Writing can take you to unexpected places, but I never thought it would land me on a horse that has gold and silver sides.
I had decided to write a children’s book about a little girl’s trip to New York. What could be more authentic than a ride in one of the famous horse drawn carriages?
I went to Central Park to view them for myself. Horses decked out in colorful plumes, attached to ornate carriages.. But I was uneasy. Part of me agrees with the increasing view that pulling these heavy carriages hour after hour on concrete pavements is unfair to the animals. To complicate matters, the new mayor – de Blasio – declared he would end these rides. Despite many people saying that the carriages were “too much a historic part of New York” to be eliminated, I didn’t like the idea of writing a scene that might make my book seem outdated.
What does a writer do in a case like this? The solution was to find an alternative. Would the Park’s famed merry-go-round – the largest in the country – be as exciting to young readers? When questioned, my ten-year-old granddaughter enthusiastically declared that it would.
Since seeing is not only believing but leads to more vivid writing, I went to Central Park to see the carousel for myself. Standing in front all those children whirling around on brightly painted horses, I was back in my own childhood. How I had loved riding the merry-go-round — up, down, around and around, fearlessly galloping across the plains, the wind in my hair, reaching for the brass ring (almost toppling off the horse).
The mature side of me asked the ticket taker journalistic questions – how many horses (57), how long and expensive each ride, etc. But the child within me asked for something else: a ticket. I would ride back into my youth.
Not so fast! To my embarrassment I was unable to get my considerably older body up on the horse. The assistant sarcastically informed me I had chosen the biggest one.
Finally climbing awkwardly (why had I worn a skirt?) on a smaller horse, I waited eagerly for the bell that would begin this journey back. A bell clanged and music of sorts began, but somehow my horse didn’t seem to be moving up and down as high as I’d remembered. I watched his hoofs – yes, they were moving. But not the way they had when I was a child. And where was my brass ring? Nowhere in sight.
When I finally dismounted, the friend who’d come with me asked if I had enjoyed the ride. “The horse didn’t move much,” I muttered. He assured me he’d been watching and that the horse did
But something was missing: the child who has galloped out of sight.
Fortunately, we can conjure up our lost rides in our writing.
WEBSITE: www. annehosansky.com
BOOKS: “Widow’s Walk” – available through iUIniverse.com; “Turning Toward Tomorrow”- Xlibris.com; “Ten Women of Valor” – Amazon.com and CreateSace.com. Also Amazon KIndle.