An Interview With Wonderland Campaign Creator, Kerri Romeo
By Victoria Lynn Hall
Like many other readers of this blog, I look forward to the weekly installments of Kerri Romeo’s Wonderland Campaign series. To me it is magical the way she manages to combine difficult political concepts with literature and imagination in a way that is informative, entertaining and thought provoking.
One of the things I like most about Kerri’s pieces is how she poses questions to her readers to inspire us to ponder what things mean to us, rather than just accept ready made narratives. However, I figured it was time to turn the tables a bit and ask “our Alice” some things I was curious to know about her Wonderland Campaign adventures.
Below are those questions and Kerri’s thoughtful answers. Enjoy!
Question: How did you come up with the idea for the wonderland campaign?
Kerri: I grew up always looking at the root cause of any problem in life to find a long-term solution rather than a superficial solution that was only temporary. In the 2012 election I commented in a political discussion with a friend on Facebook that the problem with our country was our own greed. That discussion turned into a disagreement because of the candidate I supported. That wasn’t like me. I didn’t have opinions about politics. I didn’t disagree with people. Politics was making me feel ugly. Politics was toxic. I shut my Facebook down for 3 years. I continued to vote, but I didn’t want to discuss it. I voted for the candidate I believed had the same values as me on social issues. The rest of it was for the experts: Financial, healthcare and foreign policies…what did I know about that?
Then Marianne Williamson came along discussing root causes and truth. Policies that put people before profits. Peace and love became more practical and credible. The more I listened, the more I wanted to know. I wanted to be involved. For some reason the connection with the volunteers didn’t happen until towards the end of her campaign, but meeting (virtually) with like-minded people even briefly helped me feel less alone in my views. Politics felt less toxic and more inspiring. For the first time I realized positive change could be and is supposed to be in our hands.
Initially, I brainstormed how to engage the spiritual community that I had hoped would stand behind Marianne. I felt like that idea wasn’t inclusive enough and I considered how to incorporate diversity. I kept hitting a wall though. Something that kept coming up for me was self-doubt. I felt lost and confused in most social and political conversations. Who was I to write about it? I am in my 40’s and yet I felt like a child…a curious one
The Wonderland Campaign became my own coming-of-age story in politics: Rabbit holes and root causes; the nonsensical nature of both wonderland and our own society and politics; and of course, curiosity. I hoped to inspire other people to awaken to politics from a more inquisitive view.
Question: What is your process for writing your weekly installments for the series?
Kerri: The Alice in Wonderland story itself gives me structure and direction so I usually start where we last left off in the story. From there I relate a current issue or event and start researching.
Sometimes I pause from the story to focus on other themes: The political and social world when the story was written; The historical connection and influence between England and America; The life of the author, his real-life muse Alice and the animals and personalities he chose for the creatures in Wonderland. These details are just as inspiring and relatable as the actual story.
Question: What challenges have you faced in writing this series and how have you met them?
Kerri: A lot of research goes on behind-the-scenes. When you are naturally curious, digging through rabbit holes can be inviting and fun. That is how the series was created. Finding reliable and trustworthy sources of information is tricky. I worried that if I didn’t find and include everything, the message would be false, incomplete and/or misunderstood. But I am not claiming to be or trying to be an expert. In the interest of keeping the blog post to a readable length I knew not everything could be included. The point of the Wonderland Campaign is to open minds rather than dictate what I believe. There is already enough of that out there.
On a practical level, I work full time and personal struggles and responsibilities leave me with limited free time and energy. I am a slow thinker. Distractions at home do not make for the most favorable conditions for writing. I share this point only because I understand why the average citizen doesn’t become politically engaged. Everyone is busy, overworked, overwhelmed. It is not easy. I found that once you jump into the rabbit hole it is worth it. You might find me writing at 2 am to meet this challenge. I have had to let go of perfection. The Wonderland Campaign series is very raw, unedited and hot off the press.
Question: What have you learned through the process of writing these stories
Kerri: I have learned that everything and everyone is connected. I believed this on an abstract, spiritual level. But as I researched racism, endangered and extinct animals, the environment, feminism, capitalism it was no longer abstract. The history of every single topic is related to the next.
Question: What do you hope your readers learn from these stories?
Kerri: Every topic or issue covered has been about life. Politics is about our lives. Sometimes being involved in politics is simply asking questions. I would love to know what questions, if any, came up for the readers. If not, I wonder if they disagree or agree with what came up in the stories.
Question: Can you give us a hint of what’s next for Alice in the Wonderland Campaign over the next few weeks?
Kerri: We covered one emotion (sadness), but another emotion (anger) will be covered, as well as growing up, ageism, education, drugs, mainstream media, generations, spirituality and the American dream. I am curious which topic the readers are most excited about.
Thanks to Kerri for taking time out of her busy life to answer these questions.
If you have missed any of her weekly installments of The Wonderland Campaign, you can find them all here.
To participate in further discussions about The Wonderland Campaign, join the Amplifire Project Facebook Group.
If you have your own questions for Kerri or would like to answer hers privately, you can email WonderlandCampaign@AmplifireProject.com
Kerri spends her days as an office administrator for a ballet barre manufacturer and her free time playing frisbee with her dog in NJ. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.
A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.