Go down the rabbit hole with Alice; play quidditch with Harry Potter; float down the river with Huck Finn… If you could choose three fictional events or adventures to experience yourself, what would they be?
I hate to be a spoilsport here… (or do I? Note to self: consider the possibility that you love being nefarious, rebellious, rude and unco-operative as opposed to quiet and deferential – the persona you have presented most of your life.)
So where was I? Oh yes. I hate to be a spoilsport (or not) but I don’t want to play this game.For a start, it would require energy. Think of it this way. My favourite children’s’ book was Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild. Not that I ever had images of myself dancing – imagine an elephant in pointe shoes – but the three kids in this book were thrown headfirst into the performing arts, which seemed to me the epitome of Living Life to the Full (which indeed it was, as I subsequently discovered.) At the time, I revelled in the joy of their unconventional lives, so much more exciting and fulfilling than the dreary round of school, homework, compulsory games of tunnel ball and learning to be Good. But they were so busy! They did things! All the time! And I know without question that even a day with them would reduce me to a blubbering rubble of exhaustion.
My second problem is the issue of my comfort zone. It’s taken me years to find it. I like it here. Why would I be fool enough to thrust myself into the unknown world of Dickens’ London to be fleeced by pickpockets, enslaved by unscrupulous employers and no doubt thrown into a debtors’ prison? Not that all those things couldn’t happen here, more or less, but at least here I could call people I know to get me out again. As for the Brontes – with my luck, I’d find myself in the attic with Rochester’s wife.
Which brings me to my third objection. What if I died while I was off cavorting my way through fictional worlds, far removed from the necessary business of producing my death certificate for the distribution of my estate? (Not there’s much of it, but every little helps.) Jack Reacher, for example, pops people off with an abandon verging on profligate, and who knows what happens to their bodies? Even Miss Marple trips over more corpses than any genteel woman should, and you have to wonder whether ‘wrong time, wrong place’ has a whole different meaning in her vicinity.
So all in all – thanks, but no thanks. Call me a wimp, I won’t mind at all. But make sure it’s not me you contact if you’re stuck down the rabbit hole.