THE END

The blog ends here.

My research was to test the links between photography, my creative ability and that of language. To do this I have used the English language, that being the third idiom among those that I speak, but second among those in which I read and write. My English vocabulary is poor, however, compared to Italian, the language in which I write my novels.

The theme of this blog related to that of a young horse, which is to me is emotionally involving. The question was: what results would I achieve in writing a text, with emotional content, with thinking in English, and what differences would it show in respect to an Italian text translated into English?

My graduation thesis on bilingualism is based on conceptualization bound to language. The result is that different concepts occur for the same reality in a bilingual’s mind; a phenomenon sometimes not evident, or so slight as to not to impact daily life. However, this phenomenon can be strong enough to create problems in special cases (Tradursi & Tradirsi, Aracne) .

In the first few posts I tried both ways, first directly in Italian and through the translation into English, but soon I switched to think and write Lucy’s diary directly in English.

I would notice several things, post after post. First, that a picture can inspire stories. One of my strengths is the ability to make connections in an instant, creating a network of nodes that makes the story of which I write. I noticed, however, that the trigger for this network was not given by an image or a situation inspired by photography, but by a word that the picture inspired in me: a word in English. This confirmed to me that I am a woman of letters rather than that of the visual arts, but also confirms that the language is linked to a domain, a phenomenon known to anyone involved with bilingualism. The fact that the world of American Quarter Horses that I attend is related to the English language brought me, over time, to associate horses to the that idiom.

But perhaps the most interesting result of this experiment was in finding that I produced texts that were much softer, with minor color contrasts, with less details and overall “rounder”. The causes for that may be various, but the one that convinces me the most is again related to my equestrian experience. The quiet suggestions given to me by the trainers and the monologues I whispered in my horse’s ears, the announcements at the horse shows and the articles in The Quarter Horse Journal, all in the English language. With time I learned to switch languages depending upon the animal I was relating to: today I basically approach a horse in English and a dog in German. With horses I tend to be sweet and forgiving, with dogs – I trained obedience with all my German Shepherds – I’m rather dominant.

Therefore I would say that I have found a confirmation to another theory, perhaps the most controversial among those I cited in my work about bilingualism and psychology: the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, language affects thought.

Thanks again to Amissa Miller and Terry Talon, two wonderful ladies who helped by editing my posts.

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GOOD BY LUCY

apples

…you’ll always find apples on your way.

Ok, baby, you have to go.

There’s no reason to be scared, the world out there is not as hard as they say.

Always remember to be a horse.

Let the humans make their mistakes and never try to change them by force. Give in to their violence instead, and wait for the right moment to show them the alternative way. Many of them will understand.

Do not despair. When you begin to feel the discomfort, close your heart and drop your ear, let your soul regain strength.

Do not ever expect humans to be sensitive like us, you know that their hearts are too small to hold a horse. Forgive them; it’s not their fault.

Now that you’re strong enough, you’ll stand up to wind and frost, to man and his love that sometimes hurts more than his spurs. Do not ask, wait for their offer and accept what they’ll give you.

Leave pride with them, since they are stronger.

And look around: you’ll always find apples on your way.

Your friend, Gray

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NEW OWNER

new owner

They say I’ll get a new owner.

 

I’m sad.

Rumors in the stable say I’ll have to leave very soon. They say I’ll get a new owner.

I don’t want to leave.

I don’t want to feel that huge hole in my chest again, the darkness behind my eyes and no chance to tell someone how I feel. I still remember how I felt when I came in.

They say I’ll have to leave alone, they’ll close the barn doors and I’ll not be able to come in again. Never.

Who’ll listen to me, teach me, blame and praise me?

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UNITY

over the poles

The logs are colored as to make you confused about their distance…

 

I am at a place full of logs; they call them “poles”, but I know they’re logs. The gray gelding once said that I will always find logs on my way. He was right.
The logs are colored as to make you confused about their distance and quite a few are not touching the ground. If you don’t pay attention they bump at your legs and you stumble.
My trainer is expecting me to move between those things. I look down, trying to adjust my stride but it’s hard to stay on track. He, on my back, is bumping against my chest and making it even more difficult for me to move over the logs at the trot. He is pulling my face back and is pushing me forward at the same time. I wish he knew what he wants me to do. I stop and go, stop and go… shorten the stride, lengthen it, shorten, lengthen…
The wise gelding called them obstacles. “You will recognize the true obstacle the very moment you feel trapped in and don’t find a way out.”
What else did he say?
“Never fear an obstacle. It would give it the power to grow bigger and bigger. Search for your own pace, find your rhythm, and the obstacle will reduce its difficulty to a level you will be able to manage.”
How can I find my rhythm?
“Search for unity and let your heartbeat go at the pace that makes you feel good.”
The bumps against my chest are annoying but suddenly I realize they go at the pace my hooves hit the ground. I listen closer and it’s no longer a problem to go over the logs while the bumping gets softer and my breath is quieter. The trainer pats my neck and I feel good.
But, what is unity?

 

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DEATH CHASING LIFE

Marker in the sun
You know, we are like markers. We have a meaning, a reason to be here…

 

The windows were closed and the aisle was dark.
I was searching for the last straw of hay in the shavings. I had already licked the manger clean.
The usual vibrating deep sound came from the gelding’s stall; he was sleeping. I heard the sorrel gelding nibbling at his manger and the bay mare sighing.
From the end of the aisle came the sound of the old big black gelding who was trying to get some air. It was a sound that made me feel hungry for air and I started to go round in my stall, panting.
“Stop circling!” said the wise gelding, yawning. “You’re terribly noisy tonight.”
“Don’t you hear that… that… breathing.”
The gray gelding put his face to the bars. “His time has come.”
“Who is coming?”
“You know, we are like markers. We have a meaning, a reason to be here… but then we break, get useless and are removed.”
“Who’s removing us?”
“The shadow.”
“I don’t see any shadow…”
“It’s inside us, it’s something we are born with. It’s a shadow that chases the light, like the dog is chasing the cat. He cannot refrain from doing it.”
The breathing of the black gelding became smoother; he let out a sound, which was neither a nicker nor a purr, it was a sort of snort let out in the water bucket.
The gray gelding pressed his forefront against the bars and I saw a sudden light in his eyes. “C’mon, big boy…” he whispered, “let it go.”
No sound came from the other stalls. I had a cold feeling running over my back, like someone had opened up the window to the outside. But it still was shut.
Then I heard a deep and long gasp.
Nothing else.

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THE RAMP TO GLORY

Tired

I close my eyes and try to take a nap.

The show is over and we are waiting to go back home.
I’m tired. I close my eyes and try to take a nap. I recall how I came to this place the first time.
I remember I went up the ramp, excited by the sound of my hooves, with the words of the wise gelding in my ears: “The heartbeat of those leaving for the competition.”
I trusted my trainer when he led me into a small space, squeezed me against the wall, and tied me up short. Then he pressed another wall against me and I couldn’t move anymore.
I heard the thump-thump-thump of another horse coming up the ramp. “Hello baby”, said the sorrel gelding, “Going to the show?”
Soon the small space was full of horses pressed one against the other, all tied up short against a cold and stinky wall. The ramp moved, coming up with a fearful sound, closing the only escape we had. I got scared.
I could hear my trainer’s voice on the outside and I felt a little better, but then the ground under my hooves started to shake and it was like the walls were rumbling. Pictures of a similar experience came up behind my eyes and my heartbeat picked up a lope.
Suddenly I felt hot and hungry for air. Do you know how it is when you can no longer picture your manger full of grain or remember the touch of the trainer’s hand on your neck? I no longer had control over the voices in my soul: I heard shrieks coming from my inside going straight into my ears.
The ground moved and all the horses bounced from one side to the other. I straddled my legs trying to regain some balance.
“Relax baby”, mumbled the sorrel gelding, “it’s just a transportation.”
“What’s that?”
“When the ramp goes down again we step out and are at the show. It’s as simple as that.”
“…?”
“It’s the ramp to glory, baby: you climb it up, stay on top for a while and then you step down.”
“Glory?”
“Yes baby, the show.”
I’m so tired of glory.

 

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TOO BUSY

BUSY AT THE SHOW

Who’s the handler?

Sorry for not posting recently but I was very busy showing a funny lady at her best.

She’s actually claiming to be showing me.

I will try to post very soon.

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THE WINDOWS TO THE SOUL

I see a lot of things in your eyes.

I see a lot of things in your eyes.

The gray gelding was tied in the aisle and the sun hit his head. I couldn’t avoid looking at his white eyes but didn’t dare to say anything. I picked up a mouthful of hay and leaned into the aisle to look at the gelding’s head again.

“I hear you munching and feel you staring at me. What’s wrong baby?”

“I see a lot of things in your eyes.” A few straws dropped to the ground.

“What kind of things?”

“I see grass and clouds, flowers and leaves. There is a door and birds, a rivulet and… a star.”

“I see all those things too.”

I circled a couple of times in my stall. That gelding makes me crazy! His wisdom is often not easy to understand. I stopped at the door, picked up some more hay and while munching I asked: “How come?”

“What I have in my eyes is what I have in my mind. Does that make sense to you?”

“Hmmm…”

“What you see is what I have seen and experienced myself.”

I stretched my neck and turned my head a little as to look closer at one single eye. “I don’t see no saddles, no spurs, no bits… There’re no humans in it.”

“Watch closer”, he said without batting an eyelid, “you’ll find them too. The eyes are the windows to ones soul but what they display already went through the heart.”

I let the gray gelding stand alone in the aisle for a while and went a few more small circles in my stall. I stopped in a corner and dropped my head waiting for an answer to hit me. I heard my soul talking to itself and felt confused. After a while I went back to the stall door.

“Do you need help, baby?” asked the gelding, turning just one ear towards me.

I sighed.

“Well, I have known two kinds of humans and you have seen both.” Whispered the gray gelding: “One is the red rivulet of blood.”

“And the other?”

“The star.”

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THE HALTER CLASS

I'm a show horse

…my trainer leaned on my back, and took a nap.

 

I’m a show horse.

Early in the morning they pull me out of my stable, away from grains and hay. I have to stand still and let all the brushes run on my skin. My tuft and mane are pulling and itching, my nose is sticky and stinky with that stuff they smear on it.

They want me to stand square, not moving an ear and if I raise my head they pull it down. But if I fall asleep they wake me up.

Hungry and bored, I have to stand and wait.

I’m neither allowed to talk to other horses nor to sniff at the humans that slowly walk around me during the class. I’m a little scared of how they stare at me.

This morning, while I was waiting for my turn to be stared at, my trainer leaned on my back, and took a nap. I could hear the same noise the gray gelding does during the night. I stood still and square, watching the other horses without moving a hair.

It didn’t take too long. Then the trainer woke up.

He brushed me again and said “I have all the work to do, while you just relax…”

I’m only a show horse; he’s the trainer.

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THE LITTLE DOG

Friendship

Then I felt a wet touch on my nose.

 

The heat was terrible and there was nobody around. I was left alone in the barn; even the flies were gone.

They all had left, ready to prove their worth in the show arena, and I wondered why I had been left here.

I was still puzzling when I heard someone barking: “Are you lame?”

I’ve never had a great feeling for dogs. I know that they are not very smart and also too small to actually count for something. The dog I saw sitting on top of the shaving bags in the aisle was the smallest size I’ve ever seen.

“What do you mean?” I asked, sniffing at the little snoop.

“You’re a horse and you’re not in the show ring.”

The small thing showed some experience. “And?”

“Only limping horses have been left back in the stables… the cripples.”

Suddenly I understood what he meant. What did Claire say when the gray gelding had been left at home? Useless…

I felt very sad. I wanted to lie down and never get up again.

Then I felt a wet touch on my nose.

“Don’t be sad” said the dog. “You’re not useless while you have a friend.”

I closed my eyes and all the sadness disappeared…

It was licked away by a dog.

 

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