11/5/2022 0 Comments
It All Started with the Notebooks
It all started with the notebooks.
Well, really, it started with the paintings.
Most of the artwork in Whimsey Sky’s opening line made me giggle as I painted. I thought I was painting for children’s décor, and that’s still coming, but the truth is I was painting to uncover my own sense of whimsey and wonder. The world was hard and getting harder, and I needed to cloister with joy and mystery and playfulness under the weight of it all.
That was in 2015, a year before the world went dark for my husband. Kidney failure followed shortly after his vision loss. My daughter spent her teen years with the uncertainty of terminal illness hanging over the house. A dear friend matched as a donor. In 2019, he saved my husband’s life. Exactly one year later, my dad would be taken off life support after developing sepsis and organ failure. All of this ushered me into a period of holding space for the grief of hundreds of my students who lost family members to the pandemic. Then, in 2021, I had brain surgery.
In the midst of all this, I let go of painting to attend to the urgent humanness of the moment.
But I kept telling stories.
I told stories on our private social media group to keep friends and family updated on my husband’s health, on a public social media page to rehome my parents’ dog Max, in fiction whenever I could sit down to it, and to myself when I had to make sense of it all.
And regardless where my stories end up, they almost always start in a notebook.
This is where I process the hard stuff, grow past the coping skills that don’t serve me anymore, develop ideas for novels and short pieces, brainstorm new curriculum for my students, and take notes when I have the chance to attend seminars and courses.
So, earlier this year, when the crack had widened enough for the light to come in, it had to be notebooks. I soft launched Whimsey Sky in July, 2022 with a line of 22 notebooks featuring art and words that soothe my soul.
Notebooks sit at the intersection of learning, artmaking, and storytelling, and I can’t think of a better place to begin Whimsey Sky’s journey than to offer you space to chronicle yours.
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Bethany DuVall loves storytelling in all its forms. In addition to running Whimsey Sky, she paints, writes fiction, and offers creativity and life coaching workshops. She also teaches masters and bachelors courses in creative writing.
All Art For A Cause Art & The Divine Work In Progress