Recently, I accepted Sarah Selecky’s dare — I mean invitation — and spent a weekend with her and a handful of incredible writers at Jennifer Schramm’s winsome property in Nobleton, Ontario. Sarah Selecky is an award-winning author and astute literary coach. This woman has faith. The dare was to come and work with Jennifer and her partners, four horses and a donkey, to uncover deep truths about our current writing projects and about ourselves.
What struck me initially was Jennifer’s profound relationship with the horses. She guides visitors in their understanding and treatment of them, providing a respectful framework in which to work. Structured activities that preclude talking and touching the horses mean visitors must connect in a new way – beyond the learned trappings of domesticated socialization, where humans dominate and animals serve. Jennifer and the horses are partners in this project, something rare and downright revolutionary in the historical context of conventional human-animal relationships. Although the connections and discoveries happen between human and horse, it is Jennifer — skilled, understated, and exceptionally intuitive, who structures activities and asks key questions. She is an attentive, responsible and efficient therapist who demonstrates vast emotional intelligence. Our group visit was extremely well managed; each person had significant breakthroughs regarding her literary and/or life work. I can only imagine the results of working one-on-one with Jennifer and the horses.
Sarah is an equally gifted individual, whose desire to get at the heart of literary matters is extraordinary. She is a sagacious and deeply intuitive creative writing coach and educator. She knows a good thing when she feels it. Sarah has faith. She knows this is lacking in the world. She knows artists in particular struggle with this, and that they of all people must find it. The horses teach us faith. And Sarah brought us to the horses.
Let’s just say, it was a Big Deal.