Monday, May 16, 2011

Back on the horse - a cowgirl's approach to her writing discipline

I'm somewhat back on my writing horse. Immediately I realize that the metaphor won't work. Because, one cannot be somewhat on a horse, of course. One must be fully on it, or at least, if you are a trick rider, in control of both the horse and your own body. So, let's just say, that I am in the paddock with the horse.
I have used the hackamore because I want to go gentle and am ready to saddle up but she' a bit skittish. She hasn't been ridden regularly for a bit and she's not so sure she wants to be. Maybe she'd rather just run free or perhaps even longs to be a wild horse - she's heard about them and even though she shivers with joy when I take the curry comb to her winter roughened coat, she might like just to let the whole thing go wild and unkempt.

I approach her quietly, keeping up a small patter of soothing words.
"That's all right, girl. We'll just keep her nice and easy. Not a long trail ride, not a huge revision, or a scary query process - let's just go and visit that unfinished trail. The one we're exploring together. What do you say? We'll take lots of breaks to enjoy what we've found so far and just go out a bit beyond where we last went - see what's over that hill."

It isn't only the horse who hasn't ridden. I worry that I don't have the stamina and maybe my technique leaves something to be desired too. Perhaps I'm not using the best equipment - maybe I shouldn't be going so gentle with a hackamore but putting a good old bridal with a bit. But I know that isn't true - it is my hands that will make the experience easy or harsh, kind or cruel, and I know that if I'm really in control of the material, of the horse, I can be very subtle with my gestures and the ride will be good, controlled but pleasurable too.


Dad and I go for a ride in the bluffs of Colorado Springs...


And so I will begin.

What about your writing practice? Is it a tamed beast or something wild? Or something other altogether?

16 comments:

Julie said...

I'm glad you're back! Love this analogy between writing and riding. I think at the moment my practice would be a beast so tame that the poor thing never gets out of the stable. I can't seem to stop procrastinating. But, it's a new week, so I'm hoping to finally get going.

Clarissa Draper said...

First of all, thanks for stopping by and leaving the joke. It's was hilarious!

For me, I try to tame the beast but it's hard and when I get to the editing stage I realise how horrible I was at training it.

Hart Johnson said...

Very glad you're at least in there with your horse again. You and I seem to be cycling together. I have managed to get going again, too--also tentatively, but at least daily...

Jan Morrison said...

Hi Julie! Yep, I'm back. And I'll try and get around to visit...when I'm on my breaks like right now!

Clarissa - glad you liked it - it was in an Annie Proulx book -think it was 'That Old Ace in the Hole'. I love it!

Tartlette - yessiree - must keep riding, or cycling, or walking...

Karen Walker said...

Glad you're back, Jan. My writing practice? It's pretty non-existent right now, but I am going to rectify that this week. There, I said it!
Karen

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Glad you're back to writing - me too! It's a little bit wild but a horse I should've ridden years ago.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - Interesting metaphor for writing! One thing that occurred to me as I read your post is the deep understanding and bond that there is between horse and rider - and between writer and creation. If we don't pay close attention to our writing, listen to its signals and play to its strengths, we will get thrown off.

It's good to hear you're saddling up again :-).

niamh said...

Nice metaphor Jan, enjoyed the post.

At the moment - my writing practice is an Unidentified Flying Object...
either very faraway or a complete figment of my imagination...at the moment...:)

Talli Roland said...

I think mine is a tamed beast. Of course, now that I say that... :)

NiaRaie said...

Something wild although, daily, I try to find a way to tame it. (Unsuccessfully)

missing moments said...

Nicely done ... love the metaphor ...

My writing practice could use some taming ... with a little bit firmer hold on the reins!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Pleased you're back, it's wonders what a few days away can do.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Writing a second book was unchartered territory. Attempting a third seems beyond me at the moment.

Jan Morrison said...

OK Karen - I'll be checking on you!

Yay Diane - I know you mentioned giving in to it (writing) a bit before and I'm glad to see you are committed to your gift.

Margot - nice! And I agree - it is a sacred connection in both instances.

Niamh - you just need to get behind the controls and let others NOT KNOW what you're flying!

Talli - oh dear, you think?!

Nia - keep on keeping on!

Reena - apparently we aren't alone with this...

Yvonne - oh yes, refresh relax, restore...

Alex - oh come on! it keeps your mind off your bills....

Carol Kilgore said...

Right now we're training on the track every day and racing for the finish.

queenofenglish said...

I've been on a horse once in my life when I was 12 -- a long time ago. I have been a writer, though, for about 3 years now. Am I consistent? No way! Am I committed? As much as I can be and still be inconsistent.

Your analogy taught me something about horses and about writing.
The lines on writing -- I could have written them! about horses -- not in this lifetime!

MM the Queen of English