The kind of slang I use tends to be very, very old school. It is more likely to be drawn from Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford and PG Wodehouse than the current demotic. But today I would like to say that I absolutely SMASHED my work.
It’s the approach to my second deadline, which is a renegotiated first-and-half draft date. In the end, it was decided that it would be just too scary for the poor agent to read the full mess and muddle which was the raw first draft. But she would like to see something before Christmas, which does not give time for a full second draft, but does allow for a tidied up, nicely trimmed and frankly less alarming version.
The push for this is not as manic as getting the thing written in the first place. There is some sturdy earth on which to plant my stuttering feet. The story exists; the chapters are there. There is, after a fashion, a beginning, middle and end.
All the same, it requires a lot of concentration and effort.
So there may not be much room for blog, as I charge into the final furlong.
Red the Mare very kindly put her shoulder to the wheel and did her bit for my mental health. This morning she gave me a ride of such loveliness that I whooped out loud on three separate occasions and fell on her neck with fervent congratulation and love twice. The Remarkable Trainer, who was on the American Paint filly, discreetly averted her eyes and did not say anything. Really professional horsewomen tend not to whoop and hug. The best horsemen and women, I have noticed, don’t use their voices much at all. Horses are visual creatures, rather than verbal ones. (This is because they came out of the woods very early in their evolution, and their defining characteristics were mapped out on the plains.)
But I can’t help it.
The red mare makes me so happy and so proud that I can’t contain myself. This is slightly nuts for a middle-aged female who has been round the block, but there we are. When I ask myself what AP would do, I know the answer would be: not this. He might allow himself a small smile; he would give the horse a restrained pat on the shoulder. I holler and throw my arms in the air and hurl myself bodily up her dear neck. As I do so, I can just about see the corner of her face. It seems to be wearing a quizzical smile, as if to say: just let the old girl get it out of her system. She is not only a very clever and beautiful and talented equine, but remarkably forgiving as well.
Usually, when I ride her, my cares all soar away in that very moment. Once I am off her back, I return at once to the normal work frenzy of tension and push. The medicine only obtains when I am with the good doctor. But on this bright, mild Monday, it lasted all day. The shoulders did not go back up; the sense of frazzle and fret did not return. I did my work, acres and acres of it, and it came easily, and I was not lashing myself but enjoying the process. I kept stopping and smiling, as the memory of the beautiful contained trot and the gentle rolling canter flashed into my mind. That damn mare is a miracle horse and I don’t care who knows it.
No time for pictures today, just a couple of Herself with her most demure, I am doing my good work face on. Remarkable Trainer up:
Oh, and actually one more which I can’t resist. One of the things I love about keeping the mare out is that she can be her own, horsey self. She can get as muddy and scruffy and filthy as she wishes. Today, she took this remit to its full limit. I love this picture not because she looks beautiful. She looks like an old donkey. I love it because she is a horse at ease with herself: