering are of interest to me. My father is retired military. We grew up isolated except for school. There were things that happened to me that are nightmarish. All of this shapes my behavior and the things that I focus on, as well as how I am raising my own child.
Interestingly enough, my favorite piece of literature was written by a suspected pedophile. I’m a survivor of a childhood assault. To find this out once I had already fallen in love with the story is devastating. But, I am drawn to the ideas within the story, of monsters and surreal beings. I’m in love with another world resting so close to our own. It’s almost biblical. A strange heaven or hell into which we fall if we are guided past the veil by a strange spirit’s neglect. The rabbits have left the gate open!
Rabbits abound. I had rabbits as a child–little white ones. Would I follow one? If it were dressed in a waistcoat and carried a pocket watch, you bet your bippy I would.
Another aspect of the literature is that it harkens to the pagan ideas of animals as guides of the spirit realm. Alice is navigating a difficult period of her life. She’s somewhat coming of age. She’s too big for these daydreams, yet too young for what comes next. While Alice is schooled in the proper manners of a woman, she’s still not invited to the tea, because she’s a child. One can view the rabbit as a symbol of fertility and thus adulthood, and her chasing that idea through this surreal and unknown realm is her coming to terms with the expectations and roles of women in the world.
Alice sees the Mad Hatter as a drunk at the tea party. And there’s a hookah smoking caterpillar. So many things witnessed in childhood cannot be understood fully until we grow up. Yet, women are expected to remain childlike and innocent… Alice was facing a very strange, no win, future. Her curiosity about it all was luring her toward danger–even if that danger was rabbit shaped.
What I loved about it was the idea of travelling to an alien world that is within walking distance of our own reality. Meeting interesting folks along the way, who weren’t always people, and were definitely strange, and that echoed my sentiments of the world in which I already existed. People are so strange! Moreover, it was interesting the way that this new place defied logic, but in a way Alice had always desired. She found her home world quite illogical, but when faced with her ideas manifest, she found that it just turned to a mess. The laws of our world, which she fought to continually act upon, didn’t apply. What would it be like to travel to a place where what you thought you knew was certain got turned on it’s ear?
In many ways, my trilogy echoes these ideas. Certainly, there are no rabbits to chase, per se. Also, and this is triggering, I can’t shake that what made me susceptible to being assaulted is what also attracts me to Carroll’s work. Damn, that just gives me the creeps. It is true that pedophiles absolutely know and understand the things that children love, and they use them to gain trust and access. For instance, using cute pets like rabbits to lure children. A terrible thing. Truly evil.
Can we ever separate a work from it’s author? This question plagues many avenues of media. Monsters can make great works, but are the works worth retaining in light of the monster that fashioned them? Are we obsessed because we’re trying to figure them out (either out of morbid interest or a desire to protect ourselves)? We’re chasing these rabbits, but I don’t think we’ll ever have a sufficient answer. It’s far too uncomfortable.
I try not to let it bother me too much. I am obsessed with my ancestor’s pagan culture and Halloween! Wonderland and Halloween are full of monsters, not just rabbits, and they’re all carrying strange, if not heart-stopping, stories. The best way to keep safe from them is to know them well.
Hop on over to see what literary works the authors love…