Dedicated to all who write. An extended metaphor.
Writing hates the bridle.
She has thrown me to the ground more times than I can count. Dusty, sore, sometimes a broken bone or two, I look up at her thinking how stupid is the ol’ saw “You’ve got to get back up on the horse!”
Struggle would not mellow with age. I agonize over a word, a phrase, even constructing a sentence. I revel in process and product through screams of agony and despair through shouts of victory and conquest.
She does not let me on her. I grab her mane swinging one leg over her bare back. I hang on hoping I can hold on. Sometimes we trot, sometimes we gallop, but always we fight: she to throw me off, I to hang on.
No one can understand the horse I ride, save those who endure the *15 hands of composition.
“Composition” assumes I am composing, yet “compost” is often the result. A composite of manure minglings compose my latest offering. My writing lifts its tail just far enough to let loose the current submission, turning her head to laugh at me.
I break out the backspace shovel and the delete wheel barrel.
But, when broken, her saddle is a perfect fit. She gallops. I feel the wind through my hair. The force of her hindquarters propels us both. Her withers shimmy, my legs record each flank muscle thrust. I hear her breathe. I join her in the exaltation of hurtling obstacles.
In those moments, we no longer need the bridle.
Dedicated to all who write, with special thanks to IUPUI’s Steve Fox and The Hoosier Writing Project, June, 2017, my fellow riders, my fellow writers. Mark teaches writing to both high school and PhD students and is President of The Comenius Institute (site). Picture credit: SnappyGoat.com
* 15 hands is reference to a horse’s height in human hands