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Norwalk Author To Tell Her Horse's Tale

NORWALK, Conn. – Not everyone is strong enough to talk about, let alone publish a memoir, on their battles with infertility, but Norwalk resident Nancy Shulins conquered that challenge.

Her newest book, “ Falling for Eli ,” follows Shulins’ journey from her years of trying to have a child to the 16 years she has spent with her horse, Eli.

“I didn’t set out to write this book at all, and I didn’t really even think much about it until I found myself casting about for a new project,” said Shulins, a former Associated Press writer. But when she handed her publisher a list of possible book items, she pointed to one - Eli.

“I really wanted a record for me, of my time with Eli, and I also wanted people to know him,” Shulins said. “I guess if I were a painter I would paint him, but I’m a writer so I wrote about him.”

But her journey to Eli was rocky. In the starting pages of her book she says that “Living in Fairfield County, Connecticut, was like living in a fertility theme park” during the spring of 1995, and she was surrounded by friends on their second, third or fourth children.

“It was so different on the surface from what my friends were going through,” Shulins said.

It wasn’t until her husband Mark told her about a conversation he had with a colleague about horses that she started thinking about something else. And it was that third-person chat that brought thoughts of childhood back to the forefront, and what propelled her toward owning Eli.

“At first I think I felt very awkward, my first steps back into that world, I was surrounded by people who had either never left it or just knew more than me,” Shulins said.

When Eli came into her life she had realized that living without a horse would be impossible. And her first meeting with Eli she saw a quality in him that spoke to her, but it wasn’t just Eli that she needed.

“It wasn’t a whole lifestyle type of thing, and Eli was and that was really key I think, instead of dwelling on what I can’t have and who I can’t be, it became a cult of inclusion and that was really something that I craved,” Shulins said.

If you want to hear more, she’ll be telling her story Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Westport Barnes & Noble on the Post Road.

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