This is the best: standing over the large drawing pad spread out on my shop's workbench, a cup of coffee in one hand and a sharp pencil in the other. All things are possible now. My pencil sketches every absurd curve, whimsical window, every intricately carved dragon head...and what if I light up the eyes - red- with LEDs and, oooooh, what if I make it breath fire? Not REAL fire, mind you, but what if I mount an inline bathroom exhaust fan into a wall, and pipe air up to it's mouth, where I'll put another, brighter light to illuminate a curtain of red translucent plastic strips? Huh? Huh!

Anything is possible. 

And that's what 'magic' is, isn't it? Anything is possible. That's why, when I sketch, I do not edit. Sure, I'll erase windows, tweak roof lines, bend trim, but I do not delete because something looks too difficult, too expensive, too impractical. Those are adult concerns. Easy, cheap and practical have given us McMansions, strip malls, and those god-awful plywood sheds outside the Home Depot's garden department. Easy, cheap and practical do not describe anything a child, in any time throughout human history, has ever drawn. Why? Children don't draw in straight lines. Heck, they don't draw in the lines. Drawing inside the lines isn't fun, and if you've ever lived with a young child, you know that if it isn't fun, it's not worth doing. 

There's a quote by Pablo Picasso that goes likes this, "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."

So I keep sketching, trying not to listen to the muffled protests coming from the duct-taped mouth of the little adult on my shoulder. He's loud though, so I put down my coffee and pencil and wind another couple silver passes around his mouth. There. Now I can draw. Beneath my pencil treehouses emerge that could be lifted out of the pages of The Swiss Family Robinson, cottages with thatched roofs and crooked doors sprout like toadstools, pirate ships set sail across green lawns, rocket ships stand on their platforms at the ready, and castle towers sail their rainbow of pennant flags.

Things will be cut when I price out the lumber order. Compromises will be made. But not now. Now, I'm eight years old, and I'm drawing, and my dream playhouse is going to have a fire breathing dragon, because, hey, how fun is that?

And if I can pull it off? Magic. Pure magic. So it stays. For now