Let’s Start a Community of Horse Racing Writers…How About You?
Everyone who’s a fan of horse racing has favorite: fave horses, jockeys, owners, trainers.
Many of us also have favorite media people: for example, my hero-writer is Steve Haskin. I loved Vic Zast’s writing, and I miss him. (As do so many race fans.)
Now, it seems that lately I’ve spent a good deal of time encouraging others to write. I’ve met some people in whom I’ve seen the light of the Writerly Way, and I feel big-sisterly toward them. I want to goose them along, to help them grow the guts to put their feelings into words.
I’d like to talk to you about this for a minute, as well. Yes, you. I’m sure that you have many favorites in this sport, including the aforementioned active players. You may also have media faves like Steve or Vic–perhaps Donna Brothers is your heroine. Or Steve Byk.
There are so many people and entities who/that may be entrenched in your heart. Perhaps you’re a Three Chimneys fan, or always have loved Calumet. Maybe you admire a certain racing administrator, or organization–or rescue/retirement group.
So you have favorites, across-the-board.
And it’s summer. You may have found your way to Saratoga for at least part of the renowned meet. It may be your first time, or your 43rd summer. Whatever your experience, I’m absolutely certain that every day that you awaken and make your way to the track–whether it be Saratoga or another–your heart responds with a resounding, joyous, “Yes!”
Now, I must ask you: have you ever thought about recording your feelings about these horses, people, farms and tracks? I mean, other than on Facebook or Twitter.
Technology has turned the Earth’s people into a globe of pseudo-communicators. I write, “pseudo-” because I do not believe that tweeting or posting “Luv yer pikcher, Dude. <3” constitutes genuine communication.
For one thing–and yes, I’m a pain in the neck–grammar and spelling have gone the way of the pterodactyl in our (western) society. The texting world has given blanket permission to flaunt one’s ignorance. Humans have become pseudo-communicators: 9/10 of the time, the writing on Facebook is unintelligible.
There are times when I read something that an FB friend has posted and wonder if I’m having a stroke. It seems that I should understand it, but–as many times as I read it through–I cannot comprehend it. A verb is missing. Or a subject. Misspellings run rampant. It drives me insane, to see people whom I assume to be at least reasonably bright, writing in a way that would embarrass their first-grade teachers.
I’ll stop ranting about this now. Just hear me when I say that writing on your Facebook wall does not make you a communicator. But you can become a genuine communicator, for…
I believe that there’s a communicator–a writer–inside of you. Hidden beneath all the things you’ve unlearned at the knee of Zuckerberg’s Facebook–beneath the unspoken permission to babble like an idiot–lurks a human soul who wants to communicate genuinely, in a way that truly is comprehensible. And–even more exciting–in a way that stirs the soul and inspires others to think. Imagine that–you have that power, if you choose to find it, massage it and bring it out into the open.
You can write. I know you can. And the best way to figure out that you’re a writer–and to get excited about it–is to document things that you love. Write about those hot, sultry days at Saratoga Race Course. Tell yourself–and eventually, others–about your favorite horse, trainer, farm or racing event.
At the end of the day, of every day of your life–and of your life as a race fan–you have thoughts and feelings about what transpired. You feel that your horse got clipped–and the other critter wasn’t disqualified. Your fave jockey got hurt–and you’re worried about her/him. A farm you admire is sending your favorite stallion to South America. Do you think that Indian Charlie is a boob?
How do you feel about these things? I know, as do you, that a few characters, banged out on Twitter or Facebook, won’t do justice to the ire/joy/concern/bliss that you’re feeling. Your soul seeks full expression, as only writing can provide.
So I challenge you: take some time this summer–maybe even, tonight–to write down what’s in your head. You may choose to write it Old School (pen and paper)–or you may write on your computer. However you do it–your experience is only half-full if you just walk away from the experience, itself, and don’t take some time to tell yourself about it.
Your words may never see the light of day. You may be too shy, or just not ready, to share with others.
Or you may be exploding with things that you must write, and that you need to share with the world.
However you do it–privately, or preparing to expose your guts to the universe–please, consider this journey of horse-racing-writing with me. Horse racing needs bright new voices–and I do not mean that you must be “young,”necessarily. By “new,” I mean voices of racing writers who are just-now being born. Writers like you.
I believe that inside every person is a God-given desire to communicate and to be understood. In every language, we have words. Those words did not evolve to this point, only to de-volve again into a series of robotic blips and punctuation marks.
Words seek expression: they’re living things. Take those living words inside your heart, and set them free on paper or screen. Horse racing has some pretty great writers–and you may be one of them, waiting to be born. Please give it a shot–if not for yourself, for all the generations of human souls who’ll come after you, for whom your words may be a challenge, a balm or a blessing.
As they say, you never know ’til you try, Hemingway.
N.B. I’ll probably end up kicking myself for this, but if you feel so compelled, please contact me and share some of your newly-discovered creativity with me. I’d love to see how you’re doing. 🙂