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October 16, 2014: The Writing Life: Slog Hog

I remember the first afternoon in which Pete and I went paddling in Wales. We went with Ratty, one of Nigel Dennis’s instructors. We were paddling into the wind, and there was considerable chop. Ratty finally said that we ought to turn back because what we were doing was no fun. Rather, it was just a slog.

He was right – we were moving forward really slowly, and the paddle (even though it was in Wales) was not much fun at all.

Paddling in Southeast Alaska

A comparison can right now easily be made to my writing. I feel like in working on Lessons Learned that I’m paddling into the wind – moving forward, but at a ridiculously slow pace. And I am now, like then, wondering if what I’m doing is worth it.

It seems to me as I’m writing that all I’m doing is recounting events, and at best not even including enough details. Ya de daah. This happened, then this happened, and then this happened. So what? Who cares?

I need to interject some life into this book; otherwise, it’s going to end up as a pile of drafts, like most things I’ve written. More work for my biographer, for sure.

A part of my defeatist attitude stems from the fact that it now appears as though this project is going to take a long, long, long time to finish. After I do the first revision, I’m going to need to revise it again. Doing research and writing sidebars is also going to take considerable time, as is my doing illustrations. I may end up working on this on Christmas day.

So what if Raudi and I did a summer of lessons and in the process learned a few things? Who cares? Most certainly not non-horse people. Those individuals otherwise, would be a large part of my audience. Without them, this book might be read by a given few.

What prompted all the above was my hearing from Ronnie. She’s the woman who Pete and I met in Happy Jack, Nevada. She did the endurance ride there, and also the one we participated in Wyoming. This year, she did several 100 mile endurance rides, including the Tevis Cup, which is sort of like the Kentucky Derby of endurance events. Since, she’s been keeping a blog and Facebook page on her horse Kip’s progress. And I just got a photo of a tee-shirt image she had put on shirts for her 2014 Tevis pit crew.

And here I am, writing about a few jumping lessons I did this spring and summer. It hardly seems like I’ve been doing anything. At least what I’ve been doing is nothing to write home about. So I am, today, feeling a bit despondent.

There are a few things that I need to keep in mind as I keep working on Lessons Learned. The first is that I must continue to believe in this project, otherwise I won’t finish it. And the second is that I’m saying something important here that I hope others will identify with, which is what’s involved in moving forward in establishing a good working relationship with a horse. Could for some, be a metaphor of sorts.

And so it goes – it’s a beautiful day here. Going to get horses and dogs out, for the dog and pony show must go on. Fresh air is always a rejuvenator.

Next: 277. 10/17/14: Mr. T