-updated- After my last Alice in Wonderland post, a friend of mine said she wasn’t exactly sure what was meant by “muchness.” Not familiar with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland stories nor Tim Burton’s film, she thought she got it but she wasn’t entirely sure. Although there’s something perfectly nice about leaving it undefined, I wondered, if I had to define it, how would I?
It seems akin to me to a question writers are encouraged to answer when writing: is your own voice coming through? And what is that voice? Books and articles abound for writers on the topic of “finding your voice.” (And maybe, it’s like finding your Muchness.)
At times while writing my book, The B-girl Guide: In The Context Of Now – How to Live Your Life in Earth, Animal & People-Friendly Ways, I’d wish I could write in the cheery tone in which I wrote the initial B-girl diary entries (B-girl.com had diary entries before there were blogs). If I really think about it, however, those posts were cheery, yes, but also very stream of consciousness and wouldn’t necessarily represent who I am now anyway.
I could tell you my adventures -beginning from this morning,” said Alice a little timidly; “but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
All the chapters are written; they are just awaiting the hiring of an editor (that update’s forthcoming) and, well, maybe, a little more Muchness. I’m certain I’m almost there: my vision is for the final result to be informative yet combine a sense of whimsy with ways of taking action and living authentically.
So, in giving the matter some thought, how to define “Muchness,” very quickly, a tumble of words came to me which seemed to define the indefinable. (The French have the term je ne sais quoi.)
My definition of Muchness:
Sparkle. Sass. Feeling strong and whole within yourself. A little bit bold and ready to take on… well.. anything.
There’s a scene in Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” film where Alice sets out to rescue the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) after he’s been locked away by the Red Queen for protecting her (“he wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for me,” she tells her ally, Bayard the dog). The Hatter had already told Alice she’d “lost her muchness” but he obviously still very much believes in her (believing her muchness still exists; it’s just dormant). As she contemplates making her way to the castle across a large swamp in which the only route is leaping from one huge (dead) floating human head to another, to be navigated as if stepping stones, she ventures forward, and says, a bit defiantly, “Lost my Muchness, have I?” She then proceeds. I love that moment.
I suppose I’ve always been drawn to “Alice in Wonderland.” I used the “six impossible things” quote on B-girl materials over 10 years ago, and, as I reflected previously, I even won a contest for my costume as Alice growing up! And so, perhaps it is also a bit reassuring to recognize, that, whatever I might see in my present day as challenges, they do not include rescues involving mad dashes across human head-filled moats! I’d like to think tho’, if it were entirely necessary, I would do so.
A little something xtra: This picture is of my mother. She’s maybe in her ’20′s or ’30′s – it’s undated – in the midst of planning an event perhaps. Helen was an assistant fashion buyer at Butterick at Sixth Avenue and Spring in downtown Manhattan before she became a mom and then a teacher. I love this photo because it’s evident she so has her Muchness.
Photo #1: Sweetopia*
Updated March 5, 2011