My sister sent me a message on Facebook that amounted to a lot of SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE and OMG! OMG! OMG!
As it turns out, Peter S Beagle is doing a HUGE tour for the new 2K digital print of “The Last Unicorn”! I have no idea how my sister and I missed seeing this when it was released because I know we would have lost our collective noodles over it. So this was the first opportunity we’ve had to see it in the theatre.
So needless to say, it took me all of 30 seconds to decide that we were going. I called my Mom on the off chance she might like to join us and soon the Thompson girls were planning a day on the town. The show was on Saturday, so I went down to the theatre on Tuesday to get our tickets. Big mistake. Tuesday is date night and the lineups were HUGE. So I came back on Wednesday. Unfortunately, there was a lot of confusion on behalf of the nice lady who was helping me. First of all, she didn’t know about the event. Second, she said that Mr. Beagle wouldn’t be in attendance because our city was too small. I was disappointed but that wasn’t going to stop me.
The nice lady was wrong! We arrived at the theatre, turned the corner and THERE HE WAS! Signing autographs and chatting with excited fans. We perused the table, spoke to his manager and found out that he always stays until everyone has had an opportunity to meet him. On one occasion in particular, he stayed until 2 am! So we decided to purchase our books and chat with him after the show was over.
He had a fantastic Q&A before the show. My hand shot up in the air. I was focused and determined to find out how “The Last Unicorn” was born. Where was he when inspiration struck? What was the first thing he wrote? Where did the characters come from? My turn came and I proudly told him I was also a writer, that his work inspired me, and then I started crying like a total dork (and like a true Canadian, I apologized). Thankfully, when he found out I was a writer he eagerly asked me to come see him after the show so we could chat.
During the Q&A we found out that Mr. Beagle and George RR Martin (author of the Game of Thrones series) teamed up to raise funds for theatres that were upgrading their technology. Artwork depicting King Haggard on the Iron Throne, autographed by both authors was available for purchase.
They held doorprize draws and I geeked out again when my number was called. I won a copy of “We Never Talk About My Brother”, which I am really looking forward to reading. A friend who found out about the event was the lucky winner of one of the autographed prints of King Haggard and gave it to me, which I promptly geeked out over. I was geeking out left, right, and center. I slept most of the next day in order to recover. Not kidding.
Seeing “The Last Unicorn” in the theatre was amazing! The colours were so vivid! I noticed things that, even after watching it countless times, I never saw before (although I did miss the one thing that we were told to look for – I won’t spoil it for you). After the credits rolled, we all filed out to the lobby and stood in line at the table. I re-introduced myself to Mr. Beagle and we spoke for quite a while. He’s so kind, humble, and genuine, taking the time to chat with everyone for as long as they are interested. He is not shy about admitting his surprise that “The Last Unicorn” has withstood the test of time, gaining more and more fans as the years go on.
I finally asked THE QUESTION. “Where did the story come from?” He told me that it all started with one line.
“The Unicorn lived in a lilac wood and she lived all alone.”
He was staying at a friend’s cabin in 1962. His friend was a landscape artist and went out every day to paint. Peter felt he couldn’t very well just sit around, so he decided he’d write a book. He wanted to give up many times, but the sense of competition with his friend drove him onward. Little did he know, his friend felt the same and kept painting long after he wanted to stop. So the two of them completed what they set out to do and here we are, 52 years later and still enjoying “The Last Unicorn”.
At the end of our conversation, my Mother asked if we could have our photo taken and I am very glad she did because I quite frankly didn’t have the presence of mind to do so. I looked Mr. Beagle in the eye with tears in my own and said, “I will remember this day for the rest of my life.” Touched, he opened his arms and embraced me, making me promise that I would keep writing. “I will. I promise.”
I intend to keep that promise and look forward to the stories that are to come.
For your opportunity to geek out over “The Last Unicorn” and meet Peter S Beagle, please visit http://lastunicorntour.com/.