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The views and opinions expressed in O'Keefe's Briefs(tm) are not necessarily those of The Management. In fact, they are very likely not even the views and opinions of the writer, the typeface designer, god or the President of the United States. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who shares the extraordinary worldview expressed below, and should you, run. Far and fast. The Management would also like to point out that any references or similarities to any persons living, dead, or undead are entirely coincidental since we all know there are no such things as zombies anyhow.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

In Defense of Whimsy

I own a bow tie. This is not a confession. I wear it occasionally much to the bafflement of my family, friends, and coworkers. When asked why -the only and first question one ought to expect when wearing a bow tie- my stock answer (prepared beforehand and field tested) is: Because there shouldn’t be anything Orville Reddenbacher can do that I can’t. It’s a much simpler reason, if only spiritually true and invented after the fact, than why I own and occasionally wear a bow tie.

For a person often too much in his own head, at times to the point of near-paralyzation, I also tend to indulge in manic fits of whimsy. I do things like buy and wear a bow tie for example for the sheer joy of doing something silly; and when challenged I am as likely to tell an amusing tale by way of explanation as I am merely to smile and shrug. That’s how whimsy works; it’s at once an act of rebellion and an indulgence. And it’s vital not just to my own psychological health, but I believe to everyone’s.

Our childhood ends once we enter school, wherein invention and imagination are systematically drilled out of us one standardized test at a time until, by the time we are graduated, most of us have lost the simple ability to create. And the product of this process is considered to be a healthy, fully functional adult. What kind of life is that person supposed to lead? Wake up, cornflakes, commute, work, dinner, reality TV, bed. Repeat. I yawned halfway through writing that. I can’t even begin to imagine living that way, and when I begin to - hey! we all have off-days - that’s when whimsy kicks in. Read my other blogs, they’re full of whimsy, puns, jokes, and word-plays of every sort. I write to entertain myself; my readers are collateral damage. And my twitter feed (@Donwrite)? It’s one inanity after another.

I often say that a writer has one story he is trying to tell, coming at it again and again from a new angle each time. This can apply to the themes that an author explores through his writing, or even just a specific narrative. If you read any particular author’s work religiously, I think you understand. My through-line is whimsy. Whether by turn of fate or turn of phrase, it’s something that appears in everything I write. Heck, my first novel1 had a character named Destiny who was invented simply to throw a monkey wrench in the works- so to speak.

Thus ends my short meditation on the importance of whimsy. Apparently I couldn’t be bothered to devise a thoughtful conclusion, but hey! It’s nice outside. Go forth and be whimsical.

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1 - “The Bookslinger” was never published. It was written a decade ago when lad-lit was making its brief appearance as a viable genre. The story was old before it was told. Oh, well. Contrary to popular belief and common sense, I am still rather proud of it.

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