Now there’s some territory that I haven’t explored yet. Purely fantastical, grotesque and magical, your town has turned into a 3 Ring Circus for a day type of whimsy. Something for the children to grow up with and remember as they get older. Something for the adults to ponder and delight in on quieter days. Winter is over, spring has had its turn, now mad and wonderful summer is calling you out to play in the grass and to swim in the lake. Whimsy.

And not the type that makes the Sad Puppies howl pathetically at the front door to be let in because, “Oohhhh… there’s too much diversity out here, and we might get some on us aaOOOO!!” Not the type that has any hidden agenda other than to tell the story itself. And definitely not the type of whimsy that has a blatant agenda either; like every cartoon made during the Reagan Administration wasn’t actually a thinly veiled PSA.

Nothing like that at all.

I’m talking whimsy for whimsy sake. It used to be a thing. But the world has changed in ominous and scary ways. Moments of fun and wonder and amazement are fleeting, and even then, they are either sucked dry of any fun and turned into corporate entities, or they are left to their own devices and labeled as deviant and dangerous. I’m talking about the type of infectious whimsy that made projects like The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast have a longer lasting impact than anticipated.

…At least for me, anyway.

(We miss you, Ronnie James Dio…)

I dunno, maybe I’m reverting. Maybe I’m biased. Maybe I should turn off cable news.

I almost didn’t even bother with this next project. It’s an image made by Italian Artist Paolo de Francesco. It’s absurd and whimsical and there are a lot of things are going on with it and things are popping up where they shouldn’t be and… it’s perfect. There was nothing I could add to this. There was no commentary I could draw from it, no alternative story I could tell because it was its own little world, and the best I could do is maybe transcribe what I saw, like some journalist embedded inside a Timothy Leary daydream.

But, I couldn’t walk away as easily on this one. The longer I stared at the picture, the louder a certain Beatles song got in my head. The louder it got, the more I was transported back to the time where I was a child of the Vietnam War era and where we celebrated whimsy for whimsy sake for a very brief moment in time, and how I think I think we need some more of that whimsy now. The more I thought about that, the more I reflected on the notion on all the things that I write, or try to write, or want to write,  doesn’t necessarily have to go dark to be a good story. All things considered, happy endings can be a good thing.

Just a thought.

Thanks again for reading. Back soon.


Marquis de Soleil

“I have outlived far more than I’d care to remember,” thought the old sea dog as he scrapes the bowl of his scrimshaw pipe. “You’d think I’d have my fair share of wisdom to show for it after all this time. Somethin’ like ‘take care of your vessel, and she’ll take good care ah you‘ or ‘Play in the sea, just don’t play with her‘. Bollocks to that.” he swiped a match on the side of his pipe and lit it. “The only advice that is worth a shyte is ‘Keep your powder dry and a weather eye.” Clouds of pungent smoke rolled off his grizzled chin as he spins his cold coffee in his cold, tin cup.

Summer has finally come to the cove. The distant squeals of children splashing in the water answer the mechanical purrs of random outboard motors. The air is fresh with lilac and sea salt, and this ancient mariner who never really found his land legs, reclines on his porch in the late morning sun. He smiles at the simple beauty of the morning. He smiles despite his missing teeth and missing leg. He smiles because he hears the long wail of a conch horn fanfare in the distance, followed by even louder children squeals and the cheers of townsfolk. Today is the day when he returns. Today is a day to rejoice.

“Like clockwork,” he laughs. “Yep, I have lived a very long life, and this I know for sure: The sun will always rise in the morning, The Mermaids that play in the harbor are real, and the Marquis de Soleil always arrives on the last day of May into our waters, his estate carried on the back of his pet Kraken.”

©2016 AA Payson


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