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How I Met Your Fathers (sort of).

It is said that success has many fathers while defeat is an orphan (and if I’m the mother, what does that make me?). Trilogy of the Horse has several fathers and here is the story of one of them, Ray Bradbury.

It was spring time in 1986 and I was reading Dandelion Wine for an English class in high school. One more time I was engulfed in a world of my own, one-on-one with the unique genius that is/was Ray Bradbury as he wove a story about summer time. And as I read, a thought happened to me. I use those words specifically because inspiration is rarely effortful and frankly my rational brain was busy keeping up the inner cinema that is a well-told tale. ‘I could do this,’ I heard in my mind. It was such a charged thing that I stopped, looked up from the pages and stared at the ceiling. ‘As a thing to do with the rest of my life. I could write novels that sucked you in just like this one is doing to me.’

The inspiration seemed appropriate. I was fifteen at the time and as an honors student we were expected to use our high school educations to launch ourselves into the greatest heights of success, right? Well, coming from a working class family, the first in my family with even a chance to get into, let alone graduate from college, the idea was met with a cool reception. “Go be a teacher.” Or “Don’t you want to do something more normal?” Or “You’ll never make any money at that.” Never mind that I knew of many authors at the time, Ray Bradbury in specific, who made a LOT of money at it and worked also in television. He had a life I wanted to have. The only support I ever got was from my best friend, who didn’t even go to the same high school as me, but whom I’d known since the fourth grade.

From then on I struggled with, wrestled with, kicked at, and strangle-held a career as a writer for thirty years. I wrote my own ticket through college with a specialized degree that I thought would make me a cut above other writers (really I couldn’t make up my mind and remembered how much I loved writing...so yeah), but ended up discovering a love of mathematics I did not have back in high school and discovered that I pretty good at it. So I became a math teacher, discontented at her core because books yet to be written lay on shelves in my mind. I started a novel back in 2005 and it never got past chapter 3 because I workshopped it. For those who have ever workshopped a book, you know what I mean. It still sits on the shelf.

Then in 2016 my life as I knew it began to unravel. I was at a horribly dysfunctional school, doing my best to cope with the stress, and the kids were just awful little people. It was a slow-moving train wreck by all standards. Then my beloved grandfather, who had been ill with colon cancer finally passed away. But there was one small ray of sunshine in my life. I had gotten back into horses that year and the same month my grandfather died, I had adopted a 17 year old, off-track thoroughbred mare I named Pema Tara- “Lotus of Tara” (JC: Layuponastar. Her story is for another time). She held me together during all this, kept me distracted with floating teeth and hoof trims, round pen work, learning Join-Up, and learning about the horse world after a 30 year hiatus. Who rescued whom?

One day when I was driving onto the ranch were I was boarding my horse, I noticed a goings-on in one of the paddocks. Stacks of pipe corrals and people busy assembling the mass of metal. I asked one of the other boarders, “what’s going on over there?” To which said boarder replied, “oh, there’s going to be a mustang auction.” And the rest is history.

P.S. So you may be wondering because my initial inspiration to write was from a master of science fiction and fantasy, will I ever write a novel about horses in space? Mustang Invaders from Mars? Mares on the Moon? I don’t know. Perhaps my destiny lies in becoming a literary giant of sci-fi equines with my seminal work entitled I, Horsebot.

 

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