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Terri Farley
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Writer's Spell Box : Visiting Horse Fair in My Mind

Dear Readers, 
When I was a little girl, my mother belonged to a recipe-swapping club. It started in a national Methodist magazine, led to many pen-pal-style exchanges and a few lasting friendships. 
I don't know the name of the pie crust expert who sent my mother a braced-in-cardboard print of THE HORSE FAIR, by Rosa Bonheur for me, because she knew I was "horse crazy."  I do know I stared at the painting for hours and hundreds of stories bloomed in my brain. 

People ask authors "Where do you get your ideas?" I'm likely to say "everywhere," but looking at this painting now, I realize that lots of horses living in my books now, were present then.  
Dead-center you see a fiery white horse and a rearing black.
Both have the hot-blooded conformation of Arabians, but the black, especially, shows feathers above his hooves. They might well have come from today's Calico Mountains or from "The Challenger."  Did they sire the fictional Phantom and his son New Moon? Two sorrels -- one floating in the background, one on the left, darting beside a stalwart gray, remind me of Hoku. In another light, the gray could be the steeldust mare Medusa.

The men in painting try to dominate the horses, but the artist doesn't allow it. I learned recently that young Rosa dressed as a boy for a year to sketch the real life horse fair. 
Thank you, Rosa! 

An observer might say half of my work is staring into space. In fact, I'm staring into my child-mind where no editorial guidelines, market thirst or sales figures exist.  
It's a rich place, a realm of heart and imagination and a good place for writers to visit. 
See you there,

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