7:30 BELLS Guest Post: The Magic of Horses by Newbery Honor author Margarita Engle

I am so excited to share this month's 7:30 BELLS Guest Post by Margarita Engle--
extraordinary poet-storyteller.

Nature entrances me. The beautiful sights of nature are as inspiring as the ring of bells. Every aspect of wilderness and agriculture helps me believe in miracles, breathe more deeply, and write more fervently. I studied agronomy and botany, but of all the plants and animals in the world, horses are the ones that invariably cause me to gasp with astonishment. Ever since I was little, even the sight of the most ordinary, swaybacked old mare in a thorny pasture was enough to set my sense of wonder galloping. 

On the few occasions when I’ve been fortunate enough to see the truly astounding freedom of wild horses, it has been an experience so powerful and exhilarating that I’ve come away feeling transformed, as if my imagination had become part of a centaur. Even the scent of a stable is enough to send my mind exploring. Undoubtedly, this is because I associate horses with profoundly nostalgic childhood memories of Cuba.

As an adult, I’m not a skillful rider, even though I’ve taken lessons, and briefly owned a horse. It is the daydreaming nature of childhood that makes horses so magical. I have attempted to explore the Cuban roots of my passion for nature in general, and horses in particular, as part of a memoir scheduled for publication by Harcourt in March, 2015. Fueled by the sight of a lone pinto in a pasture a couple of miles from my semi-rural California home, I continue to explore. Every time I drive past that horse, I imagine creating a written herd, so that the pinto will no longer be lonely. With bells ringing in my mind, I set pen to paper, writing the old-fashioned way, outdoors.

Imagination and memory ring together

Thank you so much, Margarita Engle, for sharing this. (And I always love to find another author who loves to write outdoors!)

Margarita Engle is the Cuban-American author of The Surrender Tree, which received the first Newbery Honor ever awarded to a Latino.  Her young adult verse novels have also received two Pura Belpré Awards and three Honors, as well as three Américas Awards and the Jane Addams Peace Award, among others. 

Margarita’s next verse novel is Silver People, Voices From the Panama Canal (March, 2014, Harcourt).  Books for younger children include Mountain Dog, Summer Birds, When You Wander, and Tiny Rabbit’s Big Wish (March, 2014, Harcourt).

Margarita lives in central California, where she enjoys hiding in the forest to help train her husband’s wilderness search and rescue dogs.

7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second Tuesday of every month. Join me in March for a guest post with author Frances O'Roark Dowell.
Regular 7:30 BELLS Posts run every first, third, and fourth Tuesdays.