I feel anxious about beginnings. Only because once you’ve started you’re committed.
I’m usually glad in the end I started, it’s just the usual thoughts of what if I fuck this up. All quite normal.
I started a novel seven years ago. I’m still here. So is the novel. One day it might debut.
Last year I bought a pony. A Connemara called Aoibheann (prounounced Aveen) which is Irish for Little Evie. She was 2.5 years old when I bought her, not yet under saddle. She’s the first pony I’ve ever owned. I’ve written about that, too. She’s been the making of me, really. And I want our story to be the making of you, too.
Perhaps I’m a bit late bringing you in on all this. But change is in the air, for my pones, for the way I write, for the way writing and riding are coming together. I believe starting here is as good a time as any. And it holds me to account, a platform to further find my voice. And I do want to find it with your help. (Feeling a little Liz Gilbert here, but I love her!)
Let’s get straight into it:
The past few weeks I’ve been feeling a little strange about my novel. The getting into it over the course of a morning, the getting out of it as the afternoon wears on and a hint something is shifting; that change is cracking its knuckles hard up against my ear. It’s my Sarah Winman moment, I think. She’s found a way in. I’m both inside the novel and between it as I write this, as I figure out what’s going on. Suddenly, the work feels split, a pair of bookends pressing either side of me. On one side, the work I knew a few weeks ago is ending. On the other, a gentle nickering, now quite insistent, is that the work wants to change. It’s small scale, but my sentences are rebelling, they’ve got me running through tinder dry paddocks of paragraphs, a match in my hand. It’s delicious and delaying and scaring me. No one will notice except me. But that’s ok, right. Finding my own rhythm and nailing it.
Aoibheann doesn’t give a shit about my novel. Best that way.
Last Tuesday evening I washed her. I wouldn’t have been able to do that this time last year; be alone with her and a high pressure hose, for I lacked courage and we hadn’t really found a way to talk with each other yet. But now, she skitted around me, somewhat put out at getting wet. I covered her in purple shampoo to make her grey coat sparkle. I suds’d up her tail, her mane, her skinny legs, her coming-of-age-neck. She baulked at the attention to her dirty ears, conflicted when carrot was offered as a softener to such an intrusion, and decided I could clean just the one. She doesn’t care for such cleanliness, and at some level, neither do I really, but we got to hang out on a warm Spring night with no plans in place and nowhere else to be. I wanted her looking sharp, for she moves to her new home this weekend. Her best friend, Tiffany, is moving with her. I’d like to say we’re so happy we could jump a log, but that lesson is a little way off, literally.
So in both worlds, change is in the air, and the ride begins with a deep breath.
Let’s see where we end up…