I received this letter from Morgan a couple years ago and saved a copy. I found it the other day and was just as touched so I wrote to ask her permission to share it. Hearing from young people whose lives my stories impact is why I write.
"Hello, my name is Morgan. I'm a sixteen year old girl from El Dorado, Arkansas. I just bought your book, The Outside of a Horse, when I was in Little Rock. When I got in the truck with my father and stepmother, I started reading it and I never took my eyes from the pages. The ride from Little Rock to El Dorado is about two and a half to three hour drive. I was on Chapter 15 by the time I got home. Later the night I finised the whole book! I was so inspired . . .! I know how Hannah feels during this whole story. My grandfather went to Vietnam, and my grandmother has told me about the times when he would sneak around the house with his gun having flashbacks. Both my grandfather and my father went to Iraq together at the same time. It was so hard for me because I was only a little girl back then. I did the same thing that Hannah did; I went to my horses and just watched them grazing and I felt like I was with my daddy and grandpa. I wanted to tell you that using horses for therapy works. I use it all the time, when I'm sad about something or just wanna talk to someone who will listen without teasing or mocking me, I go to the pasture to my old lazy boned horse and talk to him. His name is Levi, he is an 11 year old Tennessee Walker / Quarter horse mix. He has been with me since he hit the ground at birth, and he is the bestest friend anyone could ask for! I have four horses at my mother's place, and one at my father's. I ride Levi as much as I can! I would ride Big John, my dad's horse, but he's too fat to ride! The saddle we have for him is even too little for him now! He is at a family friend's place right now with his cattle. It's fun to watch John herd cattle. He thinks of them as his big, fat happy family, I guess. But I really wanted to tell you that you should make a movie based on The Outside of a Horse; it's so inspirational and heartbreaking. I cried at least 6 time while I read your amazing book. Though I must say, I have never heard of Parelli Training before 'till I read this book. If I would have known about it before I started training some of my horses, I would have used it instead of training them the old fashion way. I think it's really cruel now that you think about the way people train their horses. I know I don't have much to say, but I wanted to thank you so much for writing this book!"
That was then. When I wrote Morgan to ask if I could print this, I mentioned how much I loved her name and have used it for a character in my new book. I received this update.
"Sure I don't mind at all! I'm trying to get started in college for Art and Photography but haven't gotten to it yet. Levi is doing good. We sold all the other's since my mother passed away and my stepfather is never home anymore. Yeah well everyone likes my name it's funny to me because I really don't care for it too much. But thank you anyway. Your (new) book almost sounds like me and my life. My dad really doesn't have anything to do with me and my stepdad...he has changed since the whole thing...My mom took her own life she would be 38 now. Life is getting better but its still hard. Levi, well he was all skin and bones with little meat on him since we couldn't buy feed but I got him moved to a different place now. The man who is letting me keep him there is really nice, I only have to buy feed when he runs out. But he gets watered everyday, fed everyday, he has a stable now since he has never had one. I bought him a new winter blanket yesterday since it's really cold here and he hasn't grown his winter coat yet because the weather is so off. But he has gained so much weight he looks great! I'm happy he is doing better but his only problem is he is lonely. He is the only horse there and he is used to having at least one horse with him. My family friend suggested I get a goat to put out there with him but if I did get something it would be a donkey since Levi has never been around a goat. He is scared of alot of things like trash cans, ditches, water puddles, and cattle. And since he has been around donkeys and huge mules before I know he would do fine with a donkey instead of a goat. He is finally letting his mane grow out too! You know I've had Levi for 13 years now, well ever since he hit the ground from birth and I've never seen him with a long mane. It's kinda long up around his ears but farther down its short and sticks up like a mohawk. But its starting to get longer since he doesn't stick his head thru the fence anymore. My mom took this picture before she died and I just got it developed."
I'd like to think it's your turn to have good things happen in your life, and now a lot of people are rooting for you. My love to you and Levi. GR