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November 25, 2014: The Writing Life, Etc

I continue to work away, in a rather determined fashion, on Lessons Twice Learned. I have ceased to practice writing avoidance and look for other things to do. I tend to do this in the early stages of any and all writing projects. Rather, I’m now doing the opposite. I’m even delaying getting outside with the ponies, which is not a good thing, for once I get outside, I have limited daylight at my disposal.

I’m now thirty or so pages into my third overall revision, and working on the chapter about my friendship with Vickie. This is difficult, and for two reasons. The first reason is that there are numerous

informational gaps. I need to interview here. And the second reason is that she’s the immediate audience for this chapter.

I’m working very hard at maintaining narrative continuity – ideas in the chapter I’m currently working on are related to ideas in the chapters that come before and after it. I’m also going to have “connector” sentences in the narratives. These are going to serve as jumping off points for the how-to sections. The how-to sections are actually what (in my head) I’m calling “further research” sections.

I’m currently reading Allan J. Hamilton’s Zen Mind Zen Horse. This is a book with extremely tangential narrative continuity. The text has numerous photos, illustrations, and graphics, all of which better enable the reader to make the connections between unrelated ideas.

I don’t like this book for this reason. I’m also dismayed because this more busted up form tends to hide the fact that the content is extremely simplistic. I just don’t understand why Hamilton feels compelled to provide information on the type of halters or grooming tools one should use in working with their horse. What a waste of space. At the same time, he attempts to make the connection between Zen and Natural Horsemanship. These are, and will in my mind always be, two diametrically opposed entities. For instance, he tells us how he deals with horses that bite. After the fact, he hits them. This doesn’t sound Zen-like to me at all. It seems that someone who’s attuned to horses would know to step out of their space when the animal is considering taking a chunk out of them. Flattened ears and hard eyes are dead giveaways.

I also fail to see how the round pen is a sacred space. Rather, it’s a place where a predator (usually males) plays with the minds of prey (usually horses). It’s definitely a cat and mouse sort of setup. Storey Press put a lot of money into this book, in hope that it would do well on the mass market. They even got top natural horsemanship people (Monty Roberts and Robert Miller) to endorse it. All this and more makes my stomach hurt to think about it.

I’m going to find a mass market book publisher for Lessons Twice Learned. I’m thinking about sending a proposal, or maybe a copy of my book in its entirety, to Sky Horse Press.

I also need to again send my other two proposals out – that is the Writing Sustainably and Long Distance Horse Trekking proposals. I’d really like to give up on all this and maybe find a job that pays. To hell with writing. I just can’t seem to do this, and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe I’ll know more after I die. Then again, maybe I won’t.

Next: 315. 11/26/14: What We Talk about When We Talk about Being Gratefu