Greatness is Full of Firsts

I write while I’m driving.

I write in my head.  Gotcha, didn’t I?  I promise I have both hands on the wheel and not a pen.  But I do have specific “wordless” CDs that I’ve burned with my favorite music from scores, and I watch scenes unfold in the landscape around me.  Some people might call that schizophrenia, but I call it… makeshift role play.

I also have a Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron CD in my car. (Blast from the past alert! Anyone know what I’m talking about?)

I only have to listen to the instrumental in the beginning to get choked up.  I can remember exactly where I was on the Sunday after The Awful Thursday when I lost Blue.  I was driving to the barn to see Snowdy. (I thank God for Snowdy daily. Without him, Blue’s death would’ve completely devastated me.)  And all of a sudden, a fierce wave of grief choked me.  I let myself feel every bit of it, because if I stifle my emotion, I also suffocate my ability to write.

Blue gave me a lot of firsts.

He was…

My first fall.

The first horse I cared for all by myself.

The one who let me practice giving (over and over again) a shot in a horse’s neck.  (There may never be a more patient horse than Blue.)

The first horse to partner with me winning three blue ribbons and a championship (Blue liked to live up to his name).

And then, there were more real-life firsts…

When I galloped Blue for the first time, I imagined it over and over again while I wrote scenes of Chase galloping through Agalrae.

I got my first job (to keep Blue, of course).

Blue was the first one I cried to when I was completely cut off from my long-distance best friend as a young teenager (don’t worry, that first had a happy ending).

I learned to paint model horses with pastel dust, and painting Blue’s bay coloring was the first color I mastered.

Blue was the one to lend me his strength the first time I got my heart broken two days before my eighteenth birthday, and I had to make the phone call to my family saying, “All celebrations are off because I can’t handle it.” (Sorry, that first didn’t have a happy ending.)

Blue was always, always the first to hear about my day.

Blue at College With Me in 2012

I started my first “big girl” job this week.  I’d say this is one of the firsts where Blue hasn’t been here, but that’s not entirely true.  I can feel Blue nearby when I hear that song I mentioned earlier.  Yes, it’s sad.  But there’s also a turning point where Spirit (the horse in the movie) lifts his head and keeps going.  When I lost Blue, I asked Jesus, “Will you please give Blue a big, fluffy stall right next to your white horse?”

Every time I start to really miss Blue, I get an impression in my spirit.  “Sydney, Blue doesn’t want you to be sad for him.”

And I lift my head and keep going because that’s the truth.

Do not despise the small beginnings.  Great things are full of firsts.

P.S.  One of my friends at Koehler Books, Nora Firestone, connected with Blue’s story on a personal level.  If you’d like to read what she has to share, click here.



  • Beautiful, Sydney, as always. And your first lines got me because I also write in the car. And in the shower, and while vacuuming — any time the flood pours in, I put pen to paper to channel it. I always talk to other writers about how important it is to capture those “scenes” we see and the “dialogue” we hear in our minds, whenever they’re presented to us, no matter where we are. I secretly wonder if those who don’t get it are calling it schizophrenia too, but some of us know that it’s really just “shutting up and taking dictation from the muse.” Can’t wait for your book release! 🙂

%d bloggers like this: