Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lightening Has Struck!

No, I haven't secured an agent, I have no publishing contract.  But tentatively I will be getting a short story published in a local magazine called La Joie, which focuses on the relationships between animals and their human counterparts, and respecting life in all its forms.  I think that you gave me good juju Tinkandalissa!  ;)  Like the whole 'I do believe in fairies' idea!  I'm posting the story below, it makes for a long post, but what the hell, I'd like to know what folks think.  All the horses are real horses, my furry herd.  

                          New Life


                           A. Grey

She’s an embattled soul, my Saida, standing in the center of the field, bad leg cocked, long neck stretched low, her head angled slightly to one side to ease the pull on her scarred left shoulder. Dixie stands at the trough, J.D. and Sierra under the pines.  Among them all, Saida is the paradox, the inconstant thread.  Plain brown in contrast to their appaloosa patterns and dusty donkey grey, her winter coat is shaggy, tattered where the CSU and 1808 brands mar the pattern of hair, missing where old wounds inhibit its growth entirely.  Even her name is not her own, just one of many tags she’s borne.  To my mother, she is Aisha, Swahili for ‘new life’.  But to me she remains Saida.  The unconquerable.    

While the other horses were grazing in open fields, Saida was healing from wounds that will never be explained, alone and untreated.  While little J.D. roamed with a herd of incorrigible donkey siblings, Saida stood with hundreds of other horses, crammed into dirt paddocks and narrow chutes.  While Sierra and Dixie dallied at riding camps, Saida struggled to find her balance in a cattle rig traveling across the country.

When I first saw her she was wild and raw, almost unmanageable, carrying a foal that was not her own.  Trust was a truth that she never quite subscribed to, but motherhood proved to be her natural calling.  It was not a permanent state, however, and soon she was cast to the winds again, homeless and ill-suited to the expectations of a palfrey.  But I saw a nobility in her misanthropic ways, a brilliance in her madness, a kindness in her manic attentiveness to the self appointed position of herdsman.  And so here she stands in my field, safe now, but tattered and battered and not much to look at.

But come spring, the matte brown shag will slip from her lanky angles, revealing the crimson of blood bay, a coat of skin-close velveteen as soft as owl down.  The summer sun will bleach her new hide to a copper coated ruby and her scars will loosen beneath its heated golden glare.  She’ll run laps just to hear her own footfalls and the other horses will follow her even though they don’t understand why she finds such joy in the action.  And she’ll never be explainable.  Her sudden affection will never be something I can claim on a whim, her absurd fears will never have a basis I can grasp.

Come fall, her coat will drag low, its dull brown a catch-all for dirt and dead grass.  The chill will set in and her scars will stiffen in its grip and the years will hang from her coatrack hips again.  She’ll take to dozing in the sun, and move in a disjointed swagger, always stepping short with her bum left hind.  But when spring shows up again, it will breath new life into Saida.  The unconquerable.  The inconstant.  The noble and indomitable. 


  1. Yay! (I'm clapping for you!) I'd like to take credit for the good juju voodoo, but I think this is a GREAT story! Good job!
    I love horses! Always wanted one. Still do. Another one of those "if only" things on my list. I probably would have gone on to be a small animal vet, but who knows. I really really wanted to be able to have tons of land for an animal sanctuary for all sorts of animals. That was the big dream. But, I will be content to write and hope that I will finish this first book one day (soon!) and be published. You are on your way!
    I submitted to a short story contest recently but didnt win. That's ok. It will happen.
    Looked at the Sirens conference. I am jealous and would love to go! I don't know that I will be able to come up with the money in time to make arrangements. Poo...
    Congrats, again!!

  2. Thanks! I'm glad you like the story. A little dramatic, but truthful. I do think you gave me good juju though, because your support made me happy, and when I'm happy, I write, and the more I write, the better I get....
    Horses are awsome, but rather like having children that never get older than three. They can get into EVERYTHING and then aren't quite capable of getting out of it most of the time. :) If you're ever near me, I'll gladly take you cruising on Sierra, he's my go to guy. I know, I know, Sierra on a guy? It means 'wild wind' and I was all into the meaning. Some day I'll have land, well, enough land for a sanctuary.
    Totally hear you on the short story contest. I entered a local one that John Grisham judges. Got a letter telling it didn't win, but it 'enthralled them, and made it to the final round'. I hopped around like a mad gnome and cussed to shame my Navy-bound brother in law. Couldn't have been THAT enthralling, right? But you know, just because other people don't fall in love with something you wrote doesn't mean it isn't totally lovable and worthy.
    Hope you CAN come up with the money for Sirens. I've never done anything like that, and just got lucky to have the funds when I needed them. Then my best friend in all the known dimensions, and all the unknown dimensions, had unused air miles and gave them to me by way of buying my tickets to Colorado. The gods were smiling, so to say. But it would be SO cherry to 'know' someone else there, well besides the guest of honor authors...

  3. I hope to be able to go to! That would nice to "know" someone there. At least to support each other in our antisocial/reclusiveness! Haha. Too bad all the tax money I got had to go to paying bills! I bet CO is awesome in the Fall. Not to mention Kristin Cashore being there! (and the other writers, of course)
    You're story is so good because I could *see* the horses and *feel* the sunshine.
    I love horses so much that somehow my mom convinced me it would be a fabulous idea to get married on one! And I agreed. Well, I had never ever even ridden a horse. Just admired them from afar. We had a family friend that has several horses. This guy happened to be a white Arabian (I dont even know if they are all white or not!). His name is Fireball. That ought to tell you his personality. What a character. I love that horse! He is so silly. He would get excited to see me when I would come to practice riding him and he knew that I had treats, so he would stamp his hooves and buck around the yard like a wild child. It was so funny! I swear he knew when I was talking about how handsome he is too. Horses are just so great! Anyway, the wedding went off w/o a hitch, mostly...(that's another story). At least he waited to pee until after the pictures were taken. And the donkey next door waited until after the vows to let his "heehaw" go. Haha! (I just rode him down the "aisle", so it wasnt too scary w/the big poofy dress.)
    The book that you've written is YA fantasy? Mine is YA paranormal(?). It's about witches. I have about 7 other book ideas as well as a kids series of illustrated books.
    Well, woohoo for juju voodoo! I have more to spare if necessary. :)
    Have a good weekend and happy writing!

  4. Horses have personality just like people! In fact, they're a lot more honest about themselves too. Arabs are a hoot. I've just written a short story about one we had on the farm where I work named Nomad, or the Mad Gnome as we called him. We lost him last November and the story's a tear-jerker about it, hopefully for a book about animals, people and dying and how all are related to eache other and bound to each other. Nomad was in his forties! And right up until the day he died, he was his own person!
    The book I've written is what I would call epice fantasy, just because it's the 'group of strangers on the hunt for something, get to be friends, the 'treasure' they're after turns out to be something far different from what they expected and they have to deal with that' sort of story. I would right YA fantasy, but I was such a weird kid that I doubt anyone could relate! :) I've got TONS of story ideas. They're piled everywhere, and you never know which one is going to take the bit in its teeth and run rampant!

  5. Congratulations on your story! I can almost "see
    Saida, the unconquerable, in both her seasons.

  6. Congratulations! I really liked the story. It's short and simple. You really tell the reader a lot about horses without being overwhelming. Most importantly, I was drawn to Saida, which isn't always easy too do in such a short story.
    I hope I'm not imposing. I found your blog on Authors Blogs and stopped by to check it out.