Awkward Apologies

With “A Most Wondrous Place” finally published, I have been eager to draw and write new material. I have wanted to expand the stories to include more about Lefty. I think he can add balance to an “all-hen” group of characters and help these stories appeal to more readers. Today’s post also hints at more mysteries that are part of the secret lives of chickens. I think I may be on the right track here, but let me know what you think, okay?

Lefty was learning to crow. His first attempts were weak and even embarrassing, but he was persistent. He practiced until he got it right. My neighbors did not appreciate his desire for perfection.

My heart had hoped that somehow he might learn to be quiet. He had been My Best Little Buddy from the moment he started watching everything I did. He had studied all the construction of their new home just as if he was going to do everything he saw me doing. Likewise, he had been my best gardening companion while we prepared the spring beds. Whatever I was interested in, he was interested in too.

But he had to be what he was hatched to be, and that was not a calm and quiet bird who followed me around everywhere.

“There is more to a rooster’s life than you realize,” he told me. “Do you know why roosters crow, even young roosters?”

“Is it to show everyone that you are the boss?”

He laughed. “That is what I thought at first when I was learning. But it is more than being loud and bossy. It is to tell all the other birds what is happening. We take in all that we see and hear and then send news, warnings, and sometimes even commands.”

“And what do they do with what you tell them?”

“They pass those messages on to others, and then those pass it on to others.”

“But they don’t speak Chicken.”

“There is a voice, a language, in all bird tongues. It is under the layers of species and kind. It is The Ancient Language. It was the language born when the first birds leapt into the air and flew. They called out in amazement to all the world about what they could do.

“It is the common language we birds hear all around us. It is a language that encircles the world at the speed of flight and the speed of sound.

“Then above The Ancient Language is Old Chicken, the language of the first chickens. It is only for chickens. No other bird can understand it.

“Above that is Chicken, the language we speak with other chickens and the people who love us. We build language upon language and then language upon language again and again.

“To your ear, when a bird speaks or calls or sings, it may sound like a single language, a single sound, but it is not. This is why someone must listen with their heart to understand what we are truly saying.”

I had never read anything like this in an encyclopedia. But I believed every bit of it.

“Lefty, you are not a little chick any longer, are you? These are not things a little chick would say. You really are a rooster now.”

He nodded proudly.

“You’ve grown up, and I hardly noticed until now. I think I wanted you to stay My Little Best Buddy forever. But that’s not possible, is it?”

He shook his head sadly. He sensed an even bigger change was coming for him. The other birds, the ones who flew from place to place carrying messages, had told him change was coming.

It was in their calls of news from the outside world. He had heard what they said about roosters out in the country and around the world. Some of it was good. Some of it was not so good.

There would be hundreds and even thousands of hen voices for every rooster voice. Roosters did not matter as much to people as hens.

By then, it was late evening, and we watched the crows moving from treetop to treetop. They were sharing secrets I would never know. But Lefty knew. He was already learning of life out in the country from the messages they brought to him.

“I am sorry I could not be the kind of chicken you wanted me to be,” he said.

“Don’t apologize, Lefty. I was wrong and selfish to want you to be something you could never be. I wanted you to be My Best Little Buddy who followed me everywhere. I wanted us to do things together. Just the two of us. Forever.”

“We did have some good times together, didn’t we?”

“Yes, we sure did. But you grew up, and I stayed the same. I should never have tried to silence you or hold you back. Love always has hope, but love is not love when it will not let another be who they are meant to be.

“I don’t know what else to say except I hope you will forgive me, Lefty.”

“It is rare for a person to ask forgiveness of any animal, particularly of a chicken. Our lives depend on you.”

“But that doesn’t mean we can treat you any way we want. Even when we are treating you well, if it is not what is best for you, then it is wrong. It is something I worry about, Lefty.”

“Perhaps you have not stayed the same as much as you think,” he said.

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

By the way, I purchased the Apple eBook to make sure it looks good, and I’m very pleased! It is in “fixed” format rather than “flowing” format. Pages turn just like with a print book. Resolution and color on the illustrations is just as good as when they were drawn on my iPad.

GraciePress.com And A Free “Thank You” Gift For Our Readers

 

If you watched the book trailer for “A Most Wondrous Place,” you may have noticed “GraciePress.com” was on the last slide. (But maybe not!) This is a new separate website and independent of WordPress.

Why do this? The biggest reason for me has been to have a website with stories and illustrations that children (and adults) can read with no social elements, no external links, and no advertisements. (It’s about internet safety for me. You can’t even contact me through the website, but I may add a street mailing address because my chickens would love to receive some “fan mail” to post in their coop.) Links to Dropbox free items will be there. Links to purchase our books will be there too, but that is not what the site is mostly about. (See first two items below which focus on just reading for free.)

Why not some other name? Something like “JohnSpiers.com”? Well, that’s an easy one. People aren’t always sure how to pronounce my last name. (It sounds exactly like the last part of the word “inspires” which is what I hope my books will do.) There’s also a much more famous person who is musician with the same name, and he is the one who comes up on searches before anything about me.

What’s there? That was tough to decide. I didn’t want it to be too much…or to little. And I didn’t want it to be a duplicate of a blog-type website like “MyLifeWithGracie.com.”

  • Newest Reads” has a selection of chapters from the most recent published or soon-to-be-published book. This gives readers a chance to preview the book.
  • Coming Soon!” has a selection of stories from future projects that may be turned into books. My next projects are likely to be expanded chapter books for independent readers in the upper elementary grades. Those will have many more pages along with black and white illustrations.
  • Our Books” gives more information about books which have been published and are available to be purchased. Right now, there is only one, “A Most Wondrous Place.”
  • Author’s Page” give more information about me. (It’s not really all that important, and so it’s last on the page!)

Why not check it out? And while you are checking it out, why not look for and select this picture and you will find a free coloring book to print out! Selecting the picture will open a link to Dropbox, but you don’t need a Dropbox account. You can print some or all of the pages, and with Easter just around the corner, what could be more fun than pages and pages of baby chicks for coloring, cutting out, and creating?!? (4 season illustrations and 12 month illustrations, black line versions from artwork found in “A Most Wondrous Place”)

https://GraciePress.com

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

If you have any feedback or suggestions for improving GraciePress.com, please let me know. I don’t want it to be difficult to navigate or to be too complicated. It should mostly be about reading stories and looking at illustrations, and that should be easy for anyone to do. Thanks!

A “Read-Beside-Me” Book Video

If all goes well, this book will be available in early April. It is the first to be published under the Gracie Press imprint. I hope this video captures the sweet and hopeful feelings I would like readers to take away from this story.

The only illustration in the video but not in the book is the first one from The Feed And Seed Store. I do like it though because it shows the vulnerability that we all may feel from time to time when things don’t make sense and we are unsure about life and the future.

This is what I call a “read-beside-me book.” That’s because it is best shared side-by-side in a big comfortable chair. The story contains words children may need to hear aloud from the important adults in their lives.

One of my favorites is “You are more important to me than anything.” I imagine the reader pausing at that point and saying, “I feel the same way about you.” With all that is going on in the world and with all of the distractions of daily life, it is something children need to hear from the important people in their lives. Another is “You are so much more than good enough.”

Maybe, if nothing else, this book can help us speak from our hearts to children (and chickens) so that they will know, “This world is truly A Most Wondrous Place for me because you and I share it together with Love.”

 

If this does not play inside your WordPress reader, just open this post in your internet browser. (I think it looks better there anyway!) Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!