Have you ever met someone who instantly jabbed you with looks and words? The thing is, I never was introduced to her, but she had a lot to say about me. It was my first writers conference and I was sitting with a small group, sharing a page or two of our books or stories in progress. We were there to get some feedback, inspiration, and words of wisdom. Eyes fell on me as I ran my damp hands over my pant legs, my throat desert dry, and then my voiced quivered as I started to read a section of my story:
Trembling from the tip of my ears to the edges of my hooves, I was frozen in fear. The warmth I had known my whole life suddenly vanished and unfamiliar sounds and smells surrounded me. I laid there, still and quiet. Hiding in my own darkness seemed safer while I was not brave enough to open my eyes. A soft nicker, then a warm breath softly blanketed over me. The heartbeat I’d felt and heard for the past eleven months pulsed softer but was near. I blinked hard, tried to adjust my eyes to the light. The new sounds around me grew louder, and I knew I had to open my eyes and get over my fear. A little hazy, but I knew it was my mom standing over me and felt warmth and comfort from her presence. Mom nudged me, then nudged me more. She wasn’t going to leave me alone until I stood, so I did. I quivered, stumbled, and lurched to the right, then jerked to the left and plopped down to rest. Her nudging persisted, so I tried it again. I swayed, I stumbled, I locked my knees and froze. I stood. I was standing all by myself! Then she gave me one more bump until I wobbled my way to utterly take my first drink, and this was when I first heard voices.
“He looks like a small Clydesdale with those long white socks,” exclaimed the little curly haired girl hanging on the bars of the broodmare stall door.
“He’s almost black, and I think that’s the biggest white blaze I have ever seen on a colt,” Andy said as he hung from the top bars of the hay trough, looking down on my mother and me.
“He is a handsome colt. What do you two think we should name him?” their mother asked.
“Clyde!” the twins answered in unison.
Leaving my mother’s side, I wobbled around to get a better look at these two small humans before plopping down on the soft bed of straw for a little nap. Drifting off to sleep, I thought, Clyde. They called me Clyde. I like it!
This was the beginning of Clyde the Peppermint Snatcher, from the original young reader chapter books of my If Pet’s Could Talk series. However, after the writers “gathering,” I set my dream of publishing a book aside because another attendee had decided to tell the group I had no idea what I was talking about, on and on, while my face burned a brilliant red and my heart slowly but painfully was crushed.
Ten long years passed before I had the courage to put myself out there again, be vulnerable to verbal bashings, but I wanted to follow my passion for story telling—so I tried again. My stories are sold, I can say now, around the world, and though I am far from mastering my craft, it sure is fun trying!
My message to you… Whatever your passion—Go For It Anyway! Don’t let Nay-Sayers push you down. Don’t let them win. If you love doing something, nothing should stop you.
Horse Resume: My book The Last Crabtree Girl is not only my childhood memoir but also gives readers a glimpse of life on a horse ranch in California from the first time I climbed onto a yearling Thoroughbred’s back to becoming a top show competitor in the United States. If you like horses, check it out when you have a chance!