The last few weeks have been very busy for me in both of my jobs. I say “both” because while I do have a part time job that I go to four days a week, writing and illustrating have grown into another job! I’m not complaining, of course!

What are some of the things that have been going on? Well, I took the leap and bought my own ISBN’s. That is a big leap for me because it says, “I’m serious about this.” This also let me establish my own publishing imprint name: Gracie Press.

This week I received a print proof of “A Most Wondrous Place.” There are still a few edits to do, but it should be ready soon. Overall, I’m very pleased with how it looks. Of course, I still need to read it to the chickens as they have final approval over any of the stories that are published about them.

Maybe we can sit and read it together this afternoon. But I remember how they have been hinting that we need to get out and dig in the garden. They may say it’s to prepare more space for flowers and vegetables, but I know it’s to hopefully find some earthworms!

But back to what this post is mostly about. I’ve been thinking about “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” and now “A Most Wondrous Place.” I’ve been asking myself, “What’s the message?”

Do you remember how in “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens” Pearl struggled to figure out how to be “a good normal chicken”? Do you remember how she never did figure it out, but found out it wasn’t as important as what she had thought? In the end, she discovered she was much more than good enough.

The same happens in “A Most Wondrous Place” for Gracie. She did not look like the other chicks from the beginning. She developed a lump on her side that kept her from doing what the others did, but she still danced and that is what she loved the most. She was the least likely to ever become the leader of our small backyard flock, and yet that’s exactly what happened. Like Pearl, Gracie also discovers she is much more than good enough.

And so perhaps that will be an important message in my other books too. Maybe people (both children and adults) need to know “You too are so much more than good enough.”

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated! 

13 thoughts on “What’s The Message?

  1. We are all good enough. A gentleman I cycle within more normal times has written a great deal during his 81 years but not had the courage to publish any of it. I have encouraged him to join our writing group and we will help him get his poetry, for a start in print. Another writing group member is anxious to get published by an established publisher. He receives rejection after rejection but still resists self-publishing. I have told him that if he only sells just one self-published book that is better than none at all by established publishers. Some of his short stories were included in the two collections the writing group has published, my cousin thought that one of his stories was the best in the book. So yes we are all good enough and what I have read of your work John is more than good enough, it is excellent.

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    1. Phil, thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. With the way this global pandemic has gone, I think it will become even more difficult to be published traditionally. The big publishing houses only want a “sure thing” and aren’t willing to take a risk like they once did. For me (and at my age), self-publishing is the way to go. It reminds me of when I was a much younger man and would go to open mic nights just to here what was new. (That’s short for “open microphone” here in the U.S. but you may call it something different there.) It was a chance for the musicians and singers to get some practice in front of a live audience and hone their skills while waiting to be discovered. Many were never discovered, but they still had the joy of performing and getting feedback that would help them grow professionally. Best wishes to you and your writing friends who are surely much more than good enough.

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  2. We see through such a small pair of glasses much of the time, with lenses focused on our faults and weaknesses. It is such a gift to be reminded that we are so much more than enough. Thank you. We either need to shed our glasses or perhaps dare to use new ones…ones that chickens relate to.

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    1. Thank you, Judy. There are times when it seems that so many things in life are trying to encourage us to diminish ourselves. I truly do believe that we really are much more than good enough.

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    1. Thank you, Ruth! I really do hope that this message will make a difference for a good number of children, particularly those who struggle with things. It’s not easy being a kid these day. (Not that it ever was!)

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  3. “Gracie Press”…so exciting!
    And thank you for alllowing us to follow your journey.

    Mmmh…, Usually, the (banana) problem is that we are social beings…and therefore, possibly dependent on the acknowledgement, appreciation and respect of others and positive experiences to enable us to discover our self-worth. Self-confidence does not come from nowhere. It is given to you…that is a pity. It makes people with or without feathers vulnerable and needy.

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    1. Thank you, my friend! Chickens are very social as well, and it’s easy for the weakest to be picked on…much like children can be bullied by other children. If I can write books that promote empathy and understanding, I think that will help. And if I can write books that promote a feeling of self-confidence and self-worth, then that will certainly go a long way indeed. One of the sentences from the next book is “You are more important to me than anything.” Children need to know this. They need to hear this from the important adults in their lives. I’ve tried to make this a really good book for reading aloud, particularly with colorful illustrations. I’d like to think that when someone is reading the book to a child and they get to that part “You are more important to me than anything” that it will be a good seed that is sown into the child’s heart. Thanks again!

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