I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.
~Annie Dillard, The Writing Life


On the first of each month,
a guest writer
how they spend the day.


June 1, 2024: Christy Cashman


I loved Christy Cashman’s debut novel, The Truth About Horses, which came out last August. The writing is terrific and the story is full of surprises. Since part of the pleasure of reading is turning the page to discover one, I will try not to give any away.

The power behind the story comes from its narrator—fourteen-year old Reese. Feisty Reese who loves horses more than anything.

I did pick up swearing, though. A lot, Which Dad hates, so I do it every chance I get. Because Dad was wrong. Trying new things didn’t ‘help me meet friends’ or ‘make me less lonely.’ And it didn’t help me forget about horses. It just made me realize that I’m good at nothing else. So fuck that shit. Without telling him (he wouldn’t notice anyway), I quit it all. Except for the swearing. Instead, every day now, I get on my bike. I know the way to the barn so well sometimes it feels like I don’t even have to steer. Like the barn pulls me. Like a dream.

I still can’t believe Sue [the vet] is doing what she’s doing with a straight face, like she’s combing his mane or cleaning his hoof. It looks like she’s jerking Bubba [a horse] off. In fact, she is jerking him off.

The setting is South Dakota (where I was born).

It’s cool today. Most of the snow on the Black Hills falls in March and keeps the whole valley chilled until the middle of May.

I turn left down Cekiya Drive. Like most streets in the town of Birdwood, South Dakota, which is smack dab between two reservations, it has a Lakota name.

Here’s a taste of the beauty in the writing.

Seeing horses in the wild is like glimpsing another world you knew about but forgot existed. Seeing them gallop across thousands of acres of open land is nothing like seeing horses in a fenced-in field, peaceful and content, like decorations in a pasture. Here the land looked made for them. Like the wind had flattened the plains just for their hooves to gallop along. Like the mountains saw their glistening coats and powerful legs and moved aside to make room enough for all of them to gather.

I also want to tell you about Wes, my second favorite character (after Reese), but again, I don’t want to spoil the way we get to know him on the pages of the novel. So here’s an early excerpt.

I turn to look at the man who seems so at home here, scrubbing down the mare, dipping a rag in a bucket of steaming water.

“I’m Reese. You might have seen me around.”

He looks at me and smirks. I’m relieved to see a flash of nice white teeth. Probably not a meth head.

“I don’t live too far away. I used to spend a lot of time here.”

He has a young face but old eyes. His hair is almost to his shoulder, but most of it is hidden by his floppy-rimmed cowboy hat…

You don’t have to love horses to love this novel. You just have to love a good story well told.

Christy does love horses and has all her life. She’s also an actor, a producer, and the founder of YouthINK, a nonprofit mentorship program for teens with an interest in the creative arts. She grew up in North Carolina, and now she, her husband, their two sons, and three dogs split their time between Ireland, where they live at Kilkea Castle (which is also a resort), and Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to The Truth About Horses, Christy has published two children’s books, The Not-So-Average Monkey of Kilkea Castle and Petri’s Next Things. She is currently working on her second novel, Beulah, and on her third children’s book, The Cat Named Peanut Shrimp Cookie Fry Muffin Who Lives on Staniel Key. (Photo of Christy by Georgina Preston.)


Come back on JUNE 1st to read how CHRISTY CASHMAN spends her days.