Alice in Wonderland, by Jackie Leigh
Deep Thoughts, Love & Writing, Myth, Magic & Superstition

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Alice in Wonderland, by Jackie Leigh
Alice in Wonderland, by Jackie Leigh

Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

We have a rather strange mix of science and magic in our house. The husband, a scientist since childhood (when he famously blew up his parent’s garage during a chemistry experiment) is, generally, fairly patient with our flights of fancy. The Daughter, being three, is perfectly content to believe in fairies and magic and wonder, without requiring any evidence to back up her convictions. I, being of a less scientific bent than the husband, think that the Daughter’s world has to be a lot more fun, so opt to spend more time there.

But recently, we’ve found a few areas of contention that we just can’t all agree on. Unicorns. The country of West Xylophone (as featured in the fantastic They Might Be Giants cd, Here Come The ABCs). And the colour indigo.

The first two, I can kind of see the husband’s point. But indigo? It’s right there in the rainbow, surely? Richard of York gave battle IN vain. The Daughter, when singing the rainbow song, regularly adds indigo and violet on the end, just for the sake of completion. But apparently, it’s no longer considered a part of the colour spectrum.

The thing is, he might be scientifically correct. But the world’s a lot less fun that way. Without indigo, you can’t have ancient eastern fantasies of indigo dye being transported from India across the Roman Empire. You can’t have that really perfect pair of indigo jeans that make you feel taller and thinner. And you can’t have that wonderful night sky colour, when it’s still blue rather than black, and there’s a hint of purple around the edges. Surely, that has to be proof enough of indigo?

The Daughter, when faced with her father telling her that West Xylophone is an imaginary country, made up to fit the song, just replies, “Don’t say that, Daddy.” Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter, she doesn’t want to hear it. And she gets very cross when he doubts the existence of indigo. Prudent man that he is, he hasn’t mentioned the unicorns.

It doesn’t matter if he’s right, to her. Her world has indigo, and West Xylophone, and unicorns. And a lot of pink. And anything else she wants to believe in. Just like my world has endless happy ever afters, romantic interludes and good men, looking for their true love.

So, when people ask me why I write romance, saying, “But it’s not reality, though, is it. It’s just fantasy,” I channel the Daughter, these days. Because if you don’t believe in the colour indigo, you’ll never appreciate that night sky. And if you don’t believe in happy ever after, you’ll never find it for yourself.

And that world’s not nearly as much fun to live in as mine.