The Terrifying Chicken Freak Show

On the back cover where reviewer’s comments belong, I didn’t have any reviews from people, so my chickens provided their own reviews for “The Bottle Cap Lady” and “How to Explain Christmas To Chickens.”

Emily had this to say: “I enjoyed the whole book. Pearl’s Comedy Coop was the funniest, but The Chicken Freak Show was the scariest. I always had to hide my head under a wing when we got to those parts.”

This chapter was one that almost did not make it into the final story because what happened in Pearl’s dream can be scary, at least to chickens, but I believe it has a lot to say about a special kind of love that gives everything it has to give.

I just wanted everyone to know in case they have sensitive young readers or story listeners (like my Emily).

The Terrifying Chicken Freak Show 

Sorry, but“The Terrifying Chicken Freak Show” proved to be a little too terrifying and a little too jarringly inconsistent with the rest of the book. Rewriting is a must!

 

Here is a huge “THANK YOU!” to everyone who read Saturday’s posted chapter and commented. Sunday I reread all of the way back from the beginning and when I got to that chapter, it truly felt out of place and very jarring. It was a bit as if someone else had inserted a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, and so I worked on a rewrite which you will find below. It keeps the good parts, cuts out the scary parts and also helps to make some connections to things which happened earlier in the book and prepares for action to happen later. There was also nothing in the original version to help anyone who has bad dreams, so I’ve tried to include advice there too.

A Favorite Of My Chickens (And Of Mine Too)

Today’s post is quite different from the usual because it features a video from YouTube rather than a drawing. If you have already read either “The Bottle Cap Lady” or “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens,” then you know this song plays an important part in wrapping up the ending to the story. This version of the song by Lexi Walker is particularly beautiful.

The lyrics of the song are completely in French, which my chickens adore, and that allows the heart to feel what the song is about, especially when one does not understand French. The ears may hear, but the heart feels.

For me, Christmas is something that must be felt with the heart, and this can vary from one person to another as well as from one year to another in the same person’s life. I have tried to write the story not in a way that the ear will hear it, but in a way that the heart will feel it. You might say it is an open-ended story when it comes to what Christmas is all about because it does not include a retelling of the original Christmas story. Hopefully this encourages the question, “What does Christmas mean to me?” or “How would I explain Christmas to chickens?”

Anyway, my chickens have been requesting to watch this video repeatedly, sort of like when I brought out my old record player for them with classical albums from the thrift store. I have a feeling that they have begun working on some ballet choreography to go with this song as a gift to me this Christmas. After all, both books are about giving gifts that can not be wrapped up in paper, and a beautifully choreographed ballet version of this song could not be wrapped up in paper. (Although gift wrap would make a fine backdrop and scenery!)

As you watch, I hope you will close your eyes and imagine a circle of chickens dancing ballet in celebration. They may even be wearing silvery sparkling tutus made from fabric that matches the singer’s dress as well!

If by some chance this does not display in your WordPress reader, you can do a Google search on “Lexi Walker il est ne le divin enfant video” and it should be the first one listed.

Happy 2nd Anniversary, “My Life With Gracie!”

Today, August 1, marks the 2nd Anniversary of “My Life With Gracie,” and so I thought it might be good to do a little reflection. (I have even switched back to our original online theme.) Below is our very first post ever. It started with an illustration. (Because who would want to read a story if it didn’t have an illustration?) It had exactly 121 words. (Because who would want to read much more than than that?) It ended with an illustration. (Because who would want to read all of the way to the end otherwise?)

I was as unsure and uncertain as you see Gracie in the illustration. She was drawn as just one little newly hatched chick in a huge world, and I had no idea we would find friends all over this huge world.

It’s funny how things can change in two years. We have now just published a pair novels (see yesterday’s post), each with 40,000 words, one with illustrations and one without. Imagine that! 40,000 words and not an illustration in sight except for on the cover!

More importantly, we have met so many wonderful readers these past two years who have shared our joys and our sorrows with us. Our readers have shaped “My Life With Gracie” in more ways than I will probably ever know, and so I have a huge amount of gratitude in my heart as a result.

This original post also reminds me of how short life can be for chickens and for people. And I still have a few more books to write before I will feel as if I’ve really said all that needs to be said.

Blanche and Pearl have been at the center of the book pair “The Bottle Cap Lady” and “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.” I do like the idea of having a pair of books, one illustrated and the other not, and so I am likely to continue the pattern unless I find one version is extremely more popular than the other.

I think the next novel will be about Emily and Amelia and how Amelia was the first chicken ever to fly to the moon and back. (And she was. Emily painted a sign and we posted it in the front yard so everyone would know. Amelia would have never been able to make the trip there and back if it hadn’t been for Emily.)

The third and perhaps final novel will be about Gracie and Bessie and the ballet titled “The Rose Garden Princess.” As I have told Gracie many times, it will be the best book ever and it will be for just the two of us. It is likely to be our last novel because I can’t make up stories. I can’t imagine things that haven’t happened. It’s like now that Blanche has left us, I can’t write an imaginary story that begins “One day Blanche and Pearl…” I just can’t make up stories. So I write what I know and love, but sometimes I do let my imagination get the best of me when filling in the small details.

Although I jokingly write about how the world is clamoring for another great chicken novel, I know we are a very small exceptionality in a huge world. It’s likely most of our huge world is looking for something other than stories about an old man and his backyard chickens, even phenomenally talented chickens who dance ballet and dream the biggest of dreams. But the world is also filled with grace if only you look for it.

An Introduction

People say to be a good writer you should write about what you know and love. For me, that has to be my chickens, and most particularly my Gracie.

She and my other chickens have taught me more about life and about myself than I will ever have time to write. Still I want to put some of it down and share what I can while I still remember most of it.

No story is complete without pictures, and so I will draw those as well. The style is rather simple with a childlike innocence, but hopefully the message will not be.

My Life With Gracie taught me how life itself is filled with grace if you only look for it.

My Life With Gracie...An Introduction