The Cabbage Street News arrived in my mailbox this past week – a handmade newspaper written, designed and edited by the Army of Smalls.

The Army of Smalls, as you may recall, is made up of the five girls in my neighborhood, all under the age of 11, who rule this hood.

The Cabbage Street News, with the subtitle “Cool Kids,” included a comic strip called a “house strip” (an illustrated depiction of all the houses on the street) and a list of fun activities to do: “tag, 4 scware, drawing, haing out, hamok, plays, music, Gods and Godidses.”

A full-page ad on the back cover read: “Come to Cabbage Street!!”

I wasn’t sure if I needed to respond to this first edition, so I sent a message to one of the moms, asking for guidance. If the Smalls expected me to subscribe, I was ready.

She sent a message back saying that, apparently, the Smalls had been bored and had started a newspaper. When I asked what action I should take, she said that the girls said that I should recycle it.

Right. Responsible Cool Kids.

The next day I received a photo of the Army of Smalls playing “Project Runway.” Instead of using dress-up clothes to create a seasonal collection, they were using a giant bag of fabric scraps that I had dropped off at their house a few days earlier.

The publishing team had started designing.

Their version of “Project Runway” did not supply equipment like scissors or sewing machines. But that was no matter to this team of girls: To keep a gown from falling down, for example, they added scraps to scraps by tying and knotting until the creation stayed in place.

Matching, by the way, was not part of the rules. In fact, from what I could tell from this one photo, there were no rules. The Smalls did not have to “make it work,” as Tim Gunn instructs contestants on the real “Project Runway”; they just made it over and over again, until they were bored.

“Bored” is the key word here. Being bored, I assume, was the impetus for the Cabbage Street News. Being bored, I assume, resulted in a new seasonal collection from a bag of fabric scraps.

I can hear the whining from here.

“I’m soooooo bored!”

When my daughter was their age, I would put a new pen on the table and wait for her to discover it. When she was bored with being bored, she would, eventually, pick up the pen and draw something.

One drawing would sometimes lead to dozens of other drawings: a series of giant-headed heroines, for example, like “karate-girl,” “ballerina-girl,” etc. Boredom was halted temporarily.

My daughter’s third-grade teacher was a master at transforming boredom into play. One day she presented each of her students with a yellow fuzzy ball and two wiggly eyes. She then instructed them to make a baby chicken.

From this one idea, hundreds of “Cheeps,” as they were christened, were created, in all colors and sizes of fuzzy balls with wiggly eyes.

Everyday objects, like bottle caps, corks and empty toilet paper rolls, were used in the making of the Cheep universe.

Cheeps were transported from house to house for specific activities or services. If a Cheep were sick, it would be driven – this is the pathetic part of the story – by a mom or dad to the Cheep hospital, which was located at another friend’s house. If it needed a haircut, it came to our house.

Cheeps had careers as lawyers, doctors and teachers. Cheeps owned swimming pools. Cheeps lived in apartment buildings. At one point, an entire section of our attic was occupied by Cheeps and their daily needs.

If you were the adult on duty and accidentally stepped on a Cheep or vacuumed up a Cheep or threw out a dead Cheep, well – let’s just say a relaxed afternoon could change to an exhausting afternoon.

Months, not hours, of make-believe play were launched by one yellow fuzzy ball.

“I’m soooooo bored!”

Recent studies have determined that boredom is good for you.

Findings suggest that boredom felt during passive activities, like reading reports or attending tedious meetings, heightens creativity.

Any creative person will confirm that ideas arrive at all times, not just when you are working on them. Allowing yourself to have a stretch of time to do nothing can be fruitful. When you’re doing nothing is when the magic happens.

When is the last time you heard an adult say, “I’m bored”? It seems that only kids are allowed to be bored and even then, not if we adults can help it.

Be bored in 2016.

Jolene McGowan lives and works in Portland with her husband, daughter and dog and has no plans to leave, ever. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]