I was a weird little kid. When I go back in time my memories are floaty and soft, with a few harsh clear jolts mixed in, just to keep things interesting. Kind of like watching the movie Jurassic Park. You know the velociraptor is just around the corner, but can't help launching your popcorn every time he makes an appearance.
One of my fondest, clearest memories is riding my bike down the street, chasing my herd of invisible rabbits. My rabbits ran with the speed of light. When I jumped off my bike and threw myself in the grassy field behind our house my invisible rabbits would swarm around me. I could feel the cool silk of their fur slipping past my ankles, the sharp little points of their toenails scraping across the tops of my bare feet. I would reach down and feel the tickle of their whiskers across my palms. Sometimes my favorite, Blackie, would crawl into my lap and let me pet him. I could feel his hard muscled little body sliding under his fur, his heart fluttering a staccato beat under my hand.
The worst were the nights of terror. Monsters and skeletons, images from the television or stories told late at night in my sister's bed, whirling through the dark,jerking me awake and screaming for my parents. Still seeing the nightmares in every shadowy corner even as my mother soothed me.
These memories are sharp in my mind, much clearer than the endless agony of school, the boring routine of church, the slow crawl of rules and requirements .
I was the little girl who sat in the back of the class, daydreaming out the window. The kid who ran around the playground whinnying, too busy perfecting my gallop to talk to anybody else.
I knew no line of definition between reality and fantasy, I was branded a liar, a teller of tales. My stories got me in endless trouble. I was probably in the third grade before I realized nobody else saw my invisible rabbits. Nobody else knew the horses who came to my window at night and whiffled through my screen. When I talked about the sweet smell of their alfalfa breath on my face I was either talking out of turn or telling another lie.
So I began to draw. I drew my rabbits, the monsters and especially the horses. The older I grew the more I drew horses. I rode my bike as hard and fast as I could over the bumpiest roads I could find, practicing to ride the horse I knew was coming to me someday. I drew him, my fantasy horse, over and over. His name was Raphael. I drew my model horses who came alive and danced in my window sills as I lay sleepless at night. I drew the black horse who pulled me out of the misery of motion sickness, racing our car across the prairie. His coat shone with the sun as he leaped gullies and climbed mountains, always keeping pace with our Vista Cruiser, no matter how long the road trip.
My lies and tall tales became beautiful art hanging from our refrigerator.
My life became grounded in reality when I got my first horse, Mort. For the first time, life was better in real time. It was better to be aware, better to see the world for what it was. Horses made it easy to put away the stories. Horses made it worth my time to begin to see the world around me.
So now, my life with horses has made it time to go back to telling stories. Now I can see the difference. The stories I want to tell come from my reality. My understanding of where to draw the line. Now I choose which side of the line I stand on.
I'm going to be working on what to write and what to do with it. I'll be throwing some ideas around on this blog. Some of you might know me from my blog, http://www.mugwumpchronicles.com/. If so, you know I've recently retired from being a horse trainer for many years. I'm writing for a living now, working for a small rural newspaper. I'm starting to explore the idea of getting published. Being invited to write here seems like the next logical step in my progression. This is going to be cool. Real cool, if you catch my drift. Later.