“Amelia and I are going to be writers,” Emily said.
“Yes, I know. Amelia told me. I have to find a typewriter. Didn’t she tell you?”
“No. Yes. Well, you don’t understand. She wants to write the words. I want to paint the words.”
“That sounds like a very interesting combination for making words. We definitely have to work to make this happen then.”
She seemed relieved and chittered happily as she flew up to her favorite perch so we would be more eye-to-eye. Her confidence and faith in me warmed my heart.
“You know, I’ve been having dreams about you and Amelia and your new typewriter.”
“You have? Really you have? We have been having dreams about a typewriter too because we don’t know what one looks like. We imagine all sorts of things.”
“I’m sure you do, and especially since you have such excellent imaginations.”
Gracie had been listening in to all of this and called up to Emily, “Tell him about your letters you have been painting.”
Emily looked a little embarrassed, though I wasn’t sure why. She draws and paints very well.
“I already know some alphabet letters,” she said. “I remember them from when you were writing out some of Pearl’s jokes into Chicken. Do you remember?”
“Yes, I remember. That was fun. All of you did a nice job of helping me to make an alphabet for writing words in Chicken.”
“Do you remember everyone’s favorite letter?”
“Yes, I do. It is the Ÿ because it looks like a chicken who is eating an earthworm. It’s source is an ancient greeting between two chickens which means ‘I wish you many earthworms.’ But that isn’t a letter on American typewriters.”
“That is why I want to paint the letters and the words.”
“Will you show me the letters you have been painting?”
“I’d rather not. Only because I’m not sure they will be like the ones the typewriter will make.”
“I see. I have a feeling your painted letters will add more meaning to the words that the typewriter makes. So in the meantime, you want me to imagine your painted letters and words, just like I want you to imagine my typewritten letters and words. At least for now.”
“That seems only fair. And I’m sure what you have done is quite wonderful in it’s own way.”
Gracie had still been listening from below. “Ask him how to make the letters into words.”
“Words are like magic pictures,” she said. “So I need to know how to turn letters into words. But there are some secret words I want to know how to spell so that I can paint the letters that make the words.”
“So you already have words you want to make and you won’t tell me what they are because they are secret?”
“Yes. That’s right.”
“And you want me to spell them for you anyway? Without knowing what they are? That seems impossible.”
“I know,” she said, rocking back and forth quite happily. “I have secret words.”
“If I’m not able to make it work out with the typewriter, if that turns out to be impossible too, will you still love me?”
“What kind of question is that?” she asked.
“Well sometimes people are that way. When you can’t give them what they want, they don’t love you any more.”
“People are very confusing.”
“That’s not the way chickens are. If we love someone, we love someone. Forever.”
“That is a nice word. ‘Forever.’ I like that word.”
“It is one of the words I want to paint.” Then she realized she had let one of her secret words slip out.
“I am sure it is. Just like ‘Amelia’ and ‘Friend’ are special to you. Will you tell me a little more about ‘Forever’?”
“Not now. It will be in Amelia’s poem and in my painting.”
“That’s fine. Words really are like magical pictures, and anticipation can be so much fun.”
“Wait! That’s one of your secret words too, isn’t it? Anticipation!”
She flew down from her perch giving me her happiest chittering ever.
Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated! This particular post has gone through several revisions for story and illustration, even after posting. Thanks for reading!