A rose by any other name

What's in a name? The Pattern Recognizing Machine (who I am an avid fan of) has a nice short write-up here about names and the changing of names. I didn't know quite how to start this blog with, so I thought I would try to clarify the names I chose.

The domain and website name "Alice of Roses", and the username "schmetterling" are both words I've been using for a long time now, casually flitting about the vast sea of the internet. Initially I considered a completely different name to begin this brand new adventure, but I feel that what has happened is a gradual evolution than a sudden jump to a new land.

 Xxxholic by CLAMP had just started shortly after I entered high school. I was (and still am) a huge fan of CLAMP's works, both the art and the convoluted mythology-imbued philosophical story-telling. I instantly fell for the butterfly motif used for 必然 (ひつぜん, hitsuzen), something halfway between destiny and 缘分 (yuán fèn). I discarded my usual (foreign-language-that-makes-things-sound-cooler) French and eventually settled upon German in the later years of high school. I like the way "schmetterling" rolls off my tongue, even though I'm most likely pronouncing it incorrectly. I was also attracted to the butterfly as a vessel of the question raised in "The Butterfly Dream" (莊周夢蝶) because of a strange period in my childhood where I had out of body dreams and a belief I was some sort of alien masquerading as a human.

"Alice of Roses" came from a combination of my love for Alice in Wonderland and the various depictions of roses in fairy tales. What I took from Alice in Wonderland when I was young was a world of whimsy and nonsensical logic, the fantastical and the absurd, and a perfect complement to my childhood imagination running away from the dullness of everyday life. My interpretation of Wonderland is like trying to escape from the real world, except somewhere you made a wrong turn and fell into an even deeper cave where the shadows of the Forms are so degraded that everything is topsy-turvy, yet somehow ends up being even clearer through their absurdity and exaggeration. And all that emerges from the rose, as what protects Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose, and the symbol of original sin in Beauty and the Beast, and eponymous of Snow-White and Red-Rose.

Combined, the above has become for me some strange sort of manifesto on life and its winding road towards the eventual event horizon we all face. Hence I've been reluctant to let it go, and instead have decided to immerse myself in the inane philosophy of my youth.

I consider it a job well done if everyone, myself included, is utterly confused at the end of this journey.