Riding and Writing…huh?
“So you think you can dance?” We’ve all heard of the show or at least watched it once, right? I mean, those people can dance. They must have practiced those moves and steps and rhythms so many times, I can’t even imagine. It’s obvious they spent many, many hours honing their craft. They didn’t make it onto national television by dancing to one or two songs a week then returning to the couch to watch television. It took stamina, determination, and patience to make it on that show. Even if you don’t follow the program, what those dancers do is as strenuous a job as I’ve ever seen.
About ten years ago a good friend of mine told me I better get a hobby outside of the home (and kids) to alleviate my stress. I thought, Hobby, what the heck is that? I didn’t know where to turn. I’d always been an avid reader, but she advised me to find something more “active”, something outside the realm of my daily life.
(I know you’re wondering what the heck a television dance show has to do with writing and books. Just hold on for a couple more seconds and you’ll hopefully understand where I’m going with this.)
I enrolled in a painting class through the Park and Recreation department. That was a disaster! When we were instructed to paint in perspective, you know, like a vase with flowers on a table, it was a complete joke. Mine looked like something my daughter did in kindergarten. Then a light bulb went off in my head – cliche‘ alert! I recalled taking a few riding lessons when I was younger, and (kind of) remembered enjoying them. But something or someone – life, job, a boyfriend – got in the way. At the time, I didn’t follow through and I quit.
I went back to the barn where I’d had those lessons, arranged to meet with a trainer, bought a pair of riding pants, put on my Harley Davidson boots, and was ready to go. Long story short, it took me years to learn how to post. For those of you unfamiliar with equitation, when a horse trots, unless you want to bounce up and down in the saddle like a bobble-head doll, you have to learn to move your lower body with the horse’s rhythm. After mastering that I had to learn how to canter – which is essentially one step up in speed and rhythm from the trot, but not quite a gallop.
“So you think you can ride, Patti?” I asked myself. Well, I was determined. However, in order to ride well, I found I had to ride often, as in A LOT. The more I got on the back of my horse, the better I was able to post and canter. My trainer told me “Time in the saddle, Patti. Time in the saddle.” And she was right. Posting became second nature. And although I’m still learning how to master the canter, if I keep up with two lessons a week, that will become easier as well.
“So you think you can write?” I asked myself several years ago. I thought, You betcha. I sit my butt in the chair with my MacBook on my lap and I write. Every day. I WILL learn to master the art of writing. But it will take time and, just like riding, a lot of determination and patience.