Peter S. Beagle published “The Last Unicorn” in 1968. He was twenty-nine. I was born the same year, so that book was not immediately on my reading list.
In fact, I did not discover the story until the 1982 animated film. It would not be an exaggeration to say it helped shape my life. It was one of many films and books that molded my view of the world, including my fascination and love for animation, movies, storytelling, myths, and fairy tales. I never grew out of those first loves, and over time I learned that was a fine thing. I still dream of the Red Bull, waves of unicorns coming in on the tide, human folly, and a unicorn’s regret.
I was in my twenties before I got a hold of a copy of the book he had written. It was sublime. I found more of Mr. Beagle’s books in my thirties and forties, but not all, to my current embarrassment. The books I read were all very fine things. He’s not a rock-star author, nor a household name, but I adore his command of language. His prose weaves a subtle spell created from ethereal mists and hard labor.
I was shocked to find his latest work, “In Calabria,” in my local library’s new arrivals, but in a pleasant way. I honestly didn’t realize he was still writing at 78. This is a new goal for me, to be still publishable at that age, even if it’s too late to match being published in my twenties.
So, I’m currently in book-dream-land. It’s a timely vacation, since I am at a point in my life where I need help believing in the intangible magics, like love, justice, and hope. Writer whining, unhelpful suggestions, and ridiculous posturing will be lacking this week, and maybe, that is a fine thing, too.
Happy writing, and please support your local library!