Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bits & Pieces & This and That

Left to right: Alice Liddell Hargreaves, at the age of six, Mary Hilton Badcock, Alice Liddell Hargreaves, at eighty, during her first and only trip to America to celebrate the centenary of Lewis Carroll's birth, the three Liddell sister, Edith, Lorina and Alice and Alice Liddell at the age of seventeen in 1870 the last photo that C.L. Dodgson took of her.

" The beginning of Alice in Wonderland was told to me one summer afternoon when the sun was so hot we landed in the meadows down the river, deserting the boat to take refuge in the only bit of shade to be found, which was under a newly made hayrick. Here all three of us, my sisters and myself, came the the old petition, TELL US A STORY and Mr. Dodgson began it.
Sometimes to tease us, Mr. Dodgson would stop and say suddenly, "that's all till next time."

"Oh," we would cry, "it's not bedtime already!" and he would go on. Another time the story would begin in the boat and Mr. Dodgson would pretend to fall asleep in the mid
dle, to our great dismay. --Alice Liddell Hargreaves, The New York Times, April 4, 1928

"We used to sit on the big sofa on each side of him while he told us stories, illustrating them by pencil or ink drawings as he went along...He seemed to have an endless store of these fantastical stories, which he made up as he told them, drawing busily on a large sheet of paper all the time."
--Alice Liddell, Cornhill Magazine, July 1932

"Alice and Through the Looking-Glass are made up almost wholly of bits and scraps, single ideas which came of themselves. In writing it out, I added, many fresh ideas, which seemed to grow out of themselves upon the original stock; and many more were added when, years afterwards, I wrote it all over again for publication; but (this may interest some readers of Alice to know) every such idea and nearly every word of the dialogue came of itself. Sometimes an idea comes at night, when I have had to get up and strike a light to note it down but whenever or however it comes, it comes of itself. I cannot set invention going like a clock, by any voluntary winding up; nor do I believe that any original writing (and what other writing is worth preserving?) was ever so produced... Periodically I have received courteous letters from strangers begging to know whether it is an allegory, or contains some hidden moral, or is a political satire and for all such questions I have but one answer," I Don't know!"

--Lewis Carroll, April 1887

Recently, I heard an interview with the author of Twilight. She said she has never written anything before, certainly didn't consider herself a story writer. The whole plot came to her in a dream. She woke up, sat down and wrote Chapter 19. From there she was so interested in it she wrote the rest of the chapters.
Often ideas come to us from the dream state. I don't know what level of sleep we are in when we find these ideas and often many of us can not bring them through to the waking state.
When I have a dream that stays with me throughout the day, one that I can still see clearly in my mind, I consider it a "teaching dream"
It's a dream that I need to write down and then take a seriously look at what my inner self is trying to tell me. The content may be very dream like but if I can remember how I felt during different parts of the dream, it helps me see the message. My dreams, like yours contain my own personal symbols. Some of them may be universal, some may be supplied by whoever or whatever is driving the dream.
I remember the dream I had the night before my mother in law died. I was back in my grandmother's house, sleeping in the back room where I always slept when I stayed with her.
I telephone was suspended from the ceiling, over my bed where I lay. I reached up and put the receiver to my ear. I heard my great aunt (who was probably my biological grandmother) tell me that "all was ready". I asked her what she was doing and she told me that she and "others" were waiting for some folks to arrive. I asked her what she meant. She told me that she was there to greet and make comfortable the new arrivals and not to worry about HER.
Early that next morning I received a phone call that my 92 year old MIL had passed away.
Ah, yes, I know, POINT?

I harp on taking some time to be quiet. I probably will continue to HARP on this topic because we are no longer a QUIET society. As artists we NEED to connect with that inner space, or our dream state. We need to be refreshed with that universal hum.
It's not just jibberjabber on my part. Call it the "zone" call it what you will but it's the place that ideas flow, where our creative "juice" is and we NEED it like we need air to breathe and water to drink.
If you are tired, sick, bored, run down, overworked, feeling like your art is just treading pace then give serious thought to taking 10 to 15 minutes out of your life and teach yourself how to connect up with the quiet constant flow.
And, I don't honestly believe that we need to connect up so we can create more things that sell. I believe that there are important things that need to be created. Humanity needs their artists and creative people to help them understand their purpose here.
Whether it's a creative plan for health care, feeding the masses, something that people walk by and find themselves studing it and thinking differently, I have no idea but I do know, from a gut level that this is really important.
I know I mentioned Mozart in an early post but it's true what he said. He couldn't put the notes he heard/saw in his mind down fast enough. He brought through from that universal stream the music that moved his generation and others. Yes, he brought it through by physical means for his own interests and whether they were good or bad really isn't important. What is important is that these "ideas" these things that I can't really put a name on, these creative ideas, get brought forth and we are in physical form with the ability to do so.

"One thing that made his stories particularly charming to a child, was that he often took his cue from her remarks--a question would set him off on quite a new trail of ideas, so that one felt one had somehow helped to make the story and it seemed a personal possession. It was the most lovely nonsense conceivable and I naturally reveled in it. His vivid imagination would fly from one subject to another and was never tied down in any way by the probabilities of life."
--Gertrude Chataway, a child friend to whom Carroll dedicated The Hunting of the Snark, 1876

:)Bea Meditate, sit quietly, LISTEN and CREATE


  1. Always enjoy your posts Bea. As I was thinking of meditation, looking at your tree photos, reading aboaut these authors etc. I thought of Wendell Berry. Have you ever read him? You may enjoy him if you haven't. Books on the Sabbath Poems are about his meditation walks in nature and I think he would have made Thoureau proud. :)

  2. Thank you Yvonne, that's so nice to hear. I hope they resonate with the folks that drop by. The name Wendell Berry sounds familar but I don't think I have any of his books.
    Something for me to check out of the library when I am there on Thursday. Thanks.

  3. Nice post.

    My meditation usually involves long walks by myself on the weekends.

    Usually does the trick as the two plus hours that it takes gives me a lot of time to really think things through.

    BTW: I checked out that book called "Inventing Wonderland" and just finished reading about Lewis Carroll. Getting ready to start on the chapter about Edward Lear.

  4. G, I so glad to hear that you take some quiet time for yourself. A job like you describe can wear you down. Walking around that beautiful mountain of yours, especially for two hours, should work out a lot of stress.
    I haven't read the one on Edward Lear, you're ahead of me. :)Bea

  5. Never tied down in any way to any of the probabilities of Life...sigh
    It is obvious why he never married.
    I often wonder if marriage...children...
    are they worth the sacrifice of exploration of your self?
    I don't regret, but I do wonder.
    xox, Lisa

  6. Lisa, I think they add another thread to the tapestry. I think marriage and children has the possibility of derailing you from your spiritual purpose into just fullfilling a genetic one. I think it makes us stronger because we understand the human potential more. For those of us that choose this path we learn so much, we suffer much, we love much and we learn how to share a bathroom. :)Bea

  7. so interesting to think about! Oh, as a mama to a crazy little one...I do enjoy a good quiet moment. I swear, ive got a show-tune singing mini streisand on my hands....
    I saw that Oprah interview too, and it is just amazing to think that a dream has lead to this phenomenon. what if we all followed our 'dreams'...

  8. Whew your brain is on overload...whoops that is mine. The knowledge you share in this blog is incredible. I am tired tonight so I will stop by tomorrow morning and take the time and patience your writings deserve. Lately I have a simple mantra...calm quiet movements....calm quiet moments...the guardians of all artists. This is helping me get through the rush of the daily schedules. Imagine and live in Peace, Mary Helen

  9. Heather, I remember the energy and joy of the little ones. Now, I see it in my grandchildren. I also know that we can't bottle it and sometimes it just seems to drain us too. Remember to take time for yourself. :)Bea