Thursday, May 6, 2010

If I am ever published feel free to fanfic my work!

I follow one of my favorite author's blog. Recently she made a post about fan fiction and as I read it, just mere moments after she posted it, I cringed and thought to myself, "Oh wow, this isn't going to be good."

I'll be honest, I was a bit surprised by her tone in the post. I just knew it was going to cause a huge backlash. And, IMO, rightfully so.

OK, first, for those who don't know... fan fiction is basically fiction written by fans of something about that something. Like when I was 14 and I read the last of the Black Stallion books and I sat down and wrote 400 pages of story about The Black's previously unknown son out of a Shire mare. He was a huge black and white feathered stallion named Bolt, who had a blaze shaped like... well, you get the picture. I didn't know what that was, all I knew was I loved The Black and Alec and the world they lived in where dreams can come true. I read and reread, wrote and rewrote, and then one day when it was done I put it in a box and never saw it again. But it was an example of what fanfic is. I was a fan of the Black Stallion, I wrote fiction which took place in the Black's world, in which Alec and the Black made an appearance. I remember it as a deep, engaging story that was well written and full of drama. It was probably more realistically a pile of overly dramatic claptrap, but the world will never know for sure now, will they?

At any rate, I have had almost nothing else to do with fan fiction since then, aside from reading a few examples that were recommended to me for their sheer horribleness and mock-ability. I know some subjects have huge fanfiction communities... like Star Trek and Harry Potter. I know there are some skilled writers out there who write it. But honestly on the list of things I am even remotely interested in fanfiction ranks so low on the list that... lets be honest, it doesn't MAKE the list. I have no interest in writing it, reading it, or even really thinking about it. As Austin Power's might say, "that's not my bag, Baby!"

However, I know some folks for whom it IS their "bag" and I know how passionate they are about it, and about their source material and the people who create it. I know they take pride in it. and I know that being compared to a creepy old neighbor who might write porny stories about your 20-something daughter or a woman who seduces your husband (or comparing them to people selling your children into slavery as was done elsewhere) is going to ruffle their feathers. And despite the fact that this is one of my favorite authors who stepped in it... RIGHTFULLY SO.

And so it did. I've spent far too much time the last few days reading the insanity that followed once her post got sent around the fanfic world and it got me to thinking while I was cutting weeds to feed the goats...

I understand this author's desire to not see her characters used in fan fiction. I understand the fan fiction people's offense at her comparisons (I will be honest, before anyone else had even replied I found them cringeworthy myself). But as I thought about it I stopped to think of any of the number of things I have written that have never seen the light of day. What if they were published? And what if someone enjoyed reading it so much that they felt the overwhelming desire to write their own story about my character or world? How would I feel?

Well, the only thing I could compare it to was my art. A friend once sent me a picture of a tattoo made using one of my designs but changing it around, adding a lot, to where it was obvious that it had been born of my work but become a work all it's own.

How did I feel? Amazed. Touched. Honoured. Proud. Someone liked something I made and from that made something that they loved. It was not something i would have drawn, and in some ways despite the skill that was used it was kind of... over the top... but that didn't change the pride I took in knowing that someone liked something *I* made enough to make something *else* from it.

The thought of someone taking my characters or world and writing their own story actually made me a little giddy. Like the feeling I got when someone who loved my art asked me to autograph a copy of a magazine I'd been published in.

So, for future reference, if I ever sit down and actually put in enough effort to finish a book, and somehow manage to get it published, and people love it enough to want to fanfic about it.... GO FOR IT!

edit to add: she has now deleted the posts related to this issue, and turned off comments to her blog.

My new helmet is here...

And i love it! With only a small bit of padding it fits as if it were hand crafted to fit my head. It does not make me feel top heavy or like i may be turning into a massive mushroom head. It is light, and actually covers the back of my head instead of stopping somewhere midway between my neck and the point on the top of my head that my mother used to bless when I was being a pest.

So now I can get back to climbing on and hopefully not falling off of my horse. lol.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

My secret shame.

I've been hiding a secret for the last year*. It's my secret shame.

I have not been able to get my horse to do one of the most basic ground handling maneuvers. I've taught probably a dozen horses of all sizes to do this basic thing and yet I have been totally unable to get my horse to understand what I want.

I can't get him to trot in hand.

It doesn't make sense. He is reasonably good on the lead line, though he could be better. He occasionally balks or gets foolish but for the most part he is sweet and willing and compliant. But as soon as I ask him to speed up he just gets stupid. I don't mean he doesn't want to do it, I mean he acts like I want to set him on fire. He does fine on the longe line, trots at the verbal cue just fine. same with the long lines. But on the lead rope at my side he just goes bonkers. Flings his head in the air, starts to run backward, sideways. I've worked him along the fence line to keep him straight and he just goes backward but with even more drama as if the fence line has him trapped. I've done nothing different than I have done with any other horse over my 30 years around horses. I made sure he was light and giving to pressure on the halter leading, then just sped up. That usually works. If not a dressage whip in my left hand to tap his hip and get him moving forward is the next step. I've never had a horse that I needed to do anything else with, that has always worked.

So this morning I was working on some ground work before I turned him out to graze and asked for him to trot next to me and same story, one second he is fine and walking along all mellow... the next he is running backward and sideways with his head in the air and his eyes rolling back in his head.

*slaps forehead*

So I used the end of my lead to whap him in the bum and make him go forward (he has a tendency to want to back up in any situation which I do not like... You only go back when I tell you to) and he about flipped out still trying to go backward. I just kept pressure on until he went forward. Made him circle me several times. I tried holding the lead in my left hand and swinging the end with my right to make him go around me, then just straightened him out and tried to "trot" next to him... flip out again.

i seriously do not get what his reaction is all about. It's not like this is a huge critical skill for him, but there ARE times when a horse has to trot in hand (flexion test, anyone?) and the resistance I get from him just is wayyyy out of proportion to what I am asking him to do.

So... I was about to punch myself in the face in frustration when I just decided to take myself back about 14 steps. Back to just putting his feet where I want them, when I want them, as fast as I want them. We did some forward, back, side to side, around, then I made the circles bigger without making the line longer. IE: I was walking in a wider circle next to him. Then I just got about 5 steps straight forward with me next to him and stopped and gushed about how good he was. I was still holding the lead in my left hand and had a dressage whip in my right, so it wasn't actually leading him, but he trotted forward, in hand, for about 5 steps without suddenly throwing it into reverse and dashing backward with his head in the air... so I guess that is progress.

I'm going to go out for a few minutes at a time several times a day until he really gets this, even if it makes me crazy. I want to start taking him for walks around the property and along the back roads to get him used to handling out of the paddock in preparation for actually riding out some day but i need him to be wiling and focused on the lead before we do that, and his resistance to this aspect of in hand handling is a bit of a red flag that i don;t want to take him out on the ROAD until he is over his "thing" about it.

*Not really, lol. I'm being overly dramatic because I'm a doofus.

Monday, May 3, 2010


It poured rain most of the day. But i still had to go medicate the ponies swollen gnat gnawed bits and pieces among other outside stuff. Poor Mary and Brego were still pretty much as bad, if not worse, as they had been the day before. Mary is looking better today but brego is still pretty swollen. All the scabs have come off and the Swat/bag balm/fly spray seems to be keeping the gnats away. At any rate, I got drenched.

Early afternoon we got a break in the weather so i took the goats out for some browsing in the back yard.


They found a tree, lol....


and another tree:


man, they crack me up:

It's supposed to be a little drier today so i have mowing to do and work in the big barn to make room for hay. Plus i think I need to make Mary and Brego do some running around to help drain the fluid out of their swollen areas. I may just "freeschool" them instead of ground drive them... two birds with one stone and all that. Not a lot of time today to deal with each on their own.

My helmet should be on the way soon, just waiting for it to ship then I can start back on riding again. I've been flopping across his back while he grazes and he is a lot less concerned at the thought of me being up there now. Unfortunately his arm pits are still raw from the gnats so no girth until that heals all the way up.

Today is Tiff's birthday. she is 15. She is going to her grandparent's after school for a small party, her dad is supposed to stop by. I sure hope their visit goes well. *sad sigh* We took her and her pet boy (lol), Jacob, out for dinner on saturday for her birthday. They are such funny kids.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Biting gnats can go DIAF.

DIAF stands for "die in a fire" in internet lingo.


All three horses have swollen delicate parts because of an invasion of biting gnats. Slathering them in a mix of bag balm and Swat and Skin So Soft, then spraying them heavily with oil based fly spray seems to be keeping the gnats themselves away but they are all terribly tender and swollen.

I checked the goats and they were fine, a half hour later i look out there and they are FREAKING OUT! So now THEY are coated in bag balm and fly spray too.

Mary's swelling is worse today than it was yesterday and poor Brego is just swollen and sore.

The horses were well coated in fly spray before this happened but that didn't stop these evil satan spawn. GR!!!!