Horseback riding is one of those things that forces life lessons on you even when you don't want them. It's like philosophy punching you down the throat. Via a half-ton animal.
I went out to the stables last night hoping for an easy ride. I've been a little worked up and tense about things in my day to day life: book release, wedding stuff, work stuff. The temperature was perfect and it was a glorious blue-sky day, so I figured I'd pull out Giraffe and do some fun, easy fieldwork.
Well, I did fieldwork, but it was neither easy nor fun.
Writing's like that too sometimes. Even when you come up with a stellar idea, you have days (or weeks) where you sit down in front of a blank page and just stare at it. Like all creative ventures, it's not enough to have all the right parts of the equation. Idea + Motivation + Skill = Good Book in theory, but in practice, there's another variable in there. You need that extra something; spark or inspiration or what have you.
It's more like this: Idea + Motivation + Skill + X = Good Book. And you spend all your time solving for X.
Last night I went out on horseback hoping for a fun ride, and instead the horse freaked out at everything. We did a bucking/rearing tour of, let's see... a tractor (MONSTER), a creek (WATER MONSTER), a bush (ALSO MONSTER), and as far as I could tell, empty air (MONSTER MONSTER MONSTER).
I've been riding for a long time, and my specialty is problem horses, so I never actually came off in the field - it happens to me, of course, just not very often. But when I dismounted and went to run up the stirrups before heading in, the horse swung his head around to nuzzle me and jammed the bone of his nose into my finger.
To clarify, the last time a horse full-on clocked me with its nose, it broke my nose.
Talk about adding insult to injury. I came out of a fairly harrowing hour of riding completely unscathed, only to have the horse mess me up by accident on the ground.
Like with writing, there is no getting around it: occasionally the things you love just aren't any fun. Occasionally all your efforts just blow up in your face. Sometimes you ride the tiger; sometimes the tiger rides you.
How well you can roll with the punches is what makes or breaks you, I guess. Nobody really wants to spend an evening debating whether or not their finger is broken, but it is what it is. You either suck it up, let it go, and move on, or you don't come back.
I keep coming back, broken bones and all.