A Good Normal Writer

“You have been just like Bessie gets sometimes,” said Gracie.

Everyone had just finished their evening treats that had been spread around their run area.

“What do you mean?” I asked. Earlier I had shared with them how I had removed the link for people to sign up as email subscribers with Mailchimp. It just wasn’t working right. Every author is supposed to have an email subscriber list, or it’s what everyone recommends anyway.

“Did you see how Bessie was acting just now?” she asked. “She was here, there, and everywhere, trying to get a taste of everything but without really getting a taste of anything.”

She was right, of course, but gave me a few moments to think this over before summarizing for me.

“You are everywhere and nowhere, all at the same time.”

I was suddenly more appreciative than ever to have a friend like Gracie who knows me so well.

“I really should have gotten your advice about it sooner.”

”Maybe there is something you overlooked. After all, Pearl was worried about being a good normal chicken, but she learned to put that behind her. Maybe you should not be so worried about being a good normal writer. Maybe there is no such thing as a good normal writer.”

I laughed. And then I laughed some more. And then Gracie started laughing too. We both knew just as there is no such thing as a good normal chicken, there’s no such thing as a good normal writer.

You know, you really can learn a lot from a chicken!

Maybe there is no such thing as a good normal writer. – Gracie

Another thing I had overlooked is our “My Life With Gracie” Facebook page. We have a good number of subscribers there who aren’t a part of the WordPress community. Because WordPress is set up to automatically post to the Facebook page, it’s really been sort of “out of sight, out of mind.”

But our “My Life With Gracie” Facebook page really can do almost everything an email subscriber list can do. Keep in touch with our fans, even those who have left WordPress for one reason or another. Provide information about special offers, discounts, and free items that we want to give. Even spread a little “chicken wisdom”!

So Gracie and I put our heads together and decided to set up a special “Thank You” free online preview of the first half of “The Bottle Cap Lady.” You can get to it through our “My Life With Gracie” Facebook page. You do not need a Facebook account to view this page!

We are going to try to be more conscientious and always have something special pinned to the top of our “My Life With Gracie” Facebook page just for all of our fans!

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

My Life With Gracie…Sunday Surprises!

This morning, I was putting on my chicken shoes as I do each morning. (If you have chickens, you know about chicken shoes, shoes specifically for mucking about with the chickens.) While tying one of my shoes, I looked up and saw this beautiful welcome to a new day. The Rose Of Sharon behind the chicken coop had begun to bloom, and the petals were just catching the morning sunlight coming over the roof.

This one is a Double White Althea, just in case you wanted to find one for yourself. I bought two of these several years before I had any chickens, and I used them to anchor the far end of my garden raised beds. Now they anchor our big chicken coop and run and provide afternoon shade for their afternoon free-range area. We will be enjoying these blossoms throughout the summer months, and the beautiful bronze-toned seed pods in the autumn months.

We are all hoping that your day will be filled with a few equally beautiful surprises!

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