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July 29, 2012: Going Places far and Near

Yesterday Pete and rode up Jim’s Road Trail. We call it this because the road leading up to the trailhead parallels our neighbor Jim’s property. I was going to do this ride by myself, but then Pete, at the very last minute, decided to come along on Siggi. I was glad to have his company, in part because this is challenging trail. There are boggy sections. We also found a bear track. There were also several very steep uphill and downhill sections. I was really pleased with how Raudi and I did. I stayed put and did not get off her.

As I rode, I thought some about Raudi’s Story, the book that I wrote and Chris Romano is now illustrating. She’d just sent me a cover illustration. This made our collaborative effort seem that much more real. Raudi’s Story was originally part of a

Bear track
Bear track

longer text, which contained both her and my point of view of our first five years together. Both stories were nearly identical, which is why Raudi’s as told to Alys version is now a separate text. Amazingly, it read well on its own. I revised it, and then asked Chris if she’d like to illustrate it. She agreed, and since we’ve been working side-by-side.

Working with Chris has been revelatory. I’ve worked alongside illustrators on shorter projects. But I’ve never before worked alongside an illustrator on a more lengthy project. The latter both takes more time and has more ins and outs. Chris lives in California. We’ve met, so she knows what Pete and I look like. But she’s never met any of the book’s central characters or seen the area in which they reside. Thus, Chris had to ask for clarifications on text-related aspects of Raudi’s Story. This of course led to additional revisions. Raudi’s Story encompasses a five-year time span, so she also had to figure out what Raudi looked at various ages. The same held true for Raudi’s herd mate, Siggi.

Chris and I are continuing to bounce a lot of illustrative ideas back and forth, via email. I’ve been opening her attachments in the evening – each and every one has been a gift. It’s an added plus that Chris has fully captured the essence of Raudi and my relationship. Her efforts certainly allude to the fact that Raudi and I have had our ups and downs together.

One of the book’s main ideas is that Raudi opened doors for me that previously remained closed. I became a horse owner and a more confident rider. And Raudi is continuing to open doors for me. If it were not for her, Chris and I wouldn’t know one another, much less be working together on this incredible project.

And what’s ahead? I will next finish Long Ride Home, which is my take on Raudi’s early years, and as well, on Part I of our trip. The biggest challenge for me is striking a balance between living and writing about the life.

Next: 234. 07/30/12: Hay Fever