While sorting through notes from a decade’s old writers’ conference, my eyes lingered on a message. A note jotted by an editor with whom I’d met there regarding some of my work in the fantasy genre. On this particular manuscript, next to my title, it began, marked in red, “The world doesn’t need more whimsy.” Penned before he struck the manuscript from his prospective print pile. I have since had that work published through a different acquisitions editor. Yet, I remember that exact moment when I’d received his note. Today, my response hasn’t changed all that much by his words. Sometimes, we can learn a great deal through those higher up in our field. Sometimes, we are inspired. We can, once in a while, get crushed. And then there are times when we disagree and press on while discarding certain stated advice, such as, “Give it up, it’s meaningless.”
Is it really meaningless if this is how we connect with the world? This is how we communicate our thoughts, motivations, drive, our art? Our calling, even. Maya Angelou said it best, "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Who has the right to tell us otherwise?
In fiction, what can be found in the whimsy is this: the magic of purpose in an ordinary world, making that world—suddenly our world—extraordinary. This world does need more whimsy. Life, as we know it today, whether we like it or not, accept it or not, was greatly assisted in its development by parables – parables that some have passed off as whimsy. There is something to be said for what’s hidden within the layers of the flight of imagination within storytelling. One might just need to look a little deeper.