Horses Who Loved to Run and other stories

When I was a little girl, I read horse books. Billy and Blaze, The Saddle Club, The Red Pony (on account of which I swore off Steinbeck long before I got into serious literature), Black Beauty, Pippi Longstocking (hey, she had a horse—she was just strong enough to carry him around), all the Misty books, and biographies of great horses like The Godolphin Arabian, Seabiscuit, and Secretariat.

So when my visiting sister-in-law, Christina, wanted to go see the new movie made about Secretariat, I said Yes please. She and her mother and Mom St. Hilaire and I had a girls' afternoon yesterday and went to watch it.

A note to my parents here: You have to see this movie.

It's not brilliant acting. It's not brilliant screenwriting. It's not even great shooting—it would have been nice to have some scenes of the horse running around his paddock or something. But goodness, I was on the edge of my seat, and I already knew how it would end. Although I'd forgotten... well, I won't give out spoilers. I'll just say that I left the theater delighted.

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Another reason for me to love Secretariat: He was distantly related to my own horse. As the story goes, when I was fifteen, my parents gave my sisters and I the biggest and best Christmas present we ever had. Her name was Lovely.

Appropriate, no? If you can tell from the snapshot of a dusty snapshot. (That's her in the foreground; Missy, in the background, was pretty too.) Sixteen hands and one inch of Anglo-Arab fire and beauty, out of a dam descended from a well-known Arabian stallion named Bask, by a sire descended from none other than Bold Ruler. No, I'm not making that up. She was my pet for a couple of years in Montana—until we moved out here, at which point we sold her to a former USET member who couldn't find a good dressage horse in Texas.

We got her when she was just a yearling and I never got to break her to ride, but I loved her. After watching the movie, I missed her again. I missed the way she ran: a long Thoroughbred stride with the dancing grace of an Arabian, her tail all plumed out in the Arab way. I missed her playfulness, too. She'd do things like steal her grooming cloths to chew on, or come flying across the corral to stop right up against me.

She was a great horse, and a real gift to us. I'm sure her new owner loved her very much.

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Abrupt change of subject: Ah, writing. This revision seems harder than the last one, or maybe I'm just more tired. Either way, I'll know Halloween night whether I'll finish by the start of NaNoWriMo. And possibly not before.

...but I still love it. And my heart is still in the story.

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My brain is so full of that story that it's kicking other things out to make room. The most egregious slip came a few days ago, when at 10 AM I sent instant messages to writers' group members reminding them that meeting had moved to 12:30, and by 11:30 had completely forgotten it myself. I got a wondering call at 12:45. Oops.

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Lovely sacred thought of the week: "[M]y conviction now is that if it’s God’s will for me to play a redemptive role in all of this, I want to start trying out for the most beautiful part available to me."—Jason Gray, from The Rabbit Room

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Well-placed dig of the week: "St. Aelred, in his dialogue Spiritual Friendship, said that friends were called to sacrifice for one another even unto crucifixion. To a culture in which "friend" is a verb meaning, "annoy with Farmville," this is almost incomprehensible."—Eve Tushnet at The Washington Post

I've long since blocked all Farmville posts on Facebook. But don't worry: If you play Farmville, I still consider you a friend and I still get everything else you post—well, except for Bejeweled Blitz stuff and that zoo app and the restaurant thing and and and...

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Funny of the week: Okay, this is not clean. There is a lot of language. But I cried laughing over this on Thursday, and one line keeps popping into my head and making me snicker at random inappropriate moments. Thanks to George for posting the link on Facebook: Cracked.com's 6 Books Everyone (Including Your English Teacher) Got Wrong.

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Weekend. I'm ready for it. NOW. And I'm not even a nine-to-fiver.

Have a good one, everybody.

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