Research and the Rabbit Hole

Welcome to my weekly blog.  This is the place where I can let my hair down a little, share my thoughts with my readers about what’s going on, or not, in my writing world.  This week I’m writing my blog a bit later than normal, as I got swept up in a couple research well, what can I say episodes…

Originally, I was going to write a bit about what the Easter holiday means to me.  Then I did a tiny bit of research about Easter and quickly discovered that I might be wading into turbulent waters.  I think I suspected as much; thus my idea to do a little research.  I was quickly reminded that Easter has a significant religious connection to it, and the proverbial warning sirens started to sound at the same time the voice in my head said, “stay out of politics and religion.”  So I ditched the idea of writing about Easter and decided instead to treat the extended holiday break as one I’d enjoy despite the absence of blogging about it. My husband and I have some spring property projects that we must attend to. Additionally we have plans to visit several friends, and, if the weather cooperates, we hope to enjoy one or more horseback rides together.  This will round out our Easter weekend together.

So with the idea of blogging about Easter in the rear view mirror, I’ve switched my attention to telling you about my experience researching for my current stories.  I wrote last week about some of my research, and this week that research continued, except this week I found myself continuously becoming sidetracked during my research.  Hence my reference to ‘the Rabbit Hole’ in my blog post title.  I definitely found myself down a rabbit hole – more than once I must confess. I got to thinking about the term “rabbit hole”.  As writers we hear that term thrown around quite a bit, “Oh you don’t want to go down that rabbit hole”, or “Next thing I knew, I was down a rabbit hole.”  But what does it really mean?  I confess I always thought that the proverbial ‘Rabbit Hole’ was a metaphor to describing a twisting; endless path like Alice’s little tumble down the rabbit hole as she followed the White Rabbit into Wonderland.  Which I learned (because of course I had to research that too) was partly correct. As it turns out, rabbit hole is in fact a metaphor for a long, winding exploratory path with many connections and offshoots but it is also used to describe online activities.  In fact Web surfing – or as we as writers like to phrase it ‘research’ could be considered voluntarily traveling down a rabbit hole.

In a nutshell then; going, or falling, down a rabbit hole can be viewed as an occurrence when someone heading down an intentional path becomes sidetracked by numerous thoughts and changes in direction and ends up somewhere unexpected.  Usually not anywhere close to the original intent or goal.  However, in one description of ‘rabbit hole’ I found,  it stated, “nevertheless, the path often leads to serendipitous discoveries, further the meandering path may eventually turn out to be more productive than a more direct one.”   I personally like that description; it is less negative and confirms that sometimes those sideways adventures can have positive outcomes.

Well that is it for this week.  Everyone have a wonderful long weekend with whomever you wish to share your time.  In keeping with this week’s theme, I offer you this quote.

It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

Lewis Carroll




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