Suppose…and suppose that a wild little Horse of Magic Came cantering out of the sky.
Those opening lines from the poem by Walter de la Mare might have been the genesis for our young adult novel, The SkyHorse. It’s the perfect starting point for a book about a flying horse, isn’t it?
Or maybe The SkyHorse, who arrives in our heroine’s life on the wings of a butterfly wish, flew into our imagination from Longfellow’s poem, Pegasus in Pound. A steed from whose hoofmarks flow a pure bright fount…that sounds like our Zephyr.
Could the idea of a magical SkyHorse who hatches from an egg have soared into life from the snippet of verse clipped from an advertisement? My chicken hatched five eggs and one of them was a lobster named Ralph.
Perhaps the story emerged from something other than pretty poetry, like the sad and scary news article of a teen who died while playing the Choking Game. And what about less tragic but no less emotional tales of the desperate desire to fit in?
First-hand experience of the love of and for a horse might have been inspiration, too, along with the never-forgotten chill of spider legs skittering across bare skin, and the whispers and shadows of a deserted wood in the dark of a moonless night.
The truth is, inspiration for The SkyHorse came from all those sources, and more. The fat yellow folder labeled “Tovi/Zephyr-The SkyHorse” bulges with clippings. The computer file labeled “Tovi_Zephyr_The_SkyHorse” stores megabytes of the fodder required to nurture a growing story.
There are legends, myths, jpegs of majestic horses, articles about the wonder of the geological mystery of the Earth’s core, and scientific research explaining the origins of sinkholes. There are name lists, intriguing phrases, house layouts, school policies and bus procedures.
Both the fantastical and the mundane laid a trail for us to follow. Like hoof prints on a sandy path, each guided us to the Land of Supposition.
Suppose…and suppose a small flying horse tumbles from an egg and into the heart of an astonished girl.
We did, and The SkyHorse came cantering into our world.
This post was originally published in March 2012 on the Euterpe blog.