Interviews with the Famously Departed
Lewis Carroll Speaks
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll was born on 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?
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 sea 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)
And 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)
Care to expand on that?
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright
—And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done
—”It’s very rude of him,” she said,
“To come and spoil the fun!”
What upsets you most about e-books?
‘What is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?’ (Ch. 1 – Down the Rabbit-Hole)
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!’ Let’s try some scientific creativity since you were a mathematician as well as a writer. The key to the success of Mars Curiosity? You would have to be half mad to dream me up. In other words? Twinkle twinkle little bat! How I wonder what you’re at!… Up above the world you fly like a tea tray in the sky (Ch. 7 – A Mad Tea-Party)
What would you say to the critics of exploring the Sea?
No wise fish would go anywhere without a porpoise.
Speaking of the Sea, what did you think of Hurricane Sandy?
There are certain things—as, a spider, a ghost,
The income-tax, gout, an umbrella for three—
That I hate, but the thing that I hate the most
is a thing they call the Sea (Rhymes and Reason, 1883)
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 the budget crisis?
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? ‘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 US Senate?
‘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)
So billions of dollars in election financing? What’s it all mean?
‘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)
Mitt Romney’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. Said the Hatter with a sigh. 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 do you think Mitt really thinks of Barack? “You used to be much more…’muchier.’ You’ve lost your muchness.” What do you think Barack thinks of Mitt? ‘I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.’ (Ch. 5 – Advice from a Caterpillar)
Privately, what are they really thinking?
You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are. 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.”
NEXT UP: It took a lot of mushrooms and some special looking glasses, but the Wild River Review did it – We will have an exclusive, one on one talk, with Alice in Wonderland directly. Hold on to your Mad Hats.
Joe practiced law in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for 14 years and designed large scale databases for AT&T for five years. He currently works for NextLevel Web Strategies, a legal marketing firm based in Princeton, NJ. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, received his J.D. from George Washington Law School and he has a Masters Degree in Computer Science from Drexel University.
Joe’s book, Philadelphia Originals, was released for publication by Schiffer Publishing in 2009. The book shows that the unique styles (how Philadelphians paint, sing, practice law, tell a joke, cook) of Philadelphia’s most notable professions can be traced back to the perfect complement of the spiritual William Penn and the practical Benjamin Franklin.
His second project. Philadelphia Before You Were Born, is a study of the last time Philadelphia newspapers used artists for all their illustrations. It was published in 2011.
Joe’s many other published writings include a humorous look at book clubs for the Bucks County Writer and the literary stages of a baseball season for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He also writes the Interviews with the Famously Departed Column for the Wild River Review.
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