Do you get distracted when you write? I do.
The act of writing itself brings up ideas like a percolating coffee pot so that I’m flooded with new stories, poems, even novel ideas. And then, there’s life. Living in Kansas for a while has given me the need to put horses in everything I write. A new essay about living idealism? Sure, there are metaphors about white knights and riding to the rescue. You see what I mean. It’s solely because there are horses down the street from me in both directions, and many in my way to and from everyday errands, so I am always admiring them, talking to them, watching their nuzzling companionship. But do I really need to make horse story every project? Nope.
What to do? Well, I have a stable that’s a center of action for one new novel, so I’m trying to pour all my horse preoccupations there, and let the rest go.
Of course the more I write about the Romanies I know, the more horses crop up, because I’ve never met a Romani person who doesn’t love horses. (Many of our families have traditionally bred or trained or shoed horses.) But that’s a horse of a different color, so to speak. Horses there are not extraneous.
So today, off to work on a novel set in Chicago with nary a horse in sight. Unless, perhaps, a Chicago policeman riding a horse is needed. . . .
BY JAMES WRIGHT
Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl’s wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
There. That’s enough horses for today. Back to work.