Dorothea Brande (I know, haven't mentioned her for a while, so it's about time for a refresh :D) in her book 'Wake Up and Live' has a list of 12 disciplines that everyone should cultivate in order to be a more engaged and observant member of society.
One of the 12 disciplines is spending a day saying 'yes' to any reasonable request.
Anyone who has seen Jim Carey's 'Yes Man' will know the possible (though extremely unlikely) consequences of this. It is not for the faint hearted.
But we are writers!
So, on the weekend I ended up saying 'yes' to a rather unusual request. Well, to be more honest, someone asked my sister to do something, and she said yes for both of us, while I was looking forward to curling up and writing.
Instead, I found myself in a friend's paddock learning about the facts of life: horse style.
Yes, I had been sucked into helping a mare be serviced by a stallion.
Evidently, along with the happy couple, this takes at least two people. Who'd guessed?
If I had been asked before the event, or had to write about it, I would have been rather vague, but probably would have let the two animals into the same paddock and let nature take its course.
As I now know, nature doesn't seem to get it right all that much, and for more definite results, humans are needed, along with tail ties, and stalls, and teasing, and all sorts of other things.
I suppose the most traumatic part for me (and here I'm putting a warning that there are going to be euphemisms of a sexual kind coming up) was when Holly (my sister's friend) was 'teasing' the two horses, by having the stallion in a stall, and walking the mare up to him on the other side of the gate to breathe each other in and get to know each other. My sister and I were standing at a distance (the mare did at one point get rather pissed off with the whole process and kick the door with her back legs and make a nice dent) and were told to let Holly know if the mare was 'winking'. I naively enough asked how we were going to know that, when she was facing the wrong way. Holly and Jenny both looked at me and informed me I was looking at the correct end. I'll leave you to work out the rest.
As it turns out, she didn't 'wink' which meant she wasn't really interested, though the fact that she did let him nip her a bit was a good sign, and they were going to try again today without me.
And now just think of the brilliant scene I can write where the man is a wild horse tamer, and the woman is a fiery damsel who thinks she knows everything, (she has flaming red hair and green eyes, he has a hairy chest and stubble), and they come together when she needs to breed her horse and wants some wild blood in it... Mills and Boon eat your heart out!
So, my message today is simple: say yes to some weird invitations, because you're a writer, and you need to know these things.