Loving a unicorn; Pure is live today!
Meeting your heroes, as we know, is generally to be avoided. How many movies will we not go see because some actor or director has publicly gone nuts in a way that poisons their work? And these are just the acts that trickle down to TMZ or D Listed or your twitter feed. Having someone you respect, whose work you’ve always maybe not only admired but loved, having that person be rude or dismissive or racist or just unpleasant in person–that’s a blow. At the same time, it’s also true, I think, that the artist doesn’t owe their readers (or watchers) anything but art. We all have to make our own choices when it comes to what we put into our heads. There are a couple of directors that will have to get along without my patronage.
Sometimes it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes they are exactly the person you need them to be.
The first grown up book I ever owned was The Last Unicorn, by Peter Beagle. I actually still have it, here it is:
I can’t read it now, at least not this edition. It’s from 1968, and it’s falling apart. If you know it, you remember the little talking cat, and the Red Bull, and poor Prince Lir (I think he was my first Prince) and of course Lady Amalthea, the unicorn who spends a good deal of time as a human woman. It’s my favorite book.
In 2011, I got to travel to Wondercon in San Francisco as part of Sirius XM’s Con coverage, and we were interviewing actors and authors and artists like crazy. In the middle of it, two things happened. I got a call that my mother, back in Florida, was about to be admitted to hospice. And then, one minute later, I sat down for an interview with Peter Beagle.
I don’t remember much of what we talked about. I think I was trying not to cry. I do remember him putting his hand on mine and reminding me to breathe, and that I’d be there to see my mom and she knew that. I doubt he remembers talking to me, but I’ll never forget his kindness.
And that brings me to Pure, my own unicorn novel. March, the unicorn, spends most of the book trapped in the shape of a human man, and like Amalthea he finds love with a mortal. It’s set in contemporary DC, not a strange and mythic medieval (yet wonderfully self-aware) kingdom, and I think in the future Ruby (my human heroine) won’t try her hand at poetry. But Ruby and Lir are both changed forever by their unicorns.
In these harsh and unkind days, a little kindness goes a very long way. Ruby and March, when they aren’t running for their lives, fighting off monsters, or making spaghetti, put each other on the road to kindness; to each other and to themselves. I hope you love them as much as I do.
‘A unicorn walks into a bar….’
That is not a joke.
Look, I’m a bartender, I have nothing to do with the xenos. I don’t care if it’s an elf or a vampire–as long as they don’t bother me, I steer clear. I have my reasons–you can see them in the scars on my neck.
I never wanted to get involved. But my life changed for the second time when I saved the life of a unicorn. I made an enemy of something old–old and evil, and whatever it was, it’ll be back for another try. I also made a friend when I decided to help March. He’s only been a human man for a day. I’m responsible for him now. He’s my friend…and maybe something more. Maybe a lot more.
It doesn’t matter to me that he isn’t magical anymore. I don’t care if he’s not PURE.
But he does.
From best-selling author Kim Alexander, a modern fairy tale of magic, love, and redemption.