Monday, May 9, 2011

Twenty-to-One Shots

So I started watching the Derby with my Dad when I was a kid. My mom'd had a horse when she was young, and she'd always spoken of it as being this sort of magical playmate.

I was scared of horses back then, but I liked looking at them. Then at camp one summer I was assigned to the stables, and ultimately got over my fear.

In my 20s, I fell in with this group of guys about 15 to 20 years older than me. They were old bachelor curmudgeons who I met because I worked with one of them. I was his boss. He was my senior editor.

That arrangement was ridiculous, but he was very cool about it and a huge help to me in that difficult workplace.

One afternoon I met up with them at a local LSU hangout The Chimes (link). They were smoking stogies and arguing the best performance by Orson Welles. The Mars radio show was tossed out as was Citizen Kane. I weighed in with The Stranger and instantly upped my cred.

They started tolerating my presence, and before long they were including me in their rituals, one of which was juleps and the Derby on race day.

Before it was all over they'd even invited me to their annual Christmas Eve day-long "dinner" at Galatoire's in New Orleans (link). I never could go because my mom's birthday is Christmas Eve, but it was nice to be invited.

I miss those guys.

Anyway, my daughters are finally old enough to care, and on Saturday, we sat down about ten minutes before race time and I explained it all to them. It was fun. They were into it, and as we talked, I realized how much like anything involving hard work, skill, persistence, and a little bit of luck it was.

Like getting a book published, for instance.

We work hard, train, hone our skills, then we pass our horse off to an agent and hope for the best. We're advised to put our heads down, not obsess, write while you wait (or as I like to say, "just keep swimming").

Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and before long (the hope is), you'll look up and you're there. You've made it.

Right?

Who knows. You might even be the 20-1 shot, and on your 13th try, on a horse you weren't even supposed to ride, you win.

Have a great week, reader-friends!

Quick reminder: Our "Laughter is the Best Medicine" blogfest is next Monday (link). I'll post another reminder Thursday--should be a laughing good time.

Til Thursday~ <3

40 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

That's neat you eventually got in with those guys! I loved horses growing up and riding them!

Kittie Howard said...

The Chimes! Ohhhh, Lord! :)))) Didn't know there was one in Covington! In one of my LSU English classes, I sat next to a much older guy who worked in the News Dept. at WAFB. This was before your time so it couldn't have been the same guy, but you described his ilk perfectly! Bravo for handling so well what could've been a really tough situation.

Melissa said...

I love riding horses! I haven't in years. But I really miss it! I remember going to a derby race with my family one year it was so much fun!

This is such a great analogy. :)

Old Kitty said...

I didn't think I could be afraid of horses until I visited an equine rescue centre where one of the horses was a retired police horse. My goodness. He was not only stunning and gorgeous he was GIGANTIC. His name was Hercules. He was so big I stood there and cried cos he was so scarily massive and I could just imagine him being a police horse charging at people! LOL!! Aww he was lovely!!! Kept this big intelligent eye on me and followed me around his pen as I tried to move quickly down the path that lined his field onto the little donkeys next door! LOL!!

Anyway! Have a great week too! Take care
x

aspiring_x said...

i don't really follow the races, but i think there are few critters as majestic as horses! and that victory was sure something!

DEZMOND said...

I also had a horse when I was like five or something, along with piggies, sheep and a whole gang of dogs and cats :) but I remember being extremely afraid from the horse.
I generally don't support derbies because most horses die in races or after them from physical injuries and plus I wouldn't like to be ridden (no jokes, please he he ) so I wouldn't ride an animal either :)

Matthew MacNish said...

Did you hear about #TheBet? Andrew Smith and some friends had an interesting Derby related writing wager. Check his blog.

Jessica Bell said...

I've never understood the fascination with horses. Beautiful animals yes, but ... hmmm, still don't get it being a city gal and all :o)
Thanks for the blogfest reminder. I would have forgotten!

Matthew MacNish said...

Wait a minute. Your blogfest is next Monday!?! Crap. I already posted mine.

I get confused when you spring this stuff on me while I'm out of town.

Anne N Kenny said...

Sounds fun!I can totally picture you with a cigar dangling from your mouth. Also, I've always wanted a legit Mint Julep cup. I'd probably only store pens in it or something but I love the shape. :P

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I haven't watched a race since I was a little girl and my father took me to one in England. I was fasinated with how the betting worked, not that we did it in the end.

N. R. Williams said...

That was an amazing story of guy friends. I have never been so fortunate.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Sarah said...

I'm terrified of horses, but I really like this analogy to the race, I mean, road to publication!

Michelle Merrill said...

Great analogy! And I loved your story about the oldies...it's so much fun to have friends of different ages. Sounds like you had a blast :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Horse races are such a strange thing - I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're absolutely right about the analogy to publishing.

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...

Anita said...

what an uplifting post! Thank you for this. I really enjoy the stories about you and your family. :) And I'm looking forward to next Monday. That's going to be fun. ;)

Carolyn Abiad said...

I love horses, but not mucking the stables. Yuck! Maybe that's the equivalent for a major rewrite? :)

Pk Hrezo said...

I've never got into the derby before but you make it sound really fun. I did like the movie Seabiscuit, tho... does that count?? lol

ooo I'll be in Europe on your blogfest day, but I'll schedule a post and catch up when I can! ;)

Angie said...

You always have the best stories. That's a great analogy.

LTM said...

@Laura--yeah, they weren't really as old as they acted. But we had some fun times.

@Anita--Hey, glad you liked it! I'm looking forward to the hilarity myself! Me needs a good laugh~ :o) <3

@PK--I've only been to Steeplechase, and once I went to the La. Derby when I lived in Shreveport. I'm not a gambler, so I just catch the show once a year. Have FUN in Europe!!! Awesomeness~ :o) <3

Janet Johnson said...

Great comparison! Horse racing is so fascinating.

And MAN! If I had realized, I would have saved that last post for your blogfest. Doh! Off to work on another. :)

Colene Murphy said...

Oh I love horses. Great comparison! And very much needed advice on not obsessing. What a great story! Sounds like a fun gang you had there.

M Pax said...

I watched the Derby, too. I watch every year. I have since I was 8. That was when my mother forced me to go to horseback riding lessons. I was none too keen on it at first. But, I soon fell in love with it and I was very good at it. Spent my childhood in a stable.

Watching the Derby brings all of that back.

Summer Ross said...

looking forward to your blogfest. Thanks for posting

Theresa Milstein said...

I've never thought of comparing my writing journey with horse racing, but now I see it!

LTM said...

Yay, Summer! Me, too. You bet~ :o) <3

Jemi Fraser said...

Now you've got Dory singing Just Keep Swimming in my head!!

I was always a horse nut as a girl, but never got the chance to be around them more than once or twice. Sounds like you've started a fun tradition with your girls!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Leigh .. horses and me don't mix - but they look amazing when they race, and when they're parading etc ..

Life is pure hard work, we train, we climb to the top and we fall off, we plod on, we jump over, we gallop forward heads held high .. all great analogies to achievement and life itself ..

Wonderful your daughters are realising the moment .. enjoy the week (surely it won't be as eventful as the previous one - I'm going backwards to your older post!) .. cheers Hilary

Angela Felsted said...

Thanks for the reminder about the blogfest. Now I just need to think up a joke. If only I were funnier. Chris Phillips, help me, please!

Talli Roland said...

Juleps, yum!

What a great reminder that hard work does pay off!

Clarissa Draper said...

I've never been to the horseraces but those group of guys seem really cool.

Lynda R Young said...

Love the analogy and the story. Very cool :)

Lydia K said...

Great analogy! The "not obsessing" part has got to be the worst. Here's to Dory and her "just keep swimming" motto!

Ella said...

I love those unique bonds; glad you have those precious memories~
Glad you shared the Derby with your girls ;-D 555 <3

Carol Riggs said...

Hi, I'm a bit scared of horses--their heads are SO big. I mean, my whole hand could fit in there and get bitten off. LOL But I think they're gorgeous animals.

Thanks for your comment on my interview on Michelle's blog! I just wanted to say that SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES in book form is waaay better than the movie! Especially if you like creative, organic, imaginative writing. I remember being a bit disappointed in the library scene at the end, with the movie. Not quite as dramatic and tense. :) Read it, read it!!

Michelle Merrill said...

Hey Leigh...you won a critique on my blog :) Yay! I'm excited to read your work.

RaShelle said...

Leigh - Sounds like you had fun hanging with the old guys ...

I tagged you on my blog. =D

Julie Musil said...

I love that story! Oh, the tales those men must have told. Amazing.

I see WATER FOR ELEPHANTS on your sidebar. I'm reading it now. WOW. Excellent book.

LTM said...

@Hil--Right! Much quieter week. Except I'm drowning in a huge work project at the moment.

You're right, though. We work hard and work hard and that little bit of luck takes us over the top. :o) <3

MichaelWalker said...

I remember when I was a child, my father gave this beautiful horse that I adored so much, he was kind of my best friend, and we even entered in some horse racing programs and we won several races