"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The answer was there all along

I'm really over at Crime Fiction Collective today, but I've had a recent convergence of thoughts that culminated in one big idea, and you know me, I'm a sharer.

When last we met, I was at a loss, wondering what it takes to own your position as an author (without activating everyone else's gag muscle). As I moped around, trying to think of a topic for the CFC, I decided to talk about my muse.

Me and my Frostie at a show in Santa Barbara

Frostie is fifteen now. I've had her since she was three. She has taught me much, but she has revealed more. One trait that I consider my best AND worst (and have given to Peri) is my stubbornness. I never knew how stubborn I was until I bought Frostie and she revealed my flaw/superpower. 

Riding did not come naturally to me, so I had to fight hard to develop my balance. This involved many lessons with my trainer holding the long line while Frostie loped around, with me in the saddle, no stirrups and no reins. I had to learn to relax at the small of my back and let my hips follow my horse, instead of fighting her.

While I learned, I found myself sliding right and left, and flopping forward and back - and frightened to tears the entire time. I kept telling myself that I was a grown woman who was PAYING for the lesson and had the absolute right to stop and get off my horse. But I didn't.

I was too stubborn to quit.

Frostie also taught me confidence. She is a skittish horse, given to spooking at plastic bags, trash cans that have been moved, and ghosts. Apart from the obvious problem when I was in the saddle (see stubbornness, above), it was hard to lead her anywhere without having her startle and jump, usually on me. Learning to keep her attention and calm her down gave me a new level of self-assurance.

It also saved my feet.

The day after I wrote the CFC post about her, I was sitting at the ranch, waiting for a student. I had already gone to Snoopy's stall and petted him, and kissed his nose, and told him about his book. Then I visited Frostie and talked to her about her modeling gig and how pretty the pictures turned out. There was also scratching and smooching. Now I sat and looked out at the arena, to Frostie who was in her stall, looking back at me.

And it dawned on me what a lucky, lucky person I am to have these horses. Me, who loved horses from before the womb, who was denied them until she had decided that dream might not survive, and who was able to dream again thanks to a caring husband. I started crying a little, then, because I felt such intense happiness and blessings.

So now I'm at a loss AND I'm a mess.

But I thought about what Frostie had taught me. Confidence and a stubborn streak. Why am I stressing about being recognized as what I am? I'm an author. If you don't believe me, I won't give up until I change your mind.

And when all else fails, I try to channel this woman:

After all, "Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."

1 comment:

Tameri Etherton said...

You are an awesome, brilliant, multi-talented lady! Thank goodness Frostie had that inner chat with you. Isn't it amazing what animals can teach us if we'd just listen for a moment?

Yep, you're an author, and you're so much more. Don't stress about the titles others want to give us, just keep being the amazing person that you are. And keep writing damn fine books.

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