He states a dislike of being pointed out to, and stared at, by strangers. "I hate all that so intensely that sometimes I almost wish I had never written any books at all," the handwritten letter he sent to his friend Anne Symonds in 1891 reads. This, thirty years after his original idea.
Most of us have no experience of notoriety although we read about how celebrities are hounded and stalked. I have a feeling of being watched every day—no, I'm not famous. On my afternoon walk up and down the hill outside my house, cars, busses and trucks are constant presences, sometimes idling, or more likely roaring by. No longer beautiful, I struggle along with a crooked leg, supported by the handgrips on my rollator. I hate the fact that hundreds of pairs of eyes watch my every move and probably make derogatory comments. Just imagine what it must be like for famous people. Cameras would be snapping and their picture would be spread all over the newspapers.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is, on the surface, the story of a girl who disappears down a rabbit hole to a fantastic place where she has of bizarre adventures. The heroine follows a talking white rabbit, meets the Queen of Hearts and plays croquet using flamingos as mallets.
However, many people interpret adult themes in the story. Since the 1960s there has been a trend for readers to identify an underlying drug theme in the book. But the experts are usually skeptical about this theory. The author wasn't thought to have been a recreational user of opium or laudanum.
The issue of Charles Dodgson's sexuality casts a shadow over the simple story. A successful photographer, many of his surviving shots are of children, often semi-dressed or naked. To many modern minds, a man who regularly formed friendships with young girls is suspicious.
If we consider the way the story evolved, an attempt to amuse children in a rowboat, perhaps people are guilty of reading too much into the bizarre adventure.
I think I'll write a letter to my friend Alana Mautone in the USA, complaining about the way people stare at me because I'm old and struggling. Alana won the prize of being a character in my current novel, so it would be perfectly feasible for me to do so. After the fantasy book is famous, she, or her family, can sell the letter at auction, thereby increasing my public notoriety.