Local author Faye Lippitt launched her first book “Sixteen Chickens On A Trampoline” at Books & Books last week.
The collection of short stories charts her highs and lows of parenting six children, including two sets of twins, all just eight years apart. Now with three grandchildren, and two more on the way, Lippitt’s book offers a glimpse into the happy chaos that comes with raising little ones, and the funny things they say and do.
The book chronicles a journey of some 20 years, from when Lippitt’s eldest son Alex was a toddler to when her youngest, Elly, was 14, on the family’s land in the foothills of Alberta, Canada. It’s a journey that surely any parent can relate to. Cayman Weekender caught up with the busy author to find out more.
What inspired you to write the book?
Writing became my life raft when a sea of little faces swarmed, churning up chaos. And as I mention in the book, it is curious how chaos, which is really a lot of unfocused energy flying around, can inspire and move the creative spirit.
How long did it take to write, and how did you even find the time to write the book with six children?
The book was about 20 years in the making. It is a compilation of short stories that I was fortunate enough to publish in a monthly magazine in Canada. As to how I found the time – well, if you love to write, you will find time to write. As with everything else, it is all a matter of priorities. And in a way, it was how I tried to show the children how important they were, and are to me. They were quite pleased to know their mum took the time to record their antics, and to have the results published.
What’s the story behind the title of the book?
One of the stories in the book involves our gang of kids, some neighbor kids, our flock of chickens and a trampoline. You can imagine the rest.
Have you always wanted a big family?
My husband and I are from a family of four. I guess it wasn’t too creative to think we too might have four. Well, we had four pregnancies.
Can you give me a brief synopsis of one of your favorite stories?
The final story in the book is when there were six teens under our roof. One day Eddie and his twin brother Stanley (their middle names used to protect the innocent) and some like-minded friends found themselves contemplating the use of eyebrows. Since they could find nothing of value in them, Eddie decided to shave his off. His siblings were delighted. Each morning they would check in to see how he was feeling and with a felt marker, draw in the appropriate look. The surprised look was two brows that shot up like exclamation marks; annoyed was a menacing two down. Horizontal became the determined look meant for math exams and, finally, there was the “combo,” one up and one down that made him look like he was thinking ‘oh, really?’ all day long.
Who will the book appeal to?
The book is meant for busy parents and grandparents. I know from experience that they often don’t have time to read a book. Mine is meant for a five-minute read, which is about how long it takes to get through a chapter. More importantly, it is meant to inspire them to write their own chapters – or even one liners about the funny events in the household, for time flies and memories fade and the things our children do and say are crazy enough and precious enough to keep forever. There are blank pages at the back of the book meant to get them started on their own books.
What brought you to Cayman?
I moved to Cayman with my husband in 2011. After 30 years working, he sold his busy chiropractic practice in Calgary, Alberta, and wanted something different. He’d always dreamed of the Caribbean, where there was no snow, so we came here and he opened a new practice at West Shore Plaza. He’s happy, so am I.
What message do you have for other mums?
Discover the magic of choice. When it comes to the shenanigans that children get up to, you can laugh, or you can yell or cry. Laughter feels so much better than tears – for everyone.
How can people get a copy?
The book costs $12.95 and is available at Books & Books, Foster’s Food Fair and various other outlets. It is also available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon. All profits from the sale of books will go to improve literacy on our island. This will be done through Rotary Sunrise.
For more details and to view sample chapters, visit 16chickens.com.