Sometimes There’s a Need for Whimsy

Kate Flora: We’ve just completed our three-day marathon drive to Florida, where we will spend the next month walking on the beach, going on bike rides, and mostly doing what we always do–writing–in a new venue. Yesterday we visited with relatives whose TV was always on, and the constant news and videos of the war in Ukraine were so deeply depressing and worrying that it was hard to even notice that outside, birds were chirping and the sun was shining and a pleasing breeze was rustling the palm fronds.

I was thinking about an antidote to such news, not to hide from it but to balance it, and how we all need some leavening after two years of the pandemic. I’m still mostly masked, and still startled when I see the lower halves of people’s faces. Those losses, of social connection and even of smiles, make me think about going forward. .After 70 years of dressing carefully (mostly in black), following the rules, eating my fruits and vegetables, and trying to be a good citizen, I want a bit more color in my world. I want to laugh more. I want more amusement. That leads me to whimsy.

I’ve written here before about the importance, for writers, of slowing down and looking around and seeing the world around us. One of the good things that world has to offer, if we’re willing to notice, are small, amusing things that can lighten our days.

I am always looking for signs, not signs from the universe but signs on walls and on posts that make me smile.

flyer on the street

Sometimes whimsy arises not from what we see but what we do. These five authors in chef’s hats, Katy Munger, Taffy Cannon Gary Phillips, Lise McClendon, and me, became the imaginary writer, Thalia Filbert, for our group novel about a serial killer of famous TV chefs, Beat, Slay, Love.

Bacon, squid ink pasta, and hot peppers!

More whimsy came into play when I was invited to submit a story to The Obama Inheritance.  I am always grateful for the opportunity to be nudged out of my usual writing slot and challenged to write something new.

So, in observation, and in writing, sometimes we need a bit of whimsy to offset the troubled state of reality. And yes, this from someone who writes very dark, very gritty books.

Do you seek out whimsy? Does it find you?

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11 Responses to Sometimes There’s a Need for Whimsy

  1. maggierobinsonwriter says:

    I am trying right now to find slivers of positivity. They *are* out there once you look for them.

  2. Julianne Spreng says:

    It is the small things that make my world a better place and whimsy is a big part of it. Who would have thought when I was a girl that at some point you could buy 1 sock? That you would purposely choose to mismatch them.

  3. Alice says:

    You have reinforced our decision to get rid of TV years ago, Kate.
    As for whimsey, a cancer diagnosis and a fractured hip led me to begin wearing bright colors, crazy sox, and colorful shoes.
    You go girl!

  4. kaitcarson says:

    Perfect blog! Don’t know where in Florida you are, but if you are near Ft. Myers, check out the Ft. Myers Boathouse and Tiki Bar (across the water from the Lee County Convention Center). I can’t post the photo here, but there is a sign in the outdoor bar that reads “Bad Choices Make Good Stories.” Perfect for this topic.

  5. John Clark says:

    Cousin Dub and I are planning a trip up north near Jackman next week. We got our whimsy permits in the mail and hope to bag our limit before we get chased off by the folks running sap lines between the maple trees in that area.

  6. I bought and read BEAT, SLAY, LOVE before I realized you were one of the authors! I’d found it through Lise McClendon…and now I can’t even remember how I encountered her. Maybe Wattpad? It was a “delicious” romp and one I will read again. (If you did the Maine section, ie came up with the means of death, brava!)

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