A long time
ago (14 years, to be exact), I wrote a book titled It’s Hard to Stay
on a Horse While You’re Unconscious and paid to have it published
through Xlibris Publishing Company.
I sold a few
copies and have a box of books stored at the house, but I didn’t do much
regarding marketing. Shame.
don’t do that.
trouble with completing a project, then moving on to write something else.
Writers want to write, not market. And many of us aren’t salespeople…, and
doubt creeps in.
Xlibris was charging too much. I couldn’t sell the books for what I paid for my
copies, and the title was too long. (That served me right for rebelling, for
everybody says to use short titles. So, what did I do--used a long
however, that the title was pertinent. I learned that unless you are focused
(conscious) while sitting atop a horse, you might likely be sitting on the
learned with a horse named Dee, who tended to go in circles, that if I focused
on a spot ahead, say a fence post, she would go directly toward it.
there was that matter of getting knocked unconscious for a minute when Sierra,
my mustang, swung her head around and hit me on the nose.
was a comedy of errors. Sierra shied. I lifted my foot out of the stirrup to
keep it from smashing into a tree. (Hey, I read Seabiscuit and about the
jockey’s leg injury.) Sierra swung her head around, hit me in the nose, and the
next thing I remember, I hit the ground, causing a hairline crack in my pelvis.
The following day I had two eyes black as ripe olives.
Back to the
book and the phone calls I’ve been getting: Those marketers think its subject
is pertinent and that the book will sell. And they read a reasonably good
review of it from Kirkus.
relates my experience of getting back into horses after a 40-year-hiatus
Boots, my childhood horse, was perfect then, and now after experiencing other
horses, I know I was right. He was a perfect horse. He never hurt me, never
bucked, shied, or otherwise misbehaved. He could run 24 miles an hour, bring
home the cow, move at a feather touch, and bow.
So, 40 years
later, for my birthday, I purchased Duchess, a remarkable 24-year-old mare, to
ease me back into riding. She was an Arabian known for their endurance and
longevity. She could probably out-walk any horse in the Willamette Valley. She
got to be the matriarch of the herd and lived to raise the two fillies I
adopted when they were 6 months old.
I write about
those eight horsey years in my book. It’s Hard to Stay on a Horse
While You’re Unconscious. I also included two appendices: The Horse’s
Brain and the Horse’s Eye. I was driven to study them because I wanted to know
why a horse needed to be trained on both sides. And when imprinting a newborn
foal, if you touch one ear but not the other, later, it will behave as though
he has one wild ear on an otherwise tame body. When I asked a veterinarian
about the horse’s corpus callosum, the bridge between the two brain
hemispheres, he wanted me to tell him.
quarter horse, is on the cover. At two years old, she was
chocolate velvet in color. At about three years old, she transformed into a
beautiful, dappled gray.
Now I am
getting calls from people who want to promote the book, put it in bookstores,
Fairs, and market it.
For a fee.
I don’t know
what happened and how they got ahold of it.
since I opened a copy? I don’t know, but today I did.
And I like
it. I might cry, though.
Here is the
blurb inside the dust cover:
Hard to Stay on a Horse While You’re Unconscious is a horse book,
true, but it is more than that. Throughout this book is a thread of
understanding that the old ways of looking at the world, our lives, how to
train horses, and even looking at God do not work. We might get the job done,
but not in a satisfying way, and not in a way that we are as gentle humans
walking softly on the earth wish for ourselves.”
Looking Back Before Looking Ahead
The truth dazzles gradually,
or else the world would be blind.
started in a motion picture theater after the lights were out.
offstage came a groan, a grinding of motors, and the curtains, once an asbestos
barrier between the audience and the players, were pierced with a bolt of light
from the projector. Those same curtains, transformed by the flick of a light
switch, flowed docile, elegant as chiffon, into wings.
The sound of
thundering hoofbeats pierced the air. A horse appeared. The audience gasped. In
those days, human heroes were secondary to the horse heroes. Remember how
Trigger, Roy Rogers’s golden palomino, would rear as a signature salute? Or
remember how Toronado, a mighty horse, black as tires slathered with Armor All,
carried an equally black-clad Zorro? There was the Lone Ranger’s horse, Silver,
made snow-white for the screen with talcum powder, so I heard, and Gene Autry’s
fabulous Champion, more brilliant even than Gene Autry. All came to a whistle,
and all would sidle up under a rooftop so their riders could escape some dire
circumstance by dropping onto their backs. They would then tear off at speed
usually reserved for a racecar into unknown territory.
By the time
I was nine years old, I wanted a horse more than anything.
forty years: One day, my thirty-year-old daughter, Nina, asked me, “Mom, don’t
you want a horse again?”
desire was back. A desire to run my fingers through a horse’s velvet coat, to
bury my nose in a horse’s silken mane and inhale deeply, to climb aboard and
feel what the ancients called “winged.”
considered, though, maybe I ought to know more than jump aboard and take off
for tall timber. So, I began to study and write. Others might benefit from this
experience, especially if they are considering getting a horse, if they like
horses, or think, as Alice Walker does, that every scene is prettier with a
horse in it. More importantly, they might be like me and need a few thumps on
the side of the head.
For the past
eight years, I have been occupied with horses, either studying in preparation
for getting one or with hands-on experience.
Long ago, I
sold my beloved childhood horse, Boots, and on that day, I considered the horse
part of my life to be over. And then, eight years ago, Nina left the corporate
world of California, bought acreage in Oregon, and decided she wanted a horse.
There she was, tempting me to do the same.
After I was
out of high school, working as a dental assistant, and about to be married, my
dad said if I didn’t sell Boots, he would. So, I sold Boots to a cowboy who
said, “Marry people, not horses.” I thought there was some truth to that
statement, so I sold my horse to him, married my honey, graduated from college,
had my daughters, and grieved for Boots for forty years. And then, another
horse came into my life, and then another, and another. What follows is their
story, and it is mine.
If you would like to read this book and tell me if you think it is viable, or can suggest a better title, pay for the shipping and I will send one for Free. (After ten copies, I will stop.) The last one I sold cost $2.48 to ship. See why Kindle is so popular.
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