Saturday, February 18, 2012

A New Nonsense Project!

I love nonsense. I love the brilliant twists and turns it takes. I love the flash and swing and jolliness of the words. I love, more than anything, the surprise of nonsense--you never know what you're up against. But what I cannot stand is nonsense without a point. Lewis Carroll (And therefore, Alice in Wonderland) makes me simply dizzy. That dashed caterpillar who weaves wreaths of smoke and idiocy around everyone gets my goat. I suppose it's a tad clever, but it confuses the pididdle out of me.
What I like is the sort of nonsense you might find in Ogden Nash's poetry:

The Germ
A mighty creature is the germ, 
Though smaller than a pachyderm. 
His customary dwelling place 
                                                     Is deep within the human race. 
                                                                                                 His childish pride he often pleases 
                                                                                                   By giving people strange diseases. 
                                                                                                   Do you, my poppet, feel infirm? 
                                                                                                     You probably contain a germ. 

It's ridiculous and clever and hilarious all in one. Or the nonsense you must certainly find in Winnie-The-Pooh:

...'There's something in one of the Pine Trees.' 'So there is!' said Pooh, looking up wonderingly. 'There's an animal.' Piglet took Pooh's arm, in case Pooh was frightened. 'Is it one of the Fiercer Animals?' he said, looking the other way. Pooh nodded. 'It's a Jagular,' he said. 'what do Jagulars do?' asked Piglet, hoping that they wouldn't. 'They hide in the branches of trees, and drop on you as you go underneath,' said Pooh. 'Christopher Robin told me.' 'Perhaps we better hadn't go underneath, Pooh. In case he dropped and hurt himself.' 'They don't hurt themselves, ' said Pooh. 'They're such very good droppers.'
 That, my friends, is called Grand Nonsense and it is that that I love. All this to say, there is a way that Is and a way that Isn't, and I vote for the Is. That being said, I wanted to announce one of my newest Sprouts to you. (Sprout. n. or adj. meaning New Project, plot-bunny, inspiration, etc.)

This Sprout, at present, has a humble name: The Traveler.

 It is a book that chronicles the windings and travels, adventures and acquaintances and whatnot of a young fellow--a journalist--(nameless, to help things feel mysterious-er than ever. ;) who, in order to avoid bankruptcy, must take up a bet from his fellows journalists that he can't visit every region of the world in a year and send them back an entertaining story of his experiences in each. He takes up the bet, he takes up his things, and off he goes into the far reaches of the Victorian-era world. That is the basic plot of The Traveler, and I will keep it as my Relief-Project to work on when everything goes batty with my other W.I.P.s :) The flavor is decidedly Dickens-ian. It is also decidedly nonsensical. I love it already. You will be hearing plenty about The Traveler in the weeks and months to come so there is nothing else to be said! Cheerio.

"I asked you, Young Man, how much you're in for?"
"Fifty-pounds, Auntie."
Aunt Kate turned pink on her cheeks and white around her lips and looked altogether apoplectic for about five minutes. I slouched in my corner, wishing to goodness that I could disappear and never come back—never see Aunt Kate like this, never have to pay up to the Boys for all my stupid debts, never have to look myself in the “I” again. No, I do not mean “look myself in the “eye”—that is quite a different matter than looking in the “I” which is rather too close to the “me” and the “myself”, and once you’ve looked into those three it’s all up with you.
 -The Traveler


Anonymous said...

Oh I love this! But I am very very very displeased! You do not like my beautiful Lewis Carol????!?!?!?!

Oh well I like you anyway. The traveler sounds exquisite. Funny a travel story had popped into my head just ten minutes before. But it is very very very different.

Oh dear! I used so many verys and there went and exclamation point. Ah well! We can't all be perfect

Maria said...

Exactly! Alice in Wonderland is the nonsense without sense or a point that gets a little odd. Your nonsense perhaps doesn't have sense, but it does have a point and its lovely! And as to the quote - nonsense, with a great deal of sense hidden in there somehow.

Horse Lover said...

The plot sounds very interesting, and I LOVE the excerpt, especially the part about looking yourself in the "I" :-D

ashley tahg said...


How sad!

I think, in the book, there is a bit of reason. We are shown that, while our imaginations are indeed beautiful things, reality is, in turn, a better option. Total nonsense might sound fun, but even I, queen of wonderland, understands realities vital role.

The Tim Burton movie also has a strong point. We see Alice, a young Woman wabi wants to follow her hearts wishes, but is held back by society's opinion of what a lady could, and could not do. When again tumbles into wonderland, she is forced into a role of bravery, and while slaying the Jabberwocky, she also slays her hesitance to follow her dreams.

I could go on and on about the truth and point behind those lovely stories. This could become an interesting blog post..

Carilyn said...

Rachel, you are a seriously good writer. (Or should I say a very clever writer?! =) I am so glad you are not wasting your talent. Someday, when you are famous, try not to forget me. Please? When you are in the middle of gobs of fans, writing your autograph on every scrap of paper shoved into your face, I will be willing to hear, at the end of your day, about all your adventures. (Though pardon my ungrammarly words... =) That is, if you will be untarnished by your fame. =) harumph. That sounds ridiculous. ;)

Of course, I know how you are and that you will likely still be sweet and charming, thinking about all of us little people who peep in on your creations now and then on this (at the moment) little lovely corner of the world wide web. Please keep it up. We are grateful. ;)

p.s. I am now in a sort of expectant wondering... will this secretive traveler win the bet??? Why oh why must I wait to know? (calm thyself, me) But, of course, it would be way less intriguing and anticipation-ish, which would be a greater shame than having to wait.

Well, end of fan comment. =D (happy grin)

Unknown said...

The only real kind of written nonsense I can take is Winnie-the-Pooh [I agree with you 100% about Alice], and I must say...I'm the biggest 17-year-old Winnie-The-Pooh fan I know :P