…ok, so maybe you’ll have to work with me on that one.
I’ve been a bit remiss with my blogging as of late, and I humbly cry your pardon, Most Highly Respected Anonymous Reader–I know you’ve been thirsting for more failed attempts at wit. Between work, barn, and worrying over friends, I’ve been a bit sidetracked. But today’s feeling much more (read: less) productive, so I’m back to the keyboard.
Yesterday I had a great lesson on Gabe. My instructor told me that one of her working students figured out Gabe’s “LENGTHEN” button, a button that I’ve been struggling to find since fall of last year. The student that found it normally doesn’t ride Gabe, but apparently, while fighting to finally get a right-lead canter out of him, accidentally pushed his button and away they went. I’m told the effort left her breathless and insisting (between gulps of air) that, “He’s impossible to ride! I have *gasp* a whole new respect *gasp* for Danielle as a rider!” This made me laugh, because Gabe’s suspension has caught more than a few new riders by surprise, and if I look better at riding it than most it’s because I’ve had nearly 8 years of practice with him. Or vice versa. (My vote is really that he sits me better because I secretly rub his cute little deformed ear and sing “I’m a Barbie Girl” when he’s nervous, so he throws me a bone under saddle to make me look less-incompetent. I figure it’s the least he can do.)
The rest of the lesson was spent finding and then mercilessly pushing said LENGTHEN button until Gabe’s legs fell off. Ok, not really. Just enough that our accidental 2 strides of lengthening in one pass turned into 3 strides of it on another pass, until we got a total of 4 good lengthening strides by the end of the lesson. Great big whoop whoop, right there. And every time I walked after one of the efforts, Gabe would stop, turn his head around like he was going to nuzzle the toe of my boot, and give me this long-suffering look that said, “There. Happy now? Am I going to get dinner any time soon?” And I’d tickle his nose with my whip and coo at him and tell him, “Of course not!” and off we’d go for another try.
Now, to be fair, I do have to admit that I had my Big Guns on. Sometimes when he’s cranky, he decides my normal spurs, which I’ve taken to calling my Peashooters (a simple Prince of Wales pair) since they’re so much smaller, don’t have enough bite behind them. For the times when he needs a little wakeup call, the Big Guns turn my leg from a poke in the butt with a fat thumb tip into a tickle on the ribs with a fingernail, if you get me. I don’t use them frequently, but they serve their purpose from time to time. Like yesterday. After the first tickle, he was like, “Oh THAT’S what you’ve been asking for! Well, why didn’t you say so?” and away we went.
So, riding’s been successful this week, even while my writing has taken a bit of a break, due to the previously-mentioned sidetracked-ness. I’ve still got the ideas, but only found the time to work on one short story earlier in the week. Not writing every day makes me feel creatively lethargic, and it makes me worry that the Writer’s Burn, which is kinda how I view that fever we get when we’re like junkies until we get home to get the ideas down on paper—
Wait. Strike that. After rereading that sentence, Writer’s Burn sounds like something unmentionable you might see a doctor for. So, nix that…let’s call it Writer’s Fever, how about? A bit more to the point and without the nasty mental visions of rashes and warts.
So where were we?
…I start to worry that the Writer’s Fever has faded and that I’ll lose interest in what I’m working on. (For you non-writers, this is bad because it lands your previously-favored darling, due to neglect, into the Slush Pile of Unfinished Stories, and stories only emerge back from that pile with a lot of strained effort.) I don’t think that’s the case, because I’m still pulling off the highway to jot story ideas down in my notebook, but I still worry. I like to worry. It’s what makes me tick, unfortunately, because it gives me something to do.
And then, to cap off the wonderful Week of Limited Writing, I get a form rejection. And note just any form rejection…an emailed form rejection. As if my story’s not even worth the paper to print it on and the stamp to send it. Grrr…..!
Truth to tell, I DID send it to a more well-known journal (Ploughshares), and well-known journals have the luxury of being more selective because they ain’t hurtin’ for submissions. But still. Form rejections hurt the ego a little more than others. Because they hint that you’re standard and just another pile of papers in the slush. Or worse:
I’ll go home and write something tonight, probably a long something, and I’ll feel better by tomorrow, but for today? It’s mud and rain and ice cream cones on the ground.
This day officially owes me some Oreos.