In the general scheme of things, one might wonder why a writer would build a world populated with mice and write about it. I don’t usually discuss my personal life or problems with many. But this time I’m going to tell you the truth behind The Mice of Barnville stories, and what they gave me back.
For years now we’ve struggled. Every time we thought things were looking up, the floor, so to speak, would drop out from under us once again. It became difficult not to look behind my shoulder, and I stopped laughing. Oh, I’d smile, but it was hard to find the joy when things got rough, and things were very bumpy for a very long time. This is a part of life. However, when it gets to be the biggest part of one’s life, it becomes difficult.
Well, now on to the Mice of Barnville. For about a year, the mice that lived under the tack room began tunneling under the mats and into the stalls to get the grain the horses left. You see, the tack room has a wood floor, and the horses’ stalls are dirt with rubber mats over them. So the mice would leave four inch deep by four inch wide holes under the mats.
For want of anything else available, I used the horse manure to fill in the holes, so there’d be no chance of a horse breaking a leg. And I’d grumble until one day I laughed. What were the mice doing with all the manure, and yes, peppermint balls, I had included in my attempt to dissuade them from tunneling? And it felt as if I was channeling these mice as they attempted to figure out how to get the grain, avoid the peppermint balls, and build their community. Uncle Horace, Uncle Redd, Joshua, Chester, Festus, and all the other mice were born.
And I re-found my ability to laugh, to find joy in even those things that cause hardship. I found myself again. They gave me back my rainbow, the one that is inside all of us, and sometimes we lose it. Now, when I go into the barn and move mats to fill in the holes they have tunneled, I say to them, “hey Mice of Barnville, you aren’t living up to your end of the compromise,” and I laugh.
With so much stress and struggle in the world, I hope that these short stories will bring a laugh back into your world, too. A way for you to find humor in all things.
You can find all four Episodes of The Mice of Barnville on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback. The first three are out in audio, and the fourth will be soon.