The time has come the walrus said to talk of my now-infamous Alice In Wonderland Birthday party. I was approximately seven years old when my mother started reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass to me at night before bed. She and my sister devised a plan to create a Wonderland-themed party. But this was no head-over-to-ye-local-party-store kind of venture. Not for my family. Instead, they wrote an abridged version of the story suitable for seven year olds to read aloud, and created costumes using household items, oak tag and stage makeup. (Yes, I do come from a theatrical family; think the Barrymore’s only replace the excessive alcohol with bagels.)
The guests picked the names of characters from a hat and were costumed accordingly. In case there is doubt in anyone’s mind I was of course, Alice. Lest you think this choice a tad bit self indulgent let’s review exactly what this poor child went through on these so called “adventures”, shall we?
First, after flinging herself down an abandoned mine shaft our young heroine is exposed to multiple forms of psychedelic drugs. Instructions to drink and eat cake, seemingly harmless birthday-type behaviors, result in body dysmorphia of one sort or another. She begins to drown in a river of her own tears.
Her own tears, people.
With little left in the way of options, Alice seeks counsel from a dude smoking a hookah. She develops a thing for a Cottontail who refuses to give her the time of day. (You know those Bucks, they’ve got a bunny in every borough.) She gets dumped at a wretched tea party seated between his best friends, a mousy narcoleptic and a hatter with narcissistic personality disorder. Once she realizes these guests need therapy not tea it isn’t long before co-dependent Alice offends everyone at the table and is forced to leave.
When the only mother figure she can locate repeatedly suggests the removal of her head, Alice finds herself trapped in the medieval card game equivalent of an altercation between the Crips and the Bloods.
She’s accused of being a tart, or eating tarts, either way it does years of damage to her reputation, and have I mentioned a toothy cat with ill intentions is stalking her?
So as you can see, this story is filled with the kind of standard birthday fare that made the owners of Chuck E. Cheese who they are today.
Perhaps I’ve offered up a slightly exaggerated interpretation of this tale for comedic effect, but I’ve done so with good reason. You see, approximately a year ago I took a nosedive down a different kind of rabbit hole into the world of blogging. Yes, it’s true, Madame Paradox is one year old this week. Oh the adventures we’ve had. Each post curiouser and curiouser. I still remember how I felt after hitting “publish” on my very first day, like a naïve lass running through Grand Central Station naked while singing Ave Maria at the top of her lungs. That is to say, raw, nervous and utterly exposed.
A friend of mine once described me as a person who “doesn’t wear her personality on her sleeve”. At various points in life I have indeed been shy, aloof, reserved, pick your adjective. But although that was once true, I think it is steadily changing for the better. Certainly my experience with this blog and meeting all of you out here in social media land has had a significant impact on me. And while I know there is room for substantial improvement, most especially when it comes to my lack of discipline about posting regularly (ahem); it’s been a wonderful journey and an incredible learning experience talking to all of you.
When I started I never imagined I would meet such enthusiastic and interesting people. That even one of you is kind enough to stop by and read still gets me as excited as it did the first time. I think you all know by now I’ve got a pretty dark sense of humor, and the fact that there are readers out there that “get me” is great comfort on a cold night. So today’s ridiculous leap down memory lane is just my way of saying, thank you.
I don’t really know how many of you read my blog, because I’m still a Luddite and don’t understand the WordPress stats. Also, I suppose there’s a good chance it’s just my parents reading every post a couple hundred times. But I have a hunch there may be one or two others in those numbers, and whether you’ve left a comment, or you haven’t, I am so very grateful for your time over this year.
In case you’re wondering, the birthday festivities were complete with a Mad Hatter (my sister), a tea party with Carvel ice cream cake (naturally), and a game of croquet. That’s right, croquet. As I recall we all had quite a good time at what was certainly a unique event, made all the more colorful by the cast of characters that is my family. (There’s a rumor going around that my father is the Mock Turtle but I can neither confirm nor deny such things.)
As I was looking for Alice in Wonderland images for this post, I discovered a treasure trove of art related to this story. Please click on each of the images and check out the sites of these talented artists: Vladimir Clavijo-Telepnev, Camille Rose Garcia (via Wicked Halo), Katarzyna Widmanska, Mark Ryden, Benjamin Lacombe and the original Alice illustrator, John Tenniel. With stories about insane old biddies, and a man with mood ring flesh, and posts about Santa’s kindness to the Jews, the apocalypse, and discount burial crypts, I think we can all conclude my exposure to Lewis Carroll’s classic tale was a seminal moment in the youth of Madame Paradox. Either that, or my mother took a lot of acid during her pregnancy.
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat; “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”
So a toast to all my friends who have joined me here and celebrated the madness. I look forward to us sharing another year of laughter, tears and utter dysfunction, preferably with a large supply of bitter chocolate at the ready.