Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday, May 4, 2008
Dark Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Nothing like waking up on Derby Day with a migraine. And I mean the Anytime-you-want-to-stop-jabbing-that-icepick-in-my-eye-
would-be-great migraine.

Skipping out was not an option.

To backtrack a bit: The show was fine Friday night. I said my farewells to the actor who’s leaving the show (while I’m covering the Preakness). I was surprised he remembered that it was our last show together, but he did. Hopefully, our paths will cross again – he’s one of the good ones, both on and off stage. I’ll probably send something over to his opening night this summer.

Finished The Summoner. It follows high fantasy quest tradition, and it does so well. There’s some wonderfully imaginative and inventive stuff in there. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. There were a few lapses of logic I found difficult to roll with, but perhaps they were set deliberately in order to set up something in a future book. And the copy editor should be fired. It is inexcusable that a book on the store shelves should mix up “where” and “were” AND have such a high rate of typos. I was furious, especially on behalf of the author, who I am sure pointed all of these out in the galleys. Obviously, the manuscript was only run through spell check and a copy editor didn’t actually sit there and read it. The amount of mistakes in books lately is truly, truly appalling. When I pay full price for a book, I expect all the steps in the production process to be taken, and I expect the book to be free of typos.

Yesterday morning, I had to go grocery shopping before the race card began because I needed cat food and had to make the stuff for the party.

I had trouble getting going, though. I was overtired, which meant I couldn’t retain body heat, so I was freezing and shivering. Rethought my clothing and opted for something warmer, but still spent most of the day wrapped in a horse’s blanket (don’t ask, really, my on-site colleagues are going to be teasing me about it until I’m ninety).

I got some potentially positive responses to some ads I recently answered, so that’s sorted. Llewellyn’s hired me for a 2010 calendar piece. That’s sorted. I may be working for a travel site. I’m up for a script job. All good.

I was late getting to the races because I received bad news from a friend that another close friend’s father died last night. So I wanted to see what I could do.

The races were quite interesting, for the most part, and, prediction-wise, I did pretty well.

Although I had Big Brown in my picks as a safety, I honestly didn’t think he’d keep his head together enough to win. The fact that he did indicates he could very well be one of the “freak” horses.

The tragedy of the day was the death of Eight Belles. As the day progressed, I fell more and more in love with her: Her beauty, her poise, her intelligence. She was radiant. I went from thinking she’d finish ninth or tenth in the Derby to believing she could be in the top three.

She came in second – then fell, breaking both front ankles, and had to be euthanized on the track. Completely heartbreaking. But, it’s about time the general public see the dark side of horse racing, with both Barbaro’s accident two years ago and this one. Positive change will not come in this sport, and certainly not quickly enough, unless tens of thousands of people realize what’s going on.

Banning horse racing is not, in my opinion, the answer. Banning the sport would result in tens of thousands of horses going to the slaughterhouse, which is certainly worse than what’s happening now. The price of dog food would go down, but it would be an equine holocaust.

But changes need to be made over a period of months, not decades, which is how long it’s been taking. The well-being of both horses and jockeys needs to be taken more seriously by the industry as a whole. Individual trainers and owners are doing what they can do, but until the rules change – and they haven’t, for the most part, since the 1800’s – the mortality rate will continue to rise.

Unfortunately, it’s corporations making the profits in the sport, not the individual owners, trainers, and jockeys who actually take the risk. And, as in the rest of our society, the corporate executives don’t care as long as they can make obscene amounts of money to pay off their wives and sustain their mistresses.

Until the corporate culture is destroyed, our society, as a whole, is going down the road of Rome. And we all see how well that turned out.

Only our ruins won’t last for centuries.

I was not in the mood for a party after the races. I came home and was in bed by 8:30. I stayed in bed for nearly twelve hours. Not always asleep – I was plagued by bad dreams. But exhausted. And I don’t feel much better today.

I’m sad: sad for Eight Belles; sad for the deaths of my friends’ parents over the last few weeks; sad because my grandmother is getting worse.

I have an article and a review to write. And then I have to finish packing for Maine. The next few weeks are going to be busy, some good, some difficult.

On a positive side, as I was driving to and from the grocery store yesterday, I got an aha! moment as far as Yuri’s Tale: Gunslinger Cole Larkin’s backstory was revealed to me, and I’m starting to figure out the structure. This book is certainly a challenge. Not in a bad way, but a challenge.

All I want to go is to go back to bed, but I’ve got work to do before I leave for Maine.



  1. I’m so sorry to hear that your grandmother is getting worse. I will keep her in my thoughts.

    I’m glad that you have a couple of potential writing jobs in the fire.

    Have a good Sunday and I hope that migraine has disappeared.

  2. I hope your headache goes away! Impossible to work with one of those, for sure.

    My thoughts are with your grandmother.

  3. Oh, Devon. I’m so sorry for everything. Hugs Sweetie.

  4. I couldn’t help but think of you when I heard the news yesterday. A sad, sad end for a beautiful creature.

    I’m praying for your gramma, Devon. I hope her health improves soon….

  5. I’m sorry that I can’t agree that horse racing should not be banned. Eight Belles was run to death by people who were using her for sport. It’s not right. True, maybe more horses will be killed if they are no longer useful to the people who breed and race them, but perhaps in the long run it will be better for horses in general. It breaks my heart to say this, but it also breaks my heart to hear of Eight Belles and Barbaro before her used, tormented and then thrown away.

  6. I hardly think Barbaro was “thrown away”, celayne. His owners spent a ton of money and tried like hell to keep him alive. Say what you will about their alterior motives, but I’ll never be convinced they didn’t love that animal. How could you not? If they were in it for the money only, that horse would’ve never made it off the track.

    That Eight Belles’s accident came only after she was done racing is tragic enough. She was clearly in good spirits until she fell – anyone who knows horses could see that.

    I think the larger tragedy here is the watering down of the thoroughbred gene pool. If you want to blame anything for why horses are getting injured more, blame the pure-bred status, for that surely causes more issues than any race could. It weakens the system of each successive generation. What can we do to prevent that from happening?

  7. Yes, you’re exactly right about the corporations and their role in horse racing. The corporations are a far cry from the single owners in the past. Now their are share holders, and their demands for a profit (in a industry that has historically been high risk and unprofitable) is driving this tragic spate of over racing and deaths.

    Thanks for commenting on The Writerly Pause. You can also come over to my blog during the times when the WP is at a standstill!

  8. yeah…and sorry for that misspelling..there their…gads…where IS my coffee?

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