I’m writing this when it’s past my bed time and my brain is filled with all kinds of nostalgia and creative angst. Reason? I am writing again. Not blog writing (although that will continue), but writing writing. Prose writing. Fiction writing. Novel writing.
And it’s terrifying.
To distract myself from the task at hand, I started reading my creative writing pieces from my first college class, ENG 287 – Intro to Creative Writing. To summarize, back then I was pretty damn full of myself (still am), pretty damn proud of smoking and being broody (smoking is bad, mmmm’kay?) and extremely snobby. Fun trip down memory lane!
I did find this piece, which I decided was blog worthy. It’s the beginnings of a short story where the stereotypical horse obsessed buys “her perfect horse” which really turns out to be an evil bitchy mare. Of course our main character only sees the best in her chestnut beauty, and takes her to a horse show where bad things happen. I guess I didn’t like it much, because I stopped writing before the bad things started happening!
Still, the intro made me chuckle a little and I figured I would share it with y’all.
Young people living in modern day society face an onsloght of problems that generations prior did not have to deal with, including a culture compelled to hold up unrealistic standards of beauty and continuining abuse of both recreational drugs and alcohol. While these issues are undoubtedly responsible for contributing to the decline of western civilization, there is another force that lurks in the background. It is one that cripples vast percentages of American women between the ages of three and thirty, and though this issue has been around for even longer than some issues, its damaging effects on America’s youth have never been examined. Equus Callabus, the subspecies of the genus equus and commonly referred to as horse, pony, hay burner, shit head, or ‘Daddy I want one!’, has been stealing the hearts of girls since the year 2000 BC when man first decided that he would be better off desperately clinging to the back of the wild beast than he would be hunting it down for dinner (Although the French eventually decided that horses just weren’t worth all the effort, and were better suited to trick the Americans as another ‘gourmet’ dish).
Equus Callabus is well equipped in its task of bringing down the fall of mankind. In winter, the normally thin skinned horse grows a coat to rival that of a sasquatch, with hair that is weather coated not only with mud but also caked with manure (of which the average sized horse will produce about 50 lbs per day, much to the joy of the less than average sized twelve year old). The horse’s long limbs are designed to quickly and easily cover all sorts of various terrain, with large hindquarters that provide the animal a powerful jump over any obstacle that may come in its path. These noble attributes have led to the animal to be prominently featured in literature and film throughout the ages, which is where an unfortunate little girl, Caroline, got the first glimpse of her dream pony.
Had she ever been given any perspective on the animal, Caroline might have wished for something safer… perhaps a wolverine or an anaconda. But to her, the cream colored pony for sale at the barn down the road is a mythical being that lives off of glittering dreams and good intentions. Its manure is merely drops of sunshine, and all the knowledge of the world is captivated in those large, beautiful eyes clouded with cataracts from old age and poor health. Caroline asks her parents, Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and when all other possibilities have been exhausted – God, for a pony, but to no avail. She is enrolled in dance class, but practices prancing instead of pirouettes. She joins the soccer team, but likes to watch the horses in the pasture next to the field instead of running around after the ball. On road trips, she imagines herself sitting a top a majestic black stallion, and watches the changing landscape outside her window, picturing her beautiful horse jumping over every hedge, mailbox, and sub-division sign. By the time she is actually behind the wheel of the car herself, she’s driving to odd jobs just to add a few hundred dollars to the measly sum she’s set aside to buy her dream horse.
When the day finally comes for Caroline to meet a horse she could afford to buy, she sees the animal as nothing short of the manifestation of heaven itself. To ordinary eyes, the gangly brown mare named Duchess is nothing but an old race horse, broken and sway backed from foaling too many failed colts, but to Caroline, the horse is a sturdy show jumper ready to tackle any fence on any occasion. Duchess is a genetic mistake – too slow for the racetrack and too ornery for anything else, but regardless of her talent, the animal idly munches hay in its $450 a month stall until Caroline can take a break from her busy work schedule in order to ride. Long practices of schlepping around in the mud while keeping hands impossibly still, making legs stay put in one spot instead of flailing like helicopter propellers, and cantering around while trying to hide the face of sheer panic while the mare runs like hell back towards the barn all lead up to the culmination of every equestrian’s dream – the horse show.
So… any writers out there have any tips to help get me through this madness they call a first novel?