The Princess and the Pea

Before I post the fabulous photos Deb and her husband, Ron, took of me while I was at their “horse heaven” in Abbotsford, I need to think through (which, for me, always means “write through”) the many comments and opinions I’ve heard thus far about Ground Manners. A Novel.  I suppose I could describe my readers as either general fiction readers or horse-owning readers.  The general readers enjoyed the storyline and/or the historical bits and/or the narrative style (which some thought poetic and others thought easy to read).  I was thrilled when Evelyne Villers, journalist and horsewoman, caught the few witticisms laced throughout the text here and there.  I’m not sure anyone else did, or if they did, they didn’t see fit to mention them.  That omission brings me to the horse-owning readers.  

Read More

Jane: what were you thinking?!

As Tyler and I continue to update and perfect this blog, I came across a comment on my old blogspot on Google.  “Anonymous” informed me that Jane Smiley–a Pulitzer Prize Winner and certainly one of my five favourite novelists–is pro-horse-slaughter…yes, you read correctly:  Jane advocates the slaughter of horses..despite the misery of transport, despite the fact of the egregious and cruel manner of their slaughter.  Here is the link to prove it (provided by Anonymous):  http://therail.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/01/why-horse-slaughter-is-necessary/

Now here’s the thing:  generally speaking, I can separate the crime from the criminal.  In other words, an offender may offend, but that is not the sum total of his/her being. Sometimes, it’s just an anomalous action or behaviour which is born of circumstance (for example, if  you’re starving to death and decide to eat a dog, or even maybe a fellow human being, in order to survive).  You cannot be summed up as a human being, as a person, by that one, unique action or decision…can you?  So, in this case, because Jane has done much, by her writing, to celebrate the qualities of the horse (and is a stellar writer to boot), I find it hard to vilify her position (not her; her position) on this matter.   And yet…and yet, Jane, who has much to do with horses–particularly race horses, but all sorts of horses–should know better; should, by dint of her love and knowledge (read A Year at The Races) of this grand mammal, full of speed and light and strength and love, yes love, and loyalty…should, I say, know better.  I snailmailed a copy of my novel to Jane a mere two weeks ago…after much agonizing, much thought (after all:  why would a renowned author like her even want to read a book like mine?) and now, I’m sorry.  If someone like Jane, who so profoundly understands the connection between us and mammals, between mares and their offspring, between stallions and their herds, still believes that, after their usefulness to us is done, they should be slaughtered and eaten…well, all I can say is:  boy, have I got my work cut out for me.  In the meantime, Jane, consider the phenylbutazone you yourself administer to your own stable, and do some research on its fatal effects on humans who are served those horses, now horseflesh, at table:  lean, tender…yummy.  It’s to die for, I tell you.  See you in the funnies, Jane.

Read More

All Laugh Lines are Cruelty-free (Aren’t They?)

I met a man at a job fair earlier this week who recognized me as a boomer straightaway. When I asked how he could tell, he skated deftly and said I exuded that self-confidence so characteristic of boomers.  Good–no, great–save! I could tell he was a seasoned people-handler, not to say people-wrangler.  It was sweet talking with someone who got my sense of humour instantly.  That doesn’t happen so often that I can overlook it when it does happen.

Read More