Life Events and Writing
First off, hello Jenna and thanks for having me on your blog today!
As writers, one thing we hear a lot (or get asked a lot) is how life influences our writing. Today I’m going to talk a bit about the reverse: how writing influenced my life, or at least changed it up a little—in a good way.
But I have to back track a little first—a few years actually. When I was first learning how to write, I submitted chapters of Betrayal’s Price to an online workshop where other writers could critique it and offer advice, suggestions, etc. One day, a fellow author mentioned that if my main character was supposed to be a ‘good’ horsewoman, could I please write the scenes that way. My horsey bits were off and she being a horseperson found it a tad annoying. She suggested I take some riding lessons or something along that line to help research the topic for my writing since my novel was a fantasy world with a medieval-type setting. And horses (or horse-like beings) were a main mode of transportation.
Like most girls, I always thought horses to be among the most beautiful of creatures, but never had the opportunity to interact with them. So in a nutshell, I knew zip about horses or horsemanship. So that crit partner’s advice sounded like a good idea.
I didn’t run out and take riding lessons right away, but the idea was now on my to-do-one-day-in-the-not-so-distant-future list. It wasn’t too long after that suggestion when I first heard about a horse rescue run by a fellow Haldimand County employee, and thought, ‘why not volunteer and learn some horse stuff?’
The horse rescue is Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue ( http://www.whhrescue.com/ ) and they use the Chris Irwin Methodology of training. It’s a training method for people more than horses (Chris even calls his workshops Equine-Assisted Personal Development. LOL) Here’s a snippet from his website (http://www.chrisirwin.com/ ) to better explain...
“...Chris’s work involves the horse directly as a teacher. A horse’s respect, trust, focus and willingness is only earned when a human learns to balance their predator-based behaviors with the horse’s prey-based behaviors. What a horse needs to see in the one it willingly elects as its leader, be it horse or human, is the same character traits we want to see in ourselves. Learning to be the better horse translates literally, not just metaphorically, into becoming a better person.”
When I sat in on my first clinic, there was talk of buttons (?) crossing lines (??), and where, when and how to aim your core (???) to move a horse without pulling on its lead rope or reins. Heck, you can do a lot without even touching the horse. To put it mildly, I was confused and a touch doubtful, but after seeing it in action I became a believer. Mind you, believing your eyes and actually mastering it yourself are two entirely different things. LOL.
Thankfully, horses naturally communicate using the silent ways of body language. In fact they ‘read’ the humans around them all the time, and unfortunately for us, we naturally speak ‘predator’ or ask for one thing verbally while our bodies are telling the horse something entirely different.
Two years later, I now know more about horses (maybe about 15 percent of what there is to know. LOL.) and I even adopted one. A sweet-natured six-year-old standdardbred named Oakley.
Yes, horses take more time from my already sadly anemic writing time, but they’ve enriched my life and my writing so much that the good far outweighs the bad. I look forward to continuing to become a better person through horses.
Humorously, one of the main characters in the sequel to Betrayal’s Price is a horse-like shapeshifter. I wonder how much Chris Irwin methodology has worked its way into the book that I’ve have to edit out since there is such as thing as too much non-plot related details. Oy!
While you’re here, don’t forget to leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win a FREE copy of Betrayal’s Price.
Thanks for having me Jenna!
If you’d like to know more about Lisa, pop by her website (http://www.lisablackwood.com/ ) or blog (http://blackwoodsforest.wordpress.com/ ) and say hello.