Readings and Chickens!

 This gray block will not go away. And so, I will use it to say welcome back!


IMG_0317The Key West Pre-Launch was a grand success. My aunt’s friends were relieved that the book was actually interesting and worth their time, and I, that my ignorance of what was before me allowed me to brave the task of reading in front of their ilk.  All of them took a copy of Bittersweet Manor, that evening’s party favor, with clear intentions to read it. How high an accolade is that?

Other high points? One person compared a scene I read to one in The Age of Innocence. Given my love of Edith Wharton, that was praise indeed.

Another, who had read the book the previous week, suggested that the gingersnaps being served were rather like Proust’s madeleines.

Everyone loved the cover. I know: one shouldn’t judge the book by that but have I described why the cover is significant?

Image 17


The young woman on the front is my FC1R (first cousin once removed). The photograph was taken by Carl’s and my Griece (great-niece). And the harbor in the background is that of Stonington, Connecticut, where I grew up. It is the fictional town in Bittersweet Manor, Poquatuck, Connecticut. Thus, the cover is to be loved, if only for its significance.

Thus, I send greetings and more thanks to my aunt who is still in sunny, warm Florida with her wonderful friends. We are back to snow.


Image 2Yes, from pre-launch to official launch, I am back at Darwin’s View, listening to my whining cat (Nick), snoring cat (Nora), and blustering rooster, Big Red, who is crowing his protests against the just fallen snow and temperature (65 yesterday; 30 this morning); his comb is falling off due to frostbite and this weather adds insult to injury.

As for the human thoughts of the day, I am anticipating the Providence launch of Bittersweet Manor at Books on the Square on May 9th, and-for those who have been with me this past year, reading the blog that is no longer up because it will soon be the book Darwin’s View: One Breath After Midnight, you know what’s coming-stressing about chickens. Again.


It was a warning, and I should have taken it as such. But when one goes on vacation and finds oneself still surrounded by roaming chickens, the natural inclination is to photograph them, isn’t it? To watch them cross the street and recross it. Crow and cheep. I, anyway, didn’t think to anticipate yet more kerfuffle at home. I had the pre-book launch reading to prepare for, and the official book launch to plan. We arrived back at Darwin’s View and I was fired up and ready to go, if entirely exhausted by the traveling from Key West to New York City to Providence to here.







What a relief to arrive at Darwin’s View to find the Coop’s Events of the Day calendar empty.


Except for the obvious day’s tasks.





Image 4Granted, as noted above, Big Red’s comb is a mess. The tail end of it is falling off. The peaks, perhaps, too.

And Panda’s beak still has something going on. But the pecking order has normalized. I had thought I could stop worrying about the chickens and focus on the cats’ hairballs and my writing.

Silly me. The phone rang. I answered. Velvet, the sister of Chickadee and Daffodil, needs a new home.

Of course, I could be firm. I could say no! We cannot take this chicken who has lived in a room off a warm kitchen all her life. Balmy sixty degree nights. An occasional walk on paved city streets. More often, a venture into the house for a visit with her cat and human friends. Velvet is named for her life style: soft though lonely.

And there is the rub. She is lonely. And her friendship with the cat has, apparently, deteriorated. And so I have already taken on the problem psychologically. I am worrying about Velvet.

To begin, how would she cope with the weather here? P1040379The view is all well and good but wind is howling this morning. The coop is not balmy. And it houses eight chickens who have had a highly stressful winter, what with the endless snow and cold, and the Boys’ adolescence and demise. Do I dare initiate another pecking order dispute by adopting yet another large city fowl? Beatrice and Cheeks would never forgive me. Panda will, undoubtably go broody in disgust, and this time I’ll have to disappointment her natural instincts . . . or order up more chicks . . ..

But no! We already have too many of these Pteradactyl types racing about.

Would Daffodil and Chickadee recognize Velvet? Maybe they have been missing her? They were, after all, chicks together.

I have to think not. Because the next thought would be that Beatrice still misses her brothers.

Would Velvet be prideful? A little princess arriving on her tuffet, all kindness and sweet, only to be knocked off her high seat by the hens, and mounted by Big Red and the whole idea of the background noise of a new chicken introduction is more than my current brain space can handle. I need either to buy more gigabytes or delete a.k.a. refuse another chicken, because it is well past the time for me to get back to my next book.

Of which, it is time to post this post and get back to my war against global climate change, which–given my carbon footprint of the last two weeks–is not going well. Not at all.

Until next Wednesday!

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