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Exercise Wednesday: Getting back on the horse

November 21, 2012

A few years ago, I got into an accident. It was about to rain and I was late to pick up my daughter. When I pulled out into the intersection, I swore to God I didn’t see any cars. At least I didn’t see any until I pulled in front of one of them. I can still see the woman’s face as she realized she was going to hit me. The final toll was my car–actually my daughter’s–and three others. No one was seriously hurt, but I stopped at the Urgent Care on the way home to have the softball-sized lump on my leg looked at.

After the accident, when I closed my eyes, I went through everything. There was no way to avoid the accident, as I didn’t see the car. I couldn’t have done something different because I just missed it. If I were in the same situation again, the same thing would have happened.

I made sure to drive the next day. As soon as I could, I drove through the same intersection. It was important to me to do that. It might have made the images in my mind go away.  More likely, it made no difference. But it seemed important to me.

At some point in every life, someone goes through the same experience. You fall off a bike. You get thrown from a horse. You pull out in front of a car. And the time and place stick with you so you have to face them again.

Today’s exercise is for your character to get back on the horse. How does it feel? Is your character nervous? Frantic? Terrified? Are they outwardly calm–and if so, what’s the price of that calm? What’s driving them to get back on the horse? Is it internal? Something their father said? A dare that has to be met?

Time limit: 20 minutes

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. loiswstern permalink
    November 21, 2012 7:05 am

    Hi Chris,

    I follow your blog often, so I thought I should just stop by for a moment to let you know. You always seem to have something worth saying, for your thoughtful readers appreciate, and for writers to use as a stimulus to expressing their buried thoughts.
    Thanks so much.
    Lois W. Stern
    (a part time Floridian who winters in Venice)

    • Chris Hamilton permalink*
      November 25, 2012 10:34 am

      Thanks, Lois!

  2. November 22, 2012 1:52 am

    This post really complements the post that I wrote today. I think that persistence–which is so useful in life in general–really is essential to writing, so adopting it as a theme of a writing project is only natural. I think I’ll reblog this!

    • Chris Hamilton permalink*
      November 25, 2012 10:34 am

      Thanks for reblogging!

  3. November 22, 2012 1:55 am

    Reblogged this on Klempner's Kosher Books and commented:
    Today’s post from Chris Hamilton really complements my own about reframing failure. Check it out!

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