Michelle, my instructor at Relational Riding Academy is a wonderful teacher. She is direct and observant. And she yells at me. This is a good thing. I’m the student in this case, and I need to be told what to do. As I’m trotting around the arena on Hugo, the seventeen-hand thoroughbred she put me on about a year ago, she’s telling me to sit up and pay attention, to straighten him out, to make him perform.
Gather him up, she yells. Capture the energy. Don’t let it get away from you! Contain it! Shape it! SHAPE IT!!!
Every time I go to the barn it’s the same thing. And I need to hear it, because every time I get on Hugo I have the same task: to turn a horse that’s sometimes surprisingly loose and lazy into the best horse he can be. And to do that I have to become the best rider I can be. Hugo’s got the stuff—he’s a descendant of Seattle Slew. The raw material is there; I just need to capture it. I have to balance the energy with the form. Easier said than done, but I give it my all.
While I’m writing I have to do the same thing. Here I am in the saddle (my office chair in front of my computer) trying to produce, maintain and, most importantly, shape the energy, the words on the page so they do what I want them to do. Loose and lazy won’t cut it, letting the words get away from me won’t work either. And so I imagine Michelle yelling at me: capture the energy, shape it. Pay attention to every detail.
And off I go, writing into the sunset. Every time it’s a hell of a ride.