Train of thought now leaving from Platform A—

A is for Alice, perhaps —

So I was working on a post about Alice in Wonderland and identity a few days ago, when a “ding” and a number 1 popped up on my Mac Mail icon. Well, a new e-mail trumps everything else for me, so I retrieved the e-mail, whose subject line was “Havelock.”

Hmmm. Havelock is in the Andaman Islands. Did you know that? I didn’t; and there was a photo from Havelock, very nice photo, but not relevant to what I had been working on, which was — what? Uh oh! Derailment. Train of thought shunted off the track, next stop — Porlock.

Havelock, Porlock — remember Porlock? When Samuel Coleridge was hard at work on a marvelous marvelous poem, his servant came in and interrupted him to announce an unexpected visitor, a person from Porlock. Needless to say, the marvelous marvelous poem went forever unfinished, and the person from Porlock went down in literary history as the definitive interruption.

I did remember, though, that the post was about Alice — in Wonderland — Alice Springs –Annie, my young Japanese friend in Frankfurt, went to university in Australia, not so far from Alice Springs — Alice Springs always fascinated me, well, really Ayers Rock did, and I thought perhaps some day I’d get to Australia and see it, but I’m too old now —

Distraction! Distraction, Alice in Wonderland,  a-Googling we go, yes, here it is: Alice’s Arithmetic:

`Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,’ the Mock Turtle replied; `and then the different branches of Arithmetic– Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.’

`I never heard of “Uglification,”‘ Alice ventured to say. `What is it?’

The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. `What! Never heard of uglifying!’ it exclaimed. `You know what to beautify is, I suppose?’

`Yes,’ said Alice doubtfully: `it means–to–make–anything–prettier.’

`Well, then,’ the Gryphon went on, `if you don’t know what to uglify is, you ARE a simpleton.’

Lewis Carroll, of course, was a mathematician, so we must suppose there is an agenda here, or a self satire, more likely.

Just as for me, no agenda really, but self-satire? Uh huh. A blogging technique exposed: anything that comes to hand is fair game, even DISTRACTION. Just keep the hands going, said Madeleine L’Engle in a writing workshop. A writer writes; and having writ, moves on. Enough words, bring on the cinnamon toast and tea.

(Don’t forget to check out the daily dose of color on A View from the Woods)

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10 Responses to Train of thought now leaving from Platform A—

  1. Stef says:

    I also am a distract-able type; so when I want to write (or work), I shut off everything else, lest I be taken away from an amazing breakthrough at an inopportune moment. Goodbye Facebook, so long email, silence cell phone; hello me. 🙂


  2. Jen Payne says:

    There is a certain synergy to our distractions, though, isn’t there? From here to there, to there and THERE you have it! Thank you for taking me on the ride – what fun!


  3. pauline says:

    Your thoughts tickle me. Life is a mystery cruise and every moment your destination might change – that’s the fun of it! Who knows when the wind will change direction or if something might fall from the sky or the tempest will rise in the teapot.


    • Touch2Touch says:

      While our trains of thought are running — your sentence: “Who knows when the wind will change direction or if something might fall from the sky or the tempest will rise in the teapot” made me think of the person who DOES know all that, or did when I was young, one of my heroes: MARY POPPINS. She came when the wind changed, and left when the wind changed again, and while she was around, the world was magical.
      Come to think of it, not so unlike you. 😉


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