Advice to All The Other Alices
To all you other Alices looking through your shelves, sometimes it take so many pills to fall. And once you're there you're lost, but you're happy, because you found something you thought only existed in someone else's world. I wouldn't suggest tracing rabbits, but I would recommend Billie Holiday records and a nice soft spot to land.
Oh darling little Jupiter, I never thought these stars would all align. I understand now, dancing past Mars and Neptune. It's cold in outer space and Wonderland today, strange prickling wind rushing through all the trees. Orange and gold and brown; why didn't you fade?
To all you other Alices looking through the mirror, take all the trains but hide your ticket stubs. They'll be after you, but you're faster, freewheeling until you run out of ink and breath. I don't know what this last pill will do, pushing past the bonds of fragility and strength. There were a million holes to fall through, but we find ourselves dropping into the same Nothing Everything.
Sweet ash. Sweet light. Sweet execution of those moments that drag you deep and shoot you wide; that turn you large and small and pink and blue. Electric. But soft. And you're falling. And it does not fade. And I do not wish for it to fade, but I've never been very good at taking my medicine.
Young, vulnerable, scarlet, curious, loving, ingenious: Little Red Riding Hood. Experienced, dangerous, charismatic, cunning, ravenous: Big Bad Wolf.
"The village is where your family is, little girl. Your rules, your laws, your proper cloak and your housework. The forest is where you run free, grow brave, grow tall, and sometimes come back with blood on your hands. Don't go into the woods at night! You may live and learn and run wild with a torn cap and the days stretching ahead of you!"
The truest female agency of Little Red Riding...
Little Red journeyed out into the deep dark trees.
Not to meet the Wolf, or be saved by the Huntsman,
but to see her grandmother.
Grandmother, who already lived among
the deep dark trees and unseen forces.
Grandmother, who had found her own girlhood
and womanhood at a crossroads and set down roots there.
Grandmother, who abandoned the safety and patriarchy
of the village.
Grandmother, who was saved then by her clever, strong
It must run in the family.
I originally wrote this as an email reply to a male friend who commented on an Indonesian mini-skirt ban that "The feminists were right. We are all rape machines." It shook me. This was a decent person, how could he be so...wrong? I commented back, sometimes more weakly than others. I got a stress headache. I waylaid my fiance for several hours about sexual politics and the gender-loaded notion of the criminality of rape in modern America. I couldn't sleep. I wrote this at work the following morning, then called my mother.
It was then...
It is so difficult to look back. For anyone, really, but especially for George.
George has to hotwire his own brain and plug a cord into his heart to get most of the memories just right. Otherwise, they come in hazy shades of purple and green. They are grainy, the voices are wrong, and the production quality is low overall. His favorite memories, however, are easy to find, like imprints on a television screen that plays the same channels again and again:
There was a birthday party for a tree, something so hard and cold like his own...