Why we need whimsy

It’s the first weekend that feels nearly fall-like here, in North Carolina, and I have that urge to make lists, clean the closets, and reflect on summer.

As I was combing through some photos from the summer, I thought about whimsy, and how important it is for my creative soul.

Summer started with birds.

My friend Erin sent me the stencils she’d used in her place in NYC after I oohed over them. My daughter and I painted our mudroom ceiling blue and stenciled our flock onto the walls and ceiling. The gold ones became our mechanical birds.

Every time I open the door, my heart lifts. My daughter said “Thanks Mom. I don’t think most thirteen-year olds’ parents would let them paint on the ceiling.”

She’s right. Because we’re quick to frown on things that aren’t “normal.”


I promised myself to choose delight over practical matters like, what if I have to paint over the birds?

Later, I went to New York City.

I could go on and on about that trip.

I returned the stencils and had gobs of fun.

But here’s one of the best things:

Yup, a rainbow cookie.

I asked the guy behind the counter what flavor that amazing looking thing was?

“Chocolate, I think.”

It was definitely NOT chocolate. The other one was, but the colorful one? It was rainbow flavored.

My friends laughed at me.

“You’ve never had a rainbow cookie? Usually they’re just three colors.”

What does a rainbow taste of? Marzipan. And jelly. And chocolate (he wasn’t entirely wrong!).

It was dee-licious.

A few days later, I saw this notebook in an art supply store.


The delights are everywhere.

Pratt had this great exhibit, including poems written by kids.

My favorite was the 6-year-old’s description of how a worm walks.

It ended with “His head goes first. I think.”

I promised myself to retain some of the summer’s fun, whimsy, and delight. And to always wonder which end of the worm might go first, how to eat a rainbow, and to ask “why not?”

Originally published September 18, 2016

Posted on Thursday, 16 November 2017

Filed under writers life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Connected