The above title is a quote from The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.
Last night, after a particularly long and heavy time spent reading the Song of Ice and Fire series (A Game of Thrones books), I took myself a little nap. I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I’m lucky if I get anywhere between four to six hours of sleep. Whenever I contemplate putting the book I’m reading down, I ignore that desire and end up reading for another hour, two hours, three… So, I decided that my heavy-lidded eyes needed to close and I needed some peace and quiet. I slept for about an hour on the couch (TS informed me I was a “brat” because I had knocked him off the couch at one point, apparently – whoops). When I woke up, my fingers were itching because a muse had chosen me. I didn’t quite understand what the muse wanted, but I had the distinct desire to write about unicorns
Now, anyone who knows me should quite remember my unsung passion for the horned beasts. I say that it is unsung because I never really discussed it that I can recall. I do remember pretending that a herd of unicorns would follow me everywhere when I was very young. One of my favorite movies as a child (and still is) The Last Unicorn. I collected statuary of a unicorn nature as a teen. Whenever I saw one that took my fancy, and I had the money, I purchased it. Some were gifts from ex-boyfriends or family members and others were ones that I had purchased myself. I sat them proudly on the shelves in our home in Easthampton, I remember. They battled for supremacy with the Dachshund statues MEH’s mother bought for me over time. (The unicorns always won that one.) I had an image that a grandmother had stitched for me as a child that I loved more than anything: a unicorn with a castle in the moonlit background. Unfortunately, this image is gone (MEH destroyed it when he went back for his things before I could beg BFMA to hide it with her things) and the statues have broken throughout the myriad of moves. I have a thick, glass horse my mother bought me at a party (and my first horse related statue), an egg-shaped shell with a small unicorn within that dances to music, another partially broken statue, and maybe one or two little ones left. I can’t wait to begin to collect them again.
I’ve had the feeling of unicorns periodically, throughout my life. When the fever to write about them came upon me last night, I thought back to all the times in my life when they played a prominent part in my life. I think it was when I was the most lonely and the most upset that I turned to the beauty of a unicorn. I’m not sure. I don’t recall that imaginary herd of unicorns following me around before my father died. I don’t think I began to seriously collect the statues until after I was raped the first time. I think… in a way… by turning towards them, I was searching for an innocence that I had lost. Isn’t that what unicorns are supposed to represent? Innocence. Purity. What is it that Molly Grue says in The Last Unicorn? “And where were you twenty years ago? Ten years ago? Where were you when I was new? When I was one of those innocent young maidens you always come to? How dare you! How dare you come to me now, when I am this!” I think that in turning to them, I was always hoping to regain a lost part of my innocence.
But, last night, when the fevered fire of the muse overtook my aching fingers, I pulled out my little notebook that I carry with me (for when the muse hits me unawares) and began to write. I didn’t write about a fabulous beast, all in white. I didn’t write about it in the standard sense. There was no golden horn. There was no shimmery purity. There was only the blackness that is best seen in obsidian and jet. Those two stones, actually, are the very stones that I likened the beast I had been creating to, actually. I didn’t know why I had to write this little bit and why my head is filled with a fantasy after a time when the Age of Iron, the Age of Bronze has passed and the Age of Spirit has filled the land, the Age of Trees, the Age Beyond Technology. (This is, actually, why I wanted to start looking into Algonquin legends and history, me thinks, besides the desire to learn if it has a part in my spiritual practice.) Methinks, I’ve been reading too much in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but it doesn’t matter where the story came from.
I do wonder, though, why it is a unicorn now when it was not a unicorn before. I mean, I’ve always been writing something or another. Anyone who knows me from high school can say so. The Shaggy Ex-boyfriend, BFTX, my mother… I was always writing something or another. Those stories, or some of them at least, still follow me around today and have been saved, in part, on this very laptop. Not a single time has anything like a unicorn entered those tales. Some of them are my way of working through past hurts and past pains, such as my rape. Others are my trying to make sense of TSO’s betrayal. Some others still are the remembered moments that came after high school. And still others are all about pain. In not a single thing has there ever been anything as magnificent and perfect as a unicorn.
And honestly, if it was so important, why didn’t I take up that particular beast when I was searching for a novel to write? Instead, I chose vampires, which is something that anyone who is anyone knows how much I love and admire. I’ve been reading about them, watching their movies, and studying them for years. I have little to no knowledge about unicorns except for what I’ve read in bits and pieces, seen in images, held in my hands as I bought a new statue or was gifted one, and what lives in my gut. So, why now? What is it about this moment in time that has said, Put down the vampires and turn to the bestiary that you loved as a kid.
I don’t know. All I do know? It’s kind of neat.