I spent all night colouring that publicity photo from an 1898 production of Alice in Wonderland, anticipating that today is Writer’s Quote Wednesday. Clearly, the quote I’ve chosen belongs to Lewis Carroll a.k.a. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Popular culture cycles through a variety of feelings over Carroll as a prominent figure in children’s literature because the relationship he had with children isn’t acceptable today, but his stories were so good.
I chose the quote about muchness because it would take a great artist indeed to draw muchness and I want to challenge myself with the Writing 201 poetry class I’m in, which is a bit of a crap shoot, the way they surprise us with a new prompt, form, and device, every morning. I figured I could throw muchness at any prompt they gave me and incorporate it all into my love of Victorian language.
The prompt was trust; the result thus:
My tubbish trustfulness is endogamous
Un-substatiators underestimate its gameness
Close harmony is key to the corporealization of my queenliness
Humble in my aspirational suchness, passing out
New halos to
Spit-cats – affirming the pluckiness of my trustingness.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Carroll’s Hatter ever told Alice that she lost her muchness. I love the line in the film, but it puts new meaning on the word that isn’t part of the Victorian definition. The Victorian “muchness” referred to quantity, or size. In the Tim Burton movie, “muchness” seems to be synonymous with fire, or spunk. One of the points behind the dictionary project is to capture the significance between old and new meanings of words, helping writers make the most of language.
In my poem, my trust had to be fat and fierce to meet the muchness of Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter. What do you think of the result? Which Victorian words do you want to hear more about?