Posted by: codecalla | January 7, 2013

“A Very Merry Un-Birthday”

The usual last minute rush before the beginning of the semester is here.  I’ve had a splendid vacation thus far, and now I’ll have to account for it.  I have syllabi to prepare, but I’m not too worried, since most of the classes are similar to ones  I’ve taught last semester.  I have a new class I’m teaching, and thankfully a colleague offered a copy of her syllabus for me to review as I’m creating my assignments.  Since it’s the first time I’m teaching Research Writing, I don’t mind following the path of others.  I can always tweak it during the semester to suit my needs.  I used to work in a library, all through high school and college, so research is something with which I’m accustomed and I love.  I hope I can share that joy with students.   (I’m not sure if they ever had the opportunity, as I did, to read a set of encyclopedias cover to cover as a child…or researched things just because they were curious).  I’ll try to focus on what they need, but I hope I can awaken their curiosity.

Suddenly, Alice and the White Rabbit popped into my head, “Curiouser and curiouser.”  Research can be like chasing the White Rabbit, meeting the Mad Hatter, and getting a death sentence from the Queen.  I never realized George MacDonald, author of The Princess and Curdie, The Princess and The Goblin, was a contemporary of Lewis Carroll.  I guess MacDonald was an inspiration to many writers, which of course, now I want to research=D  I love MacDonald’s storytelling.  I like having stories told to me.  It makes me think of the tone that the more modern Cornelia Funke has in her works, such as Inkspell, and I thoroughly enjoy that sense of narration.  Right now as I’m writing this, I look out the window and see a Cheshire Cat moon.  So, in honor of the moon, Carroll, and the Cheshire Cat:

Alice: Oh, no, no. I was just wondering if you could help me find my way.
Cheshire Cat: Well that depends on where you want to get to.
Alice: Oh, it really doesn’t matter, as long as…
Cheshire Cat: Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go.” (IMDB, “The Cheshire Cat”).

If you think about it, even if the Cheshire Cat speaks a bit of nonsense, he makes quite good sense.  If you don’t care where you’re going, why does it matter how you get there?  It’s something to ponder, even as we try to map out our routes of life travels and travails.  It’s easy to get sidetracked and worried, and sometimes we all need a tea party with the Mad Hatter, who wishes us “a very merry unbirthday.”   Why only celebrate living one day a year?  Why not be grateful for life every day?  Ah, I do love when books and their offerings are deeper than the first glance.


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