Going Down the Rabbit Hole on Purpose

I remember an assignment in a graduate English class for which I purposely did not follow the directions. The teacher had called upon us to analyze a portion of Alice in Wonderland in light of Sigmund Freud’s thinking. It was to be a short paper–just a page or two–the kind of assignment that was due once a week in that class on literary theory.

Most of my graduate classes provided intriguing challenges that engaged my mind and sparked new ideas. More often than not, this work resulted in theory-driven writing assignments, presumably intelligently argued, but inevitably dry.

I wanted to exercise some creativity.

So I wrote a diary entry in Alice’s voice. Alice expressed her frustration at being too big to play in the pretty garden but then too small to reach the key to unlock the door to get to the garden. When the cake she ate made her too large, she expressed her frustration that every calorie she consumed attached itself to the wrong place on her body while her sister could freely eat all she cared to without consequence on the scale. She wondered at the white rabbit whose presence reminded her that she had to grow up.

I enjoyed completing the assignment. Throughout the writing process, I repeatedly reminded myself that I was taking a risk, but I was having too much fun to stop.

I determined not to regret my creativity even if it cost me points.

When the time came to get our graded papers back, the instructor mentioned mine. “I was going to make you do it over, but then I read it again and realized everything you needed was there.”

Life can feel like we’re tumbling down a rabbit hole. We don’t know where we’ll land or how long until we hit the bottom. And we’re often wondering why it’s hard to go back to the small places and, no matter our age, when we’ll grow enough to reach the keys to doors we want to open.

Alice’s great puzzle to solve was to figure out “who in the world” she was.

It is the great challenge for all of us.

Jump down the rabbit hole every so often. Engage in the wonder, Take the risk.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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12 Replies to “Going Down the Rabbit Hole on Purpose”

  1. What a great post! Philosophical thoughts combined with your brilliant writing assignment solution. Can we jump down the rabbit hole? Can we learn who we really are? This post was a delight to read, Nancy!

  2. I love how you did the story your way, using your creativity. We do have to follow our own path in life and as long as it follows Christ then we will get where want in God’s grace. Thanks Nancy

  3. Love this, and what a creative way for you to tackle that assignment! That rabbit hole can be scary, but oh, the wonders of stepping out in freedom knowing God is right there by our side!

  4. I love this post so much, Nancy. How creative that you wrote the assignment as a journal entry in the voice of Alice. Glad the instructor came to terms with it. And, of course, the analogy to us is a powerful idea!

  5. Oh, such fun here, Nancy! Thank you for sharing your creative experiment (with good results) and the challenge to explore the challenges and joys of where we find ourselves and who we are.

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