Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Catching Wild Horses

When I was little I wanted to be a cowgirl, live on a ranch and have horses. In a way my wish came true because writing a novel feels like catching wild horses.

Every afternoon at two or three o'clock, I go into the hills to see what I can find. It takes a couple hours since I not only have to find them but catch them. Maybe only one at a time. Then I have to get them down to the ranch and into the corral. This takes hours, days, weeks, months.

Once all the wild horses are gathered into one place, the training begins. It's hard work, exhausting work. Often I feel very alone, pushed to the limits of my abilities, and wanting to do anything but this. But I keep at it, moving toward a vision only I believe in.

Then one day I notice the horses are no longer resisting me but responding to my hand. They move into place. That's when the magic begins and I can't stop working.

And then it happens. These animals which were once wild and running free have become my friends. They love me and I love them. Our work together which before was a struggle of constant resistance is now a joy. We are as one, creating a magnificent show.

Art has happened.

26 comments:

  1. I write and I ride. Your comparisons Karen are right on. Sometimes I get busy and don't ride. My horse Ennis is friendly enough but a bit standoffish, and it's harder to get her to step over, to respect me. But once I spend time with her regularly again she begins to bend, to give and to respond. My writing was very rusty and "ungiving" when I went back to school but after a semester of very hard work it is beginning to perform well. It all just takes time, lots and lots of time. A few sweet carrots help as well.

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    1. I find the same, Donna. When I avoid the writing due to whatever reason it gets rusty. I'm glad you think my comparisons are right on, as one who knows both riding and writing. I'm not really a horse person, except in my imagination.

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  2. I think I've been trying to catch and tame dragons instead...

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    1. Alex, probably so LOL, since you write sci fi!

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  3. You made me feel what you writers are going through. What I have learned from reading writers' blogs for years now is that once ART has been created, the horses tamed and loving, another, perhaps more difficult phase begins: Bringing them out into the world and sharing them with others.

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    1. Inger, The sharing can be difficult, especially when the others don't appreciate one's finished product and critique it harshly. But that's okay because we all see and appreciate art differently. If everyone had the same tastes, it would be a boring world.

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  4. What a beautiful analogy - you've defined your writing experience beautifully.

    I hope you have a favourite which you saddle and go for long rides on the beach...

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    1. Thanks, Jenny. My favorite is always the latest one, right now being Afraid of Everything. My least favorite is whatever I'm struggling with right now-- these horses are all still quite wild and running away from me.

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  5. This is beautiful! I love how told the art of writing through the taming of the horses. A very good analogy.

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  6. What a great comparison. You will tame the beast and it will become a wonderful and dear friend

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  7. Happy writing, Karen! Enjoy these wonderfully productive days.

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  8. That's a beautiful sentiment Karen. Also, I am captivated by your header picture. I hope it is the view from your back, or front, porch. Well worth all the work of gathering horses, and writing beautiful stories.

    Have a good weekend.

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  9. What a lovely metaphor for the writing experience Karen. I grew up a horsey girl and really appreciated it. Sometimes a novel needs to be tamed, just like a wild stallion.

    Happy New Year!

    Denise :-)

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  10. I wanted to be a cowboy too. Maybe cowgirls never grow old, they just settle down and become writers.

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  11. Great comparison--and very powerful writing!

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  12. What a lovely visual! I will remember this image. Thank you too for your kind words on my blog. I too feel as though I know so many people online as though I knew them in person. My book might not be right for them but they might be willing to recommend it to someone who it is right for. :)

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  13. Great analogy! Writing is much better than catching and taming wild horses, though. It leads to a lot less saddle sores.

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  14. You describe the process so well, Karen.
    I'm going through those stages...
    Thanks for sharing these poetic insights.

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  15. What a great metaphor! I know just what you mean. Some days I feel I'm getting nowhere, and I have to talk myself into going on. After months and months of work, it all finally comes together, and I'm so proud! Have a lovely weekend! :)

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  16. That's a wonderful story, Karen, and a powerful analogy. I actually got chills at the end.

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  17. I could see you there, corralling your horses. Lovely!

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  18. very evocative post Karen. Created a good visual image in my brain and I can sooo relate to it. Good luck with the book!

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  19. I have no experience with horses. What I do have is an imagination, so this worked for me.
    Ride 'em cowgirl!

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  20. Fantastic analogy, Karen! Spot on. And some horses are harder to corral than others, but it's so worth it when they become your friends. :)

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