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October 8, 2014: The Writing Life: Moving Forward

How odd it now seems to be writing a dispatch about the subject of moving forward, knowing that my writing it is an indication that I am moving forward. I’m now working on Lessons Learned: Moving Forward. The initial draft took the form of dispatches written between May and September of this year. I printed up the copies. The 100 or so pages are on my desk, to the left of me.

I’d hoped that I’d be able to do minimal revision on this project and just add or subtract a detail or two in the original version. This was not to be. Today I reread in near entirety what I’d previously written, and in the process I quickly foresaw that I’d need to do a lot of heavy duty revision. It was akin to a janitor’s walking into an elementary school prior to a holiday and realizing that he had more than a full evening’s work ahead of him. This, of course, gave me reason to pause, for I rightly foresaw that this was going to take more time and effort than I first thought.

Young tomato plants

Was, I wondered, this going to be worth the expenditure of time and energy? I can’t say that I yet have the answer to this question. I will shortly. This is because I don’t know what this book will be like in its final form. I do know who the audiences for this book are going to be, and that alone right now is impetus to keep chipping away at the old block. The first is trail riders who eschew doing arena work. The second is returning riders, which are those who resume horseback riding after a lengthy hiatus. And the third audience is those who like to read memoirs about self-growth.

I’m writing about Raudi and our moving forward, more specifically what is was we learned together this past summer, during the course of our taking twice-weekly jumping lessons. At the same time, I’m writing about some of the things that I learned while in the process of doing arena work, patience, humility, and confidence included.

This isn’t going to be as easy a project as I first thought because I’m going to have to elaborate upon details – bits and pieces that I wrote about in the individual dispatches. And I’m going to have to write about what I learned, and somehow incorporate this into the body of my work. Honestly, right now I don’t know if I can do this.

I guess that I’m going to have to forge on ahead and not set my sights so high that I can’t reach them. Sights high would be a best seller. Sights a bit lower, and attainable, would be selling 1,000 copies. I’d be okay with this.

Tonight, as I was making tomato sauce (with our very own tomatoes), I listened to the Ted Radio Hour. The topic was creativity. One person said that the best way of spending a life was to spend it focusing on a specific interest. This made sense to me. We really don’t get much time here, just enough to accomplish a few significant things. This is what I’m doing. I am pursuing two interests. I’m writing, and also writing about a subject I feel passionate about, Icelandic horses. I am also interested in monitoring my self-growth and passing my insights on to others, so that they might in seeing commonalities, also come to important self-realizations.

Right at this moment, the one thing that I have in my favor is that I have few distractions. The 2014 Squalor Holler garden is now history. The fruits of our labor are now behind us, and also sitting in our kitchen cupboards and root cellar. The garden beds have been turned and compost has been worked into the soil. Our manure management program is working out well. Our house sitter is taking what we have on hand in our compost facility, and in a few days a neighbor is going to take the final load of manure. I say final, because I’m soon to again start filling the facility.

All this means that I’ll soon (again) be able to write in a sustained fashion. It would be nice to have Lessons Learned finished by December 31, 2014. A lofty but reachable goal. At best, a good goal to strive for.

Next: 269. 10/9/14: OldER Animals