Beyond the Pale is more than a blog. Volume I of From Beyond the Pale, The Lost Child’s Guide to Wayward Lands, can be purchased online.
New: The Scapegoat’s Guide has begun.
The life and times of panic of rabbits – a researcher who shifts between the roles of Hero, Scapegoat, Clown, and Lost Child – remains as nuanced and complex as all lives. Panic of rabbits is the most objective voice writing from beyond the pale. It is this researcher’s wish to document and imagine the realities and explore the adventures that each of these four urban archetypal figures could experience within or beyond the pale.
It would be dishonest to misrepresent panic of rabbits as one who does not display the characteristics of any of the above; a Hero long ago, panic of rabbits identifies most with Lost Child and occasionally Scapegoat. She is most likely to exhibit characteristics of Clown when backed into the corner of heroism. As her analyst explained to panic of rabbits, she is all of them.
- Born in 1975 – year of the rabbit.
- “Soft about the moss, the wild fern uncurls ever so gently where a rabbit is born, king of nervous things.”
Joseph Pintauro The Rabbit Box. 1970. Harper and Row, New York.
- Margery Williams’s The Velveteen Rabbit.
Panic of rabbits’ first experience with television occurred in a nursery school classroom. While she remains forever grateful to her parents for encouraging her to play with a rock tumbler and draw labyrinths on rolls of butcher paper, the absence of a television rendered her ill-equipped for nursery school in 1978, where she insisted upon only sitting in the little plastic yellow chairs, never in blue, green, or red, and because she readily shared the art supplies and toys, the teachers indulged this obsession. It was to one of those yellow plastic chairs that she clung, when for the first time, the tender animated bunny of Margery Williams’s The Velveteen Rabbit delighted her, as did the dust particles shimmering in the beam of a film strip projector.
She was still clinging to that yellow plastic chair when her mother arrived to collect the sobbing, hysterical daughter.
“That child is completely incapable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality,” the teacher would explain for the next two years.
The girl (who would grow up to write under a number of aliases including panic of rabbits) was not simply distraught that the rabbit had been taken away from the boy and was supposed to be burned in the woods with some other germ-ridden toys. Such a concept would have disturbed her, but as we all know, the bunny in The Velveteen Rabbit became real, and despite the lack of ability to distinguish fantasy from reality, panic of rabbits was a rational child and probably could have accepted the story’s happy ending if she had been able to accept the story’s reality.
However, the first animated image panic of rabbits ever saw apparently mesmerized her until not only was she convinced that the actual events of The Velveteen Rabbit were real; she somehow believed that she was the stuffed rabbit and had been taken away from the boy and was going to risk being burned up in a fire only to end up a real rabbit hopping around with those mean rabbits who were clearly not as loving as the boy.
“But I am the bunny. I am the bunny,” she sobbed.
To complicate things further, all tattered stuffed rabbits disappeared from the childhood home of panic of rabbits. The sibling born immediately after panic of rabbits (a boy who demonstrates qualities of Hero when not under distress, Clown when experiencing stress) gave her five finger puppets for Christmas in 2004. The zebra, lion, tiger, and elephant remain tucked safely in their cigar box, but the fifth finger puppet disappeared without a trace. A Saint Anthony key holds its place.
Panic of rabbits initially did not know whose guide to imbroglio this encyclopedia should be, but after careful deliberation regarding the role one plays in a dysfunctional family and its relationship to how frequently or infrequently one leaves the pale, she decided this guidebook should belong primarily to the Lost Child, the one most likely to spend his or her adult life wandering the realm of the beyond and navigate the beyond most intimately.
About Lost Child
The Lost Child left the safety of the pale long ago in search of a not quite real rabbit and never returned. She spent the early years within the confines of the pale escaping by daydreaming of catastrophic situations. Highly superstitious, frozen in time and drawn to dysfunction in life, her talents include invisibility, carrying mirrors with extreme caution, and tiptoeing around landmines. Her attraction to trinkets, hula hoops, and the accordion distract her from secret death wishes.
If The Hero leaves the pale to retrieve her, The Lost Child hides in the labyrinths beyond the pale. Constant confounding variables ingrained in the lost child’s psyche motivate her to wander beyond the pale for most of her childhood and adult life.
Lost Child avoids intimacy with humans but is always accompanied by at least one pet and is followed secretly by a panic of rabbits.
The rabbits themselves are characters (symbolic and real) living beyond the pale. While the Lost Child initially left the pale in search of a particularly special lost rabbit, she has discovered no rabbits in her diligent search.
The Lost Child’s ability to pass unnoticed and avoid landmines is only as strong as is her connection to the role of Lost Child. In fact, the Lost Child often displays qualities of The Hero if and when small animals (but especially the beloved rabbits) are threatened. If the Lost Child were to identify her rabbit and give chase, she would lose the defense mechanism of invisibility, and identity of hero would obscure the secret paths through labyrinths as they slipped from her memory. If a Lost Child attempts to rescue a long ago velveteen rabbit, she will be forced to display characteristics of Hero and will immediately face great peril from the madmen, sneaks of weasels, crones, the terrible father, doppelgangers, mermaids, and even yard waste. The rabbits, unwilling to jeopardize the Lost Child’s survival beyond the pale, remain cloaked in their panic – beyond her line of sight.
The rabbits, kings of nervous things, are her true keepers, albeit unbeknownst to her.
Beyond the Pale is more the Lost Child’s guide than anyone else’s, although pages assigned to Clown, Hero, and Scapegoat address variables and difficulties which are unique to them.
It is the sincere wish of panic of rabbits document the dystopian terrain beyond the pale and to allow Lost Child to remain wandering there.
The rabbit is still missing. She is still looking.