Impossible things

Through The Looking Glass-illustration by John Tenniel

“‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.
‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’
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 your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast…’”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.

It is the job of the creative writer to believe impossible things…not only to believe them oneself, but to create a space within the imagination that invites the reader in to share that belief, if only while the words dance on the turning page. The best writers create a belief that changes our perception of reality, not just for the duration of the book we are reading, but beyond the monochrome landscape of print, adding colour and possibility to the world we walk each day.

Lewis Carroll is one such writer… the impossible worlds in which Alice finds herself may simply be read as entertaining tales. Others find in them allegories and symbols, still others simply delight in their nonsense. Yet there is something about them, an authenticity, which says, unequivocally, that Carroll himself had been there. Unless rabbit holes have something in common with wormholes, then this seems unlikely. Mirrors, of course, are well known for their magical properties…

So how could Carroll visit these fantastic worlds and converse with caterpillars? He must have taken Alice’s advice and remembered things he had never seen. Memory is, at best, an unreliable tool if we seek historical accuracy… we never see more than our own view of any event and perception colours truth. All writers rely on memory to create the worlds within their books, just as we all rely on it to interpret the world as we traverse each day. But to remember that which you have not yet seen… and believe impossible things? There, of course, lies total creative freedom… a reality unarguable and a unique experience from which only you can write.

image sue vincent

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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19 Responses to Impossible things

  1. jenanita01 says:

    If you can imagine it, it can be true…


  2. Pingback: Impossible things – The Militant Negro™

  3. Jennie says:

    He was a genius. He understood the child in us all.


  4. noelleg44 says:

    I always wondered if he tried drugs. But I LOVE his caterpillar — I’ve been tempted to say, “Whooo are yoooo?” any times!


  5. brookejcutler says:

    I use the word ‘magic’ a lot, when I talk about creative writing (or anything to do with the arts and creating, really.) Because going to these places within our selves, drawing from experiences that sometimes don’t even exist… is just the most amazing thing, to me. Magic, surely. 😊


  6. I hope to be such a writer!


  7. Pingback: Writing Links…4/23/18 – Where Genres Collide

  8. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast… ”

    One of my all-time favorite Lewis Carroll quotes and who knew it would be politically relevant in 2018? Ah how tricky our world is!


  9. I do love Alice in Wonderland, Sue. When I read the chapter about the Mock Turtle though, I do wonder if Lewis Carroll wasn’t eating some “magic mushroom”.


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