As a member of North Carolina Writers Network (NCWN) we have several meetings and exercises that sharpen our writing skills. Of all the writer’s groups I have had the pleasure of joining, NCWN has by far offered the most opportunities for writers to learn. And they are fun!
As an example, at our last meeting our moderator gave us six prompts to include in a story within 750 words. Here are the prompts:
- The name of a continent,
- a horse’s gait,
- the title of a song or musical group from the 60s,
- a food you would requet as your last meal,
- the name of a gemstone, and
- a Zodiac sign.
Here is my thesis attempt:
Bentley my Tennessee Walker’s cantor gait keeps the rhythm to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song Have You Seen the Rain. I saw them in concert when visiting my cousin in Europe. Topaz is her name, being a Virgo, she’s a meticulous cook. Man, can she cook barbeque ribs. (197 words)
This gave me an idea of what could be done. Not good but it included all six prompts. After thinking about the challenge for a while, I gave it another go, several times actually. Here’s the final piece.
Bentley, my Peruvian Paso, canters to the beat of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song Have You Seen the Rain. His paso llano keeps perfect rhythm with that song every time we train. I can tell that he really enjoys the music; he holds his head high, his eyes are alert, his tail bounces with the beat, and his four-beat, lateral gait is more pronounced.
My cousin Topaz told me that horses enjoy music as much as we do and tend to keep in step with different rhythms. She should know, she breeds Peruvians and Pasos in South America. Their horse ranch is at the foothills of the Salcantay Mountain range.
That side of the family moved to the Cusco Region when she was a baby so they could improve the bloodline of their horses. The Cusco Region is known for its feral horses with superior bloodlines; the feral herds tend to stay in the canyons surrounded by steep mountains. Needless to say, they’re hard to find, much less catch.
Fortunately, they’ve been successful in catching several horses over the years because their stock has many award-winning foals. My husband and I rode two of her mares through the Andes Mountains to Machu Picchu last year when our family reunion was held at their ranch. I rode Taurus because she’s a bit shorter than Scorpio but she is bull-headed. Scorpio, on the other hand, is a mystery woman – you never know when she’s going to kick – but you know it is coming – somewhere — sometime.
Topaz even prepared some of her famous Charqui for us to eat along the trail. Being from Texas, we’ve always eaten jerky but had never tried Alpaca or Llama jerky so it was a treat and was delicious.
I asked for her recipe but she refused saying it was a family secret. When I reminded her that I was part of the family she just laughed. She thought for a moment then said that if I could ride Gemini for three minutes, she’d give me her recipe.
Gemini is a five-year-old stallion who hasn’t been ridden by anybody, not even the most experienced morochucos who have been taming wild horses for decades could stay on him. Quite simply, Gemini was mean and hated people. He not only bucked everyone but he tried to kill anyone who came near him.
Did I want that Charqui recipe bad enough to risk life and limb? My husband and I talked about it for a few minutes then I told her to saddle him and meet me in the corral. Once again, she laughed.
Did I mention that Bentley is my pleasure horse? And that we raise saddle and bareback broncs for rodeo stock. My husband and I train broncs for a living and work with them 8 to 10 hours a day; staying on a bronc for three minutes is barely a warmup. To top that, we recently acquired our PRCA member Stock Contractor card so we’ll be placing broncs for the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show next year.
I guess the cuz had forgotten that little fact. But then again, we’ve been goading each other since childhood. Now to the showdown.
Yes, I not only got that recipe but we got Gemini, too – for breeding stock.