Wednesday, February 6, 2008
I have disparate interests. I guess that makes me more complicated than some folks. In revising my CV, these contradictions present themselves in various ways. That's why when I sent out my CV in response to a request for possible employment mentoring beginning teachers, I was wondering how my writing experience would play. There, next to memberships in professional organizations like the American Psychological Association's high school affiliate, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Council for the Social Studies, sits my NTWA membership. National Turf Writers Association. My colleagues in the Bay Area Writing Project have always found it fascinating that I managed to balance two worlds. Thoroughly supportive, for them, it was always about the writing.
People still judge the racetrack through a clouded lens. I guess they can't get past the gambling. Good reason for some. That addiction has taken its toll in similar fashion as other addictions. But it's always been about the horse and the horse people for me. Sure, I'll bet a race or two or three. I don't owe explanations to anybody, yet the thought of being judged lingers. People harbor so many myths about the racetrack. I think that's what kept me so interested for so long. Doing stories on trainers who had advanced degrees from prestigious schools, or grooms with more compassion than many doctors can be quite satisfying. Watching, with the breeder, the first race of a "baby" can be breathtaking. I love the tradition, the color, the mind numbing puzzle of figuring out a race. I love the characters (they're all there) like Adrian the OCD horse player, Hoover or Tony or Henry, all grooms who could be in any film. I respect the knowledge of trainers I've interviewed; the way they know individual personalities, the psychology of their animals, the body language and their ability to communicate without speaking. I been fortunate to see and discuss horses with the rich and famous, and the poor and infamous. Sometimes it was just the rich and poor; depends on how you define those terms. But the friends I have with low level claimers bring just as much awe and insight as those with graded stakes winners.
Living vicariously through the experiences of my favorite jockeys has been with me since I was 10. A bicycle can be a stretch runner too.
So now that it's time in this new year to renew my memberships in professional organizations, I'm taking stock and reconsidering a few. I'm pleased that my voice will still be heard in The Blood-Horse magazine from time to time. Turf writer is only one part of the whole. But all writing is creative writing. Isn't it?