Mountain Equine - Courtney S. Diehl, DVM / Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Dusting Off the Manuscript

Today I hauled out the 61 page Word Document which makes up the bulk of Horse Vet- Part 2.  I didn’t realize I had so much written as I’d walked away in irritation last June and haven’t touched it since.  I’m probably going to scrap the majority of this manuscript.  Maybe.  I printed it off, and I have my red pen, and will give it a read through, but I have to admit something.

I’m tired of the subject material, and more than a little tired of myself in it.

When I finish a book, I tend to not go back to it and re-read it.  It’s over and I’ve moved on to the next project.  This manuscript feels like a replay of my last book in some ways, and I’m not sure I want to go back down that road and try to fold myself back into the shoe box of perceptions of the world that defined where I was when I wrote it.

The first Horse Vet is sitting solidly on Amazon with 4 stars, and while it seems that most who read it liked it, there was a percentage who didn’t just dislike it, they outright loathed it.  One reader told me to get psychological help and go on medication after telling me what they’d do to me if we ever met face to face.  Another said that I was clearly a terrible person who hated everyone and everything and they were grateful they’d never run across me in Colorado.  Both signed their remarks with a pseudonym.

Our personal experiences with others are exactly that- ours-and we each have the right to tell our stories.  I’ve certainly been the main player in some scenarios that I’m not proud of, and I wouldn’t begrudge anyone the right to describe my behavior.  I’m not sure where I wrote in Horse Vet that everyone else was flawed and I was perfect, but there were some readers who seemed to come away with that perception.

I wasn’t looking to write a book that would please everyone, and I can look back now to the years in which I was writing Horse Vet and see what a very different place I was in at that time.  I was burned out and discouraged with my profession and the people that I had to deal with regularly.  I was also exploring a spiritual life which was giving me new refuge in a sea of insanity.

It didn’t quite hit all the notes I was expecting.

How to piss off readers 101- talk about God.  Examples- and all signed with more pseudonyms: “If I’d known this was going to be a prissy, preachy book, I’d never have bought it.”  “The author tricked us into buying her book and sneaking religion into it.”  “She’s obviously trying to convert her readers.” “She’s nothing but a hypocrite hiding behind her bullsh*t dogma.”  And so on.

I  don’t read online reviews from the general public anymore.  I don’t know what it is about having a forum in which to comment anonymously that turns people into such vicious cowards, but I find this phenomenon revolting.  If someone doesn’t have to integrity to put their real name on a comment, or contact me directly, they do not get to have a voice.

So what will I decide to do when I read through this aging manuscript?  Since I can’t even remember what’s in it, I guess I’ll decide as I go.  But if the shoe box doesn’t fit, I’m not climbing back in.

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COURTNEY S. DIEHL, DVM

MOBILE EQUINE VETERINARIAN

Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Since 2000, Dr. Diehl has provided mobile equine veterinary services in the Rocky Mountains.

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