A lot about chickens and a little about writing

It’s hard to break a silence, so I’ll dive in without further preamble.

IMG_20170323_112135558I’ve been quiet but busy. Chicks arrived over spring break, bringing with them tiny peeps and fluff and heartaches. The day before they came in the mail, our two remaining hens were dispatched by (probably) a skunk. Five chicks were dead on arrival. Two were weak and died the next day. Then, on the coldest night of the month, the heat lamp went out some time in the wee small hours and another chick perished of the cold. My eight-year-old and I held the survivors by the woodstove, coaxing life back into them. The following evening, my husband went to close up the rooster, Pontoon, only to find that his head was nowhere in the vicinity of his body. We’re still angry about that one, especially after spending a week nursing him back to health following a possum attack in which Pontoon had his comb completely ripped off. Then another two chicks died. Of the sixteen I ordered, we’re down to six. After spending several days in close proximity to death, I was feeling bludgeoned. Sometimes Nature is Queen of the Mean Girls.

All of this chicken drama derailed any attempt at writing, and I’m only now getting back to it. I’m making baby steps forward on my manuscript project. With help from a handful of writer-friends, I’ve had an epiphany about my current novel–one of those realizations that rocks my socks and also means a ton of work. Basically, after years of percolating, drafting, and revision, I’ve finally articulated to myself exactly what this story is about–exactly why it matters. Which, of course, means stopping the massive rewrite I’m halfway through and lying down where all the ladders start to begin again, this time with a crystal-clear vision.

I’ve never been able to do anything the easy way.

There are glimmers of goodness in the midst of all the blood and feathers. The mighty chick survivors (all of whom are going to be named after warrior-women) are thriving and would prefer to eat from human hands rather than a feeder. They’re soft and sassy and hop right into my palm, cocking their little dinosaur-heads at me without fear. It’s letter-writing month, and I’m making time to write a daily letter, which feels deeply sane and grounding and important. And even though it took me years to get to this point, I now know where I’m really going with this novel.


Oh, and new toys arrived yesterday. I’m going to end up writing on vellum with quills if this keeps up.

IMG_20170406_075442719What’s glimmering in your world?