Charles Lutwidge Dodgson better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll was born January 27, 1832 in England and died on January 14 1898. He was an all-around talent. During his life he majored in writing, math, logic and photography. He was also an Anglican deacon. He is best known for his children’‘s work – mainly the genre of literary nonsense. His most famous writings are Alice’‘s Adventures in Wonderland, the sequel Through the Looking-Glass and the poems – Jabberwocky and the Hunting of the Snark (An Agony, in Eight Fits).
Thanks for sitting down with me Charles. I appreciate the interview? Can I call you Lewis?
The time has come
The walrus said
To talk of many things:
Of shoes- and ships-
And sealing wax-
Of cabbages and kings-
And why the see is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings
I’d like to ask you a few questions about creativity? What’s the genesis of the creative spark?
‘‘How are you getting on?” said the [Cheshire] Cat, as soon as there was mouth enough for it to speak with.
Alice waited till the eyes appeared, and then nodded. ‘‘It’s no use speaking to it,’" she thought, ‘‘till its ears have come, or at least one of them.’‘ (Ch. 8 - The Queen’s Croquet-Ground)
The keys to writing a good novel?
Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out —
And now our tale is done
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun. (Opening poem, stanza six)
What upsets you most about e-books?
“What is the use of a book,’‘ thought Alice, ‘‘without pictures or conversations?’" (Ch. 1 - Down the Rabbit-Hole)
And how do you explain the demise of the Printed Press?
"Speak English!" said the Eaglet. ‘‘I don’t know the meaning of half those long words, and I don’t believe you do either!"
Ha, ha. Let’s get more serious. What’s the essence of democracy – in the US and abroad?
‘‘A cat may look at a king,’ said Alice. ‘‘I’ve read that in some book, but I don’t remember where.’‘ (Ch. 8 - The Queen’s Croquet-Ground)
What’s the solution to our country's tribalism?
The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday-but never jam today
It must come sometime to jam today, Alice objected
No it can’t said the Queen It’s jam every other day. Today isn’t any other day, you know
Ok. Seriously, what’s the real solution to the Budget crisis and the coronavirus epidemic?
‘‘I think you might do something better with the time,’" she said, ‘‘than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’‘(Ch. 7 - A Mad Tea-Party)
Let’s try some politics and national affairs? What do you think of the Democratic Presiidential debates?
‘‘I don’t think they play at all fairly,’‘ Alice began, in rather a complaining tone, ‘‘and they all quarrel so dreadfully one can’t hear oneself speak — and they don’t seem to have any rules in particular; at least, if there are, nobody attends to them.’"(Ch. 8 - The Queen’s Croquet-Ground)
Billionaires trying to buy elections?
‘‘DRINK ME’"(Ch. 1 - Down the Rabbit-Hole)
Some say Politics make strange bedfellows. What say you?
If you drink much from a bottle marked ‘‘poison” it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later. (Ch. 1 - Down the Rabbit-Hole)
So why deal with the other side?
‘‘Well, I’ll eat it,’‘ said Alice, ‘‘and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I’ll get into the garden, and I don’t care which happens!’‘. (Ch. 1 - Down the Rabbit-Hole)
A candidate’s failure to supply his tax returns?
Curiouser and curiouser! (Ch. 2 - The Pool of Tears)
And how do Democrats think of Republicans?
The more there is of mine, the less there is of yours.
And how do Republicans think of Democrats?
It’s always tea-time.
Yes, that’s it! Said the Hatter with a sigh, it’s always tea time.”
And how does the average voter feel?
My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.
What voters think of both parties?
“You used to be much more..."muchier." You’ve lost your muchness.”
What do the voters really think of the Press, talk radio, etc?
If everybody minded their own business,’ the Duchess said in a hoarse growl, ‘‘the world would go round a deal faster than it does.’‘ (Ch. 6 - Pig and Pepper)
What does a typical undecided voter think what he’s at the Polls?
‘‘It was much pleasanter at home,” thought poor Alice, ‘‘when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn’t gone down that rabbit-hole — and yet — and yet — it’s rather curious, you know, this sort of life! (Ch. 4 - The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill)
Bottom Line on Elections?
“Either it brings tears to their eyes, or else -"
"Or else what?" said Alice, for the Knight had made a sudden pause.
"Or else it doesn’t, you know.”
So you’ve been known to embrace a meshuggah Wonderland world. Let’s get your thoughts on a few of your favorite meshuggah things.
How you feel after watching too many episodes of reality TV?
“I’m sure I’m not Ada for her hair goes in such long ringlets, and mine doesn’t go in ringlets at all; and I’m sure I’m not Mabel, for I know all sorts of things, and she’s she and I’m I, and-oh dear, how puzzling it all is! I’ll try if I know all the things I used to know. Let me see: four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven is-oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate! However, the Multiplication-Table doesn’t signify: let’s try geography. London is the capital of Paris, and Paris is the capital of Rome, and Rome-no, that’s all wrong, I’m certain! I must have been changed for Mabel!”
Do you think, maybe, you’ve seen too many cooking shows on TV what with Sunday PBS, Celebrity Chefs and Weekday Daytime Chefs?
“When I’m a Duchess,” she said to herself (not in a very hopeful tone though), “I won’t have any pepper in my kitchen at all. Soup does very well without. Maybe it’s always pepper that makes people hot-tempered,” she went on, very much pleased at having found out a new kind of rule, “and vinegar that makes them sour—and camomile that makes them bitter—and—and barley-sugar and such things that make children sweet-tempered. I only wish people knew that; then they wouldn’t be so stingy about it, you know—”
To those who didn’t watch the first season(s) of Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, the Good Place….Insert Your favorite show here?
‘‘I could tell you my adventures — beginning from this morning,” said Alice a little timidly: ‘‘but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.’‘
‘‘Explain all that,” said the Mock Turtle.
‘‘No, no! The adventures first,” said the Gryphon in an impatient tone: ‘‘explanations take such a dreadful time.’‘(Ch. 10 - The Lobster Quadrill
What’s your take on education? What did they teach in school in your day?
‘‘I only took the regular course.’‘
‘‘What was that?’‘ inquired Alice.
‘‘Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,’‘ the Mock Turtle replied; ‘‘and then the different branches of Arithmetic — Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.’‘
‘‘Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?" Alice asked.
‘‘We called him Tortoise because he taught us," said the Mock Turtle angrily: ‘‘really you are very dull!’"(Ch. 9 - The Mock Turtle’s Story)
At last the Dodo said, ’"everybody has won, and all must have prizes.’" (Ch. 3 - A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale)
High School? Trying to fit in with the crowd?
"Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail.
"There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle — will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you, will you join the dance? (Ch. 10 - The Lobster Quadrill)
“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”
‘‘Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on.
‘‘I do,’” Alice hastily replied; ‘‘at least — at least I mean what I say — that’s the same thing, you know.’‘
‘‘Not the same thing a bit!’” said the Hatter. ‘‘You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!’‘
‘‘You might just as well say,” added the March Hare, ‘‘that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!’‘
‘‘You might just as well say,’” added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, ‘‘that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!’‘(Ch. 7 - A Mad Tea-Party)
“Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense.”
The key to a successful marriage?
Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves. (Ch. 9 - The Mock Turtle’s Story)
They’re dreadfully fond of beheading people here; the great wonder is, that there’s any one left alive! Alice. (Ch. 8 - The Queen’s Croquet-Ground)
“Tut, tut, child!" said the Duchess. "Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.” (Ch. 9 - The Mock Turtle’s Story) Duchess.
That inevitable midlife crisis?
“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.” (Ch. 6 - Pig and Pepper)
Looking for work after 50?
The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, screamed ‘‘Off with her head! Off—"
‘‘Nonsense!’‘ said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent. (Ch. 8 - The Queen’s Croquet-Ground)
What’s your take on old age?
‘‘You are old Father William,’‘ the young man said,
‘‘And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head —
Do you think at your age it is right?’
In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
‘‘I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.’‘ (Chapter 5 – Advice from a Caterpillar)
And what happens at those Pearly Gates?
Sentence first, verdict afterwards. (Ch. 12 - Alice’s Evidence)
So, in summary. What’s life all about?
‘‘Well, then,” the Cat went on, ‘‘you see, a dog growls when it’s angry, and wags its tail when it’s pleased. Now I growl when I’m pleased, and wag my tail when I’m angry.’‘(Ch. 6 - Pig and Pepper)
In other words?
Beware the Jabberwock, my son,
the jaws that bite and claws that scratch
Beware the jubjub bird
and shun the frumious bandersnatch." (Jabberwocky)