Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Essays We Must Write, Must Let Languish, Must Rewrite

By now, I haven't ridden horses on a regular basis for more than 20 years. But the 20 years before were spent riding every day, competing, and writing about horses. The people in that equestrian life were so important to me, then. Which is why, when one of my "horse friends" disappeared, the departure was deeply unsettling, haunting me for many years, for decades.

I first tried writing about that fracture nearly 10 years ago, then put away the crappy draft for a long time. At various times, I'd rework that draft, bury it, forget about it, start fresh, decide to skip it, pull it out, start all over, drop it again. All that time, there was a certain urgency missing. 

But something about the story clicked for me last fall so I revised and sent it out. One editor's personal rejection note helped me understand a flaw in the piece, so I took another whack at it. Then I asked a trusted writer friend to read it. Her single piece of very intelligent advice (about structure) nudged me toward the final revision.

This week, the lovely site, Full Grown People, published my essay. Here's a little excerpt from "Must Love Horses, Must Love Dogs":

"When I moved back and settled in an apartment near her house, I returned to our old stable and trainer, but Nancy never visited me there, though I spent chunks of days at the barn where she’d moved her horses.
One chilled spring night she and I met a plane at the nearest major airport, where a flight attendant passed us a sealed medical bucket, a tube of high-priced semen from a champion dressage horse inside. We drove an hour back to Nancy’s stable, freezing because we blasted the air conditioning to keep the sperm active, and when we arrived, I held her mare’s tail aside as Nancy inserted the baster-like syringe. Eleven months later, we slept on horse blankets tossed over hay bales, taking turns to check on that mare every twenty minutes, and I was the one who first spotted the steaming foal in the straw.
Perhaps experiences like this seduced me into thinking we might stay bound, for a long time, forever..."
You can read the full story here.  (And if you're so inclined, it would be wonderful if you could leave a comment and/or click on like over at the FGP page! Thanks.)

Image: Flickr/Creative Commons, AnemoneProjectors

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