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MFRW 52-week Blog Challenge
This week's prompt concerns time travel: when and where would we want to go and why. Of course, as you can tell from the title of this blog entry, the prompt sends me straight to Andrew Marvell's poem "To His Coy Mistress" and the line "Had we but world enough and time..."
If you've been reading this blog for more than a few weeks, then you know I make some strange word associations.
Frankly, I would not wish to go back in time. Sure, there are aspects of past ages that intrigue me, but I have a firmly established preference for modern conveniences with regard to hygiene, medicine, transportation, and political agency. I like not being chattel. I don't wish to live without electricity or indoor plumbing. I enjoy the variety of foods available to me throughout the year. I certainly don't want to go back to the days when my body would have been constricted and constrained by corsets or other torture devices worn for the sake of fashion.
Aspects of past ages that I'd like to bring back include the perceived commonality of good manners and polite behavior. I suspect that perception isn't as accurate as I wish it were. I wish that women weren't socially obligated to shave their bodies in these modern times. Between razors and cats, my skin is dotted and striped with pricks and scratches. Connect the dots, folks.
Had we world enough and time, I'd like to get a glimpse of the far future. Will it be the fascinating place of incredible opportunity and learning portrayed by Star Trek? Will humanity devolve into dystopian brutality? Need our race's path swing entirely one way or the other? No one can answer that.
Now that we've settled the when, what about the where? There are a lot of places I'd like to visit--at my leisure. "At my leisure" is the operative phrase in that sentence. I've traveled for business and that sucks. Currently, I'd like to tour the countries of Europe, including the British Isles and Scandinavia. I have no desire to visit any place in Africa. I think Japan and New Zealand would be wonderful to visit, but not necessarily Australia. That continent is really trying to kill you. Russia would be interesting, but not during winter. I'm ambivalent about Mexico. Central America doesn't appeal. Some of the countries in South America could be fascinating. I'd like to see Iceland and the Caribbean islands. My husband and I plan to go to Alaska next year to visit our younger son who's stationed in Anchorage.
More than just seeing places, there are ways I'd like to see them. I dream of going on an "equitour" of both Ireland and Italy. Think of it, a horseback journey pausing every night at a comfortable, usually historic place. What a lovely way to see the countryside and meet people--as well as get in some quality (and quantity) time in the saddle!
Much of my travel dreams and ambitions will never happen. I know that. But then again, I'm a fiction writer and, as such, I deal in dreams.
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“Well, hey, if it ain’t our resident author,” the waitress greeted them, cracking her gum between her teeth. Her bright eyes turned predatory upon examining the handsome elegance of the man accompanying Corinne. “And who’s this? Ain’t one of yer brothers, is he?”
“No, Tansy, this is Uberon,” Corinne answered with a laugh. “ He’s just visiting.”
Ignoring the cool look the tall man gave her, the waitress tapped Uberon’s shoulder and said, “Well, y’all can visit me any time, good lookin’.”
An unaccustomed feeling of jealousy surged through Corinne, spurring her to respond, “Get your own man, Tansy. This one’s taken.” The waitress lauged and leaned forward. "You let me know if he’s got any brothers.” She winked and got to business. “Y’all know what ya want?”
Corinne shook her head and relaxed, not quite knowing why she’d staked her claim to Uberon like that. It simply wasn’t like her. So, she placed a generous order that included a slice of the coconut cream pie that was the diner’s specialty. Tansy looked expectantly at Uberon who simply replied, “I’ll have the same.”
“Sure thing, handsome.” She winked at Corinne with irrepressible good nature and sauntered off to place the order.
“Forward woman,” Uberon commented in an undertone.
“Tansy wants a husband so badly she can taste it,” Corinne explained with empathy. “She barely managed to finish high school and good jobs are scarce around here. But she’s goodhearted; there’s no malice at all in her. She’d make some farmer a devoted, hardworking wife.”
“You are kind.”
Corinne shrugged. “Her prospects aren’t good. She deserves a man who will love her and treat her well—and there just aren’t that many eligible bachelors in Winterset. Most kids here grow up and leave for college and never come back. Those who don’t leave either can’t or they’re tied to family farms.”
She looked around the diner, silently noticing that most of the patrons were a generation or two older than she. She returned her gaze to Uberon’s and held it. “This village is dying. It’s too far from Athens to catch the university crowd.”
Uberon listened as his mate explained.
“About six or seven years ago, the village council decided to sponsor a farmer’s market to capitalize on what this area does have, a lot of vegetable gardens, farms, and old-fashioned handicrafts. The Christmas fair gets in some regionally acclaimed folk artists and visitors from a pretty large area, but it’s not enough to sustain a hotel or do more than add a temporary boost to the local economy.”
Corinne paused and realized she’d been lecturing him. Blushing, she took a breath and apologized. “Sorry, Uberon. I got a little carried away there.”
“You care about these people as a good queen should,” he replied.
“Queen?” she spluttered and shook her head. “I am no queen.”
His eyes took on a far-away look and he added so quietly she had to strain to hear the words, “I lost the caring of my people and left them to my son, who never cared at all.”
“Your son?” she echoed.
“Marog. He is dead.”
Overcome by sympathy as well as confusion, Corinne reached across the table and covered his hand with hers. “Oh, Uberon, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories.”
He turned his hand to curl around hers. He lifted it and leaned forward to press a kiss to the knuckles. “You bring me naught but joy.”
So, the search for a solution to the "Diva problem" continues.
I thought I'd found a sensible swap: a 10-year old, well trained Halflinger mare for my 11-year old, green broke Morgan mare. I liked the mare well enough and she suited my purpose, but I didn't feel any sort of connection to her. The deal fell through, as the Halflinger's owner decided she couldn't bear to part with the horse. It's probably better that way. The Halflinger's owner offered to purchase Diva for a price much lower than what I paid for her.
I've invested almost $10,000 into Diva (purchase price + training fees). If I sell her, I at least want to recoup the purchase price.
Another person contacted me, offering to swap her 18-year old, "performance trained" Quarter Horse mare. I drove 100 miles one way on Sunday afternoon to see that horse.
The mare is indeed well-trained, not pretty. She ties. She appears unflappable. She also has a calcified knee that makes me leery of accepting. The horse's age isn't a deal breaker. The lovely Lady Anastasia was 19 when I brought her home 15 years ago. But I have never known a Quarter Horse to live past its mid-twenties, so I'd have to be prepared for only a few years of being able to use the horse. (Morgans tend to be a long-lived breed and I anticipated getting 20 years out of Diva before needing to retire her.)
The Quarter Horse appears to be exactly what I want: not too large, well-trained, and a mare. Except ... she doesn't make my heart go pitter-patter. My heart flutters with excitement when I look upon "the monster." Despite my difficulties with her, I like Diva. This Morgan is what my dreams are made of, and I very badly want to make it work.
(A lot of other equestrians are puzzled by why I prefer mares to geldings. People forget that mares, like stallions, still have all their hormones. I find them more responsive than geldings. I don't mind a mare's moodiness; I understand it. I'm rather moody myself.)
But I can provide the home the old Quarter Horse mare needs, the kind of home her owner wants for her.
What to do? What to do? I discussed this with my husband Sunday evening.
I've already decided against a straight swap. However, I have another option brewing in my mind. Now I just have to see whether the Quarter Horse's owner will go for it. It will mean that I spend more money on Diva, probably a lot more money. It might mean that I end up with three horses to feed--at least until Stasia passes away. (Sure, it's morbid, but Stasia's 34 years and declining rapidly. I have to keep that in mind, because death will come for her sooner rather than later.)
In another update, I finished a short story written for an anticipated second compilation of stories in collaboration with Russ Towne. While the stories will still fall under the "western fiction" umbrella, we're focusing more on romantic storylines, i.e., western romances. They'll continue to be sweet, meaning not explicit and suitable for a general audience. I have to admit, writing convincing romance without getting down and dirty is a challenge.