Monday, January 19, 2015

"Horses Taught Me Emotional Writing, and Seeing"

Howdy Friends!

An editor once told me I am an emotional writer. She explained it was easy to "feel" the emotions of my characters, and indeed my story. Many of the reviews on Amazon about my novel We'll Have The Summer, have commented on being able to feel the emotions of Mary and Sam, and all the characters.
Kessy's emotions run deep.
One negative I do get is that I don't describe my characters physically often, or deeply enough. And that is true. I don't invest a lot of words on that. I don't really see my characters as what they are as much as who they are. I drop hints as I feel and see them, enough so that the reader can see and understand them, but their aura that is them is what I really see and guides me in my description.

It's the same way, and always has been, for horses with me. I never really notice conformation; I would make a lousy judge! I see them, and their aura as who they are, their emotions, attitudes and personalities. I may not even notice if they have one white sock or three, or none. Physical characteristics are so much less important to me than the spirit. And that's how I write.

Horses taught me to see their spirit and who they are, not what they are. That's how they talk to me. That's what they taught me, and that's how I write. And of course that's how I see people, too. Who they are, not what they are. I see their spirit, aura, personalities, emotions, and that's how I remember—and write.

Here is one of my all time favorite character descriptions I ever wrote for Anaba in my novel We'll Have The Summer.  "First, Sam removed Bullet’s saddle and bridle then turned him free to pick at the wiry grass. Then he simply folded his legs and squatted next to the fire, facing the old Navajo. He sucked a deep breath from the pipe handed him, held the rank smoke long enough to burn his mouth, puckered his lips, and allowed it to drift out. Sam looked across the fire at his dear friend and studied the faded shirt covering shoulders made uneven by the many years, and the deeply furrowed skin sagging around Anaba’s still keen eyes. Such a man was Anaba, that it was necessary to study his worn-out body closely to notice the wear of it. The spirit living in those rich black eyes created a cloaking aura which prevented all but the most determined examiner from seeing the toll the years had taken on the mortal Navajo. But even in the quickest glance, that vibrant spirit was abundantly obvious."

I thank my teachers, horses I've met, for showing me how to be an emotional writer.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry

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