The Wonderland Syndrome

The genre of heretofore, my latest novel, is magic realism. A literary style defined as 1) a combination of reality and fantasy, 2) the transformation of the commonplace and every day into the awesome and unreal, 3) a story of surprises, in which time and space are distorted, and 4) art depicting aesthetic subtleties and strange discoveries.

Did you know there is a medical condition known as Alice In Wonderland Syndrome? Alternatively known as AIWS or Todd’s Syndrome. Heard of it? Neither had I. Those who are afflicted with this psychopathological syndrome experience a metamorphosis similar to what Lewis Caroll fictionalized in his story chronicling the adventures of Alice. For example, one’s body is perceived as being either larger or smaller than it really is. And for the duration of this temporary condition of macropsia or micropsia, time is often distorted and hallucinations occur.

I happened upon the name of this syndrome while googling the Internet, in search of ideas for the preamble of my book talk and reading at the San Francisco Book Passage. Now, keep in mind, this discovery was made after my novel, heretofore, was put to bed, laid to rest – published. My story had been inspired by Alice In Wonderland and also by the satirical humor in the novel Catch 22, as I mention in the blurb for the back cover. So, naturally, I was amused by the coincidence. That my name – Todd – is associated with a syndrome called “Alice In Wonderland.” It made me laugh. And it made me wonder, had the universe orchestrated this discovery? Was it thumbing its nose at me in jest?

God does, I believe, have a sense of humor. At least, that is the premise of my book. And writers, face it, are egotistical. So, after bitch-slapping my narcissistic ego, I was amused by another coincidence. I recalled a line of dialog I had written in the last chapter of heretofore. The praying mantis, an anthropomorphic character, informs Kat – a girl who has inexplicably fallen from the sky into a world populated by animals who talk and behave like humans: “Nothing here happens by chance.”

A tale of magic realism is paradoxical.  As is heretofore, a story that poses this timeless question: If heaven exists, a realm of eternal bliss, how would it avoid becoming monotonous without a bit of conflict? What, therefore, could God have in mind? Maybe heretofore: a world of light comedy, with dark humor thrown in for good measure!