I’ve been rolling out a mini Laurie Anderson retrospective on FB over the last few weeks, in anticipation of her conversation tonight with Reb Anderson. Weirdly, I am not going to be able to go to this event myself, but sifting through and listening to the many interviews and longtime favorite songs has been freshly inspiring. I’m also particularly interested lately in what it takes to finish something, being, myself very good at starting things, but less equipped when it comes to signing off on something. So I’ve been working on what I’m calling “finisher’s mind,” the ability to see something through. And this morning I came across this excerpt from Homeland: The Story of the Lark, in which LA talks about navigating a profoundly murky phase of making Homeland. In it, she gives a perfect account of the phenomenon I’ve been calling “the stable pony,” i.e. the grounding effect of someone sitting next to you.
In horse-racing, a stable pony escorts a racehorse to the starting gate, providing limbic grounding, a steadying presence that helps the horse keep its energy available for running, rather than burning it off in the starting gate.
Sometimes the stable pony is a goat:
I am always wishing for a stable pony.
Sometimes the stable pony is your dog. Or your friend on the other end of the phone. Whatever it is that helps you tolerate the uncertainty of starting something. What ever helps you have the heart to finish it.
Sometimes the stable pony is Lou Reed, the kindest and coolest stable pony ever.