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The (Horsey) Color of Money

“When bankers get together for dinner, they discuss Art. When artists get together for dinner, they discuss Money”--Oscar Wilde

If you're masochistic enough to follow me on the rest of my social media, you're probably aware I've been going through a wee bit of an emotional and financial rough patch lately. As a reader, all you need to know is I'm working on the next installment of the Fortune's Fool series--I'm about 33,000 words in, and I'm hoping this will be a relatively short novel that I can get out fairly quickly. But all novels have a life of their own, and it will be as long as it needs to be.

If you're still interested in what's rough on a personal level, I'll also add that you've probably noticed that lately on my social I've been much more focused on running than riding. Mainly because I've been doing much more of the former. I've run for decades now, but always more as a form of physical conditioning than competition, and my commitment to running has waxed and waned with my riding. I know some people can pursue both with equal intensity, but I've never quite been able to swing it.

I'm actually--for my age--a better runner than I am a rider. It's rather ironic, given what a lumpy, dumpy, lazy gym-class-hating kid I was, although I will say, even then, I always excelled at distances, even walking or just riding my bike around the neighborhood. I'd even beg to be able to run/walk the track in school rather than learn "teamwork" by having a volleyball surgically implanted between my front teeth. Usually I was refused.

Running suits my methodical, solitary nature, and the fact it's a very simple activity. But another nice thing about running is, that, well, it's cheap. Of course, people who run who have never ridden horses will talk about how much money they spend on shoes, watches, race fees...and, like many simple sports (or activities like yoga), it's possible to spend far more money than is essential, for some additional benefits (or just because some people enjoy lighting money on fire for a hobby). But after pursuing riding as a non-horse owner, even on a casual competitive level, sometimes I chuckle when someone talks about what a crazy amount of money it is to drop $150 bucks on a pair (or two) of shoes for themselves that will last 6 months, or a $80 entry fee. It's not that these sums for a poor writer (me, I'm that poor writer) are chump change, but versus what's actually necessary to spend on even a retired horse in a field to keep him moving about...running as a sport is still far more accessible than horses. (Or saiing, tennis, hockey, or any other sports that require extensive amounts of coaching and gear, but unlike those other stereotypical rich person pursuits, you can't put the "living equipment" in storage with horses.)

It's with good reason that horse people talk about money constantly--who has it, and who doesn't--because people who try to do horses without it often suffer. Even (more) midde-class people who do horses need a basic level of skill to make trading labor for rides useful. Running requires a certain amount of grit, a willingness to put on shoes and make a fool of yourself, and a healthy enough body. These aren't small things, either, but they are, at minimum slightly more accessible than horses.

So I've been running more and even entered a few races. I love the sense of freedom running gives me, despite the fact it's often assumed to be an unsmiling, body-mortifying, self-hating activity (when women do, of course, no one thinks that of men who run). But I admit that some of the relief I've felt is also the relief of spending less money on an unnecessary hobby that feels like a necessity (riding).

I guess one benefit horses will have given me (besides a subject to write about and countless lessons about myself, comfortable and uncomfortable) is appreciating how varied the concept "a lot of money" is to different people. But I am more of a poet than a banker, alas, so I fear that when I am around people, I will often have money worries on my mind than poetry worries.

People have asked me about starting a Patreon in the past. I admit, I'm not the sort of writer who creates books linearly, so while I'd love to share my rough drafts with a core of eager readers, I'm not great about taking feedback or writing in a way that would be understandable to everyone. But if anyone desires "other types of content" from me, let me know, and I'll think about how to deliver it. Also, if anyone needs a freelance writer, just email me, and we can talk rates!

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