Friday, July 1, 2011

New Books and Horses

I wrote a book a while ago. I haven't done anything with it since I wrote it. I wasn't sure why until I met with a writer/editor friend the other day.

I met her in a cosy restaurant on the edge of the horsey set. I like it because people(women mostly) trudge through with manure and mud still on their boots. They have riding hat hair, and horse neck grime under their finger nails, from holding the reins against sweaty damp horse necks.

I have always been a great horse lover. My parents let me learn to ride a horse, but not a bike. Our road was too busy, they said. I nearly broke my neck on a horse a couple of times.
Its a while since I rode a horse. I lived in Greyton for a time and rode with a group of women, all, like me then, in their early forties. They all fell off, one by one, until it was only me left. They broke arms, collarbones, and fractured a skull. I decided, if I was next, I might kill myself. I stopped. But I regret it. At the time I thought I still had children to raise. Indeed I did, but life is risky nevertheless, and so you may as well ride, ride - the world is wide.

I was always a bit of a daredevil on horseback. There is a famous story in my family of me taking off with the Xhosa groom over the Katberg mountains on one of our family holidays. I do remember him daring me to race - he was on a naughty pony, and me on a horse sick to death of carrying tourists, no  doubt. I think I lost control. I remember  dodging overhead branches, but clinging on while the groom beat me, anyway.

I can still feel the elation of galloping, standing up in the saddle, leaning forward, hearing the wind in the horses nostrils. Great. I would like to feel that again - but I think I have become a real scaredy cat, the thing I have always despised above all else.

So, I like driving the roads of the mink and manure set. I love pausing for riders and their large rumped, sashaying tailed mounts, trotting on the side of the road. I love the the tap tapping crop and clicking tongue riders, with matching blonde swaying ponytails and straight up down backs.
It's a treat to meet at the horsey deli, then, to discuss the publishing , or not, of my first book.

Officially, actually, its not my first. I wrote another one years ago, locked into a centrally heated flat in the dark of northern England one dismal bleak winter. But thats another story.
This second first one was a sort of rewrite of that other one, a sort of gathering together of pages of scribblings from piles of moleskins, printouts, tapestry,tie dyed,pretty printed covered books that I have lugged around with me, for years.
It feels like that, like a shedding of skins and skins. like a lizard

My friend was marvelously helpful, basically giving me permission to leave the manuscript in a drawer and move on, for now, to my second book, which is, well, champing at the bit, to be written.

Its like a wild horse, a new book.
Like a herd of wild horses.
Like a herd of wild horses all tossing their manes and neighing and stamping and pawing the air to be let free.

Its terrifying though.
They feel impossible to ride.
So, I suppose I'll just let them go and watch for a while.
New books and horses are like that. To me anyway.
Never totally under control.

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