Three months ago we met, though still not face to face. A strange coincidence. Those seem to be the best kind of meetings, have you noticed? Something about the things we cannot explain. She told me there are no coincidences. I don’t know what I believe, but I do believe getting to know Ginny has been somehow magical. I wonder how much more so when we finally meet. In a way she’s turned my world upside down already. Because of her, Bob, Gunnar and I are heading to the other side of the world. Patagonia.
Let me tell you a little bit about Ginny. Oddly enough, I know a lot. I have spent these three months pouring through notes, writings and information on websites that she compiled over the past several years covering her life stories, from birth to present. What a life it is!
Gin and Ginny. You might just get confused. Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it if you stick around a while.
I am Gin, and just the writer. Working to put the pieces of the puzzle together into hopefully one beautiful picture. A memoir manuscript with consistency, interest and intrigue, capturing the essence of this remarkable woman.
The story is Ginny’s.
The adventure, well, that’s all of ours. Even yours if you’re ready to go for the ride.
Tomorrow, we leave our mountain and begin the journey south.
The fun begins.
And so, now.
Finally, an introduction.
For those who have been wondering where I am going and why.
For those who would like to “meet” a truly remarkable woman.
Tonight, I share this treat. An introduction to Ginny Carrithers.
Following is a rough draft, a condensed bio of Ginny Carrithers, and an introduction to her memoirs.
For now, we shall call this “Dancing in the Winds of Patagonia”
One remarkable woman’s inspiring adventures of living life fully with MS.
Welcome to the world of Virginia Tice Neary Carrithers. Welcome to a world that covers two hemispheres and spreads wide across the worlds of the Aspen art scene, Thoroughbred horseracing, jet setting and a fairy tale world where Prince Charming still sits at the head of the table. This is the story of life as wild as the land she chose to settle in, and as fast the winds that now embrace her. Ginny’s is story of extremes and challenges. Beginning with a childhood laced with trauma, Ginny has confronted, overcome and learned to live with physical and emotional obstacles throughout her life, and managed to come out laughing. Her drive and passion led her to the highs that are hard to keep up with, and lows that would be devastating to so many of us. Hers is a story of living the high life and ultimately choosing the simple life.
On the surface, this is a fun, fast and racy story of one woman’s wild journey generated by her own strength, positive outlook, and brilliant, shining character. It is a story of the power of creativity and nature. Deeper down, this story is one of personal growth, healing, and inspiration that the reader (viewer) will want to cheer, cry, scream and ultimately hug and rejoice for the celebration of character that Ginny Carrithers is.
Her story begins in 1949 in New Orleans, Louisiana. From the beginning, her strength and resolve are challenged with life threatening bouts of the croup. Hers was an odd and lonely childhood on private island with a psychiatrist father, and mother that had her first nervous breakdown and was institutionalized when Ginny was only nine. From her earliest days, art, horses, and nature where her consolation and inspiration.
Life begins to bloom at age 15 as her body blossoms. Her world widens and begins to speed up with boys, cars, and wild rides to Aspen with her best friend, Janice. Yet again, Ginny’s world is severely shaken by her brother’s car crash which left him forever in a wheelchair, her father’s suicide, and her mother again institutionalized.
With her great resolve and joy of living, Ginny continues to create her place in the brilliant world filled with wealthy and powerful men, painting, and horse racing in New Orleans where she lived the young beautiful life. Her notable accomplishments include becoming the first licensed woman in Louisiana to train Thoroughbred racehorses, commissions for her equestrian art, modeling and acting and being a body double/stunt woman in a James bond movie. This woman was indeed living the “racy” life, with a whirlwind of travel, power, passion, and fame.
In 1976 at the age of 27, Ginny has become paralyzed and is given the diagnosis of MS. A chronic, progressive, disabling disease. And still this woman is not slowed down, does not back down. For Ginny, it opened new doors. After a year and half of paralysis, Ginny goes into remission and begins her work for the National MS Society, becoming a world-wide spokes person, creating and donating her own artwork, raising millions of dollars over the years, creating promotion and awareness with her talents of horse racing and art, and inspiring so many, not only those affected by the disease, but so many touched by and finding themselves in the embrace of this exciting woman.
It is during this time that Ginny meets Ashley Carrithers. The year is 1986. Another one charmed by this lovely and vivacious woman! It is because of this connection that two new worlds are opened up for Ginny. The first is Patagonia. The second is motherhood. Ultimately, it is the combination of these two that transform Ginny to the next stage of her life.
As their relationship begins, Ginny is living the Princess Dream come true, continuing the jet set lifestyle though now between hemispheres. There she is on the Estancia, riding her white Arabian, continuing to evolve with her artistic endeavors. playing polo, flying out on their private airstrip. She is on one hand the wealthy Patrona, juggling baby, paintbrush, estancias, a challenging marriage, building airstrips, buying land, travel, travel, travel… Yet all the while the darkness of MS follows her about like an uncomfortable shadow. A shadow that at times can be fierce and cruel and painful and all consuming. And somewhere between those two extremes, she is learning about healing. She sleeps outside alone on the ground. Builds her fire, drinks her mate. She finds a deeper, stronger place of visions and medicine cards and animal guides.
After the divorce, Ginny continues the back and forth between North and South America, and ultimately chooses to remain in Patagonia. She is drawn to remain because of her daughter. Because of the simpler life. The grounding. Nature. What matters most. She finds her own strength, learning to live without the Prince Charming fairytale and become her own woman. Still the artist. The artist of life. She is continually challenged as she deals with the progression of her disease, her broken back, her independence and loneliness, her desire to continue to give and reach out to and share with others, her connection to the earth, her creativity, her horses, her limitations, and her broad and beautiful spirit shining possibly stronger than ever.
This brings us to The Present. This brings us to Ginny, today, dealing with a debilitating disease while living in the dramatic setting of Patagonia. And still finding ways to give, motivate, inspire. New ways to share beauty and life. This is her spirit. Brilliant and warm as we all have seen or are seeing.
This is Ginny Carrithers.
On the surface one sees a beautiful woman and talented artist living a dream come true complete with fairytale lifestyle, world travel, wild adventures, fast horses, and elite connections. The high life. Look again and see the lows of trauma, drama, loss, and the side of the same passionate, vivacious, driven woman learning to live with MS. Multiple Sclerosis for some. Messenger of Sprit for Ginny. MS became her call for transformation and inner growth, for waking up and living her life real, strong, self guided, empowered.
The greatest element of this story is still just beyond my reach. It is within Ginny. Her true essence, her spirit if you will, which you can read so much about on paper or the computer, but no doubt will change me and complete this story. After months of becoming relatively obsessed with the life of this remarkable woman, we will finally be meeting. And there, my friends, lies the missing link to this story.
And so it is that the rest of the story, in fact the part we will begin with, starts there. Next week in Patagonia.
In the meanwhile, I can promise you this. Ginny’s story is a wild ride. Hold onto your hats, sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride. Ginny’s story will take you first to places you’ve only dreamed of, and then to a place and space within that you secretly long to be.
(for more information, please see Ginny’s web site at CreativityHeals.org)
Well, sorry to leave you hanging. You’ll have to read the book to find out all the juicy details. In the meanwhile, stick around and enjoy the adventure as Gin meets Ginny, the Mountain Man leaves his mountain again because of his woman’s crazy whims, and the Pup heads to Patagonia.