No but guys, GUYS, we need to talk about how important this scene is. Because the commonly accepted lore about unicorns is that they are so good and pure that they’ll only appear to young virginal girls. Because Molly Grue is a middle-aged woman who has been living with bandits for most of her life and is as far from innocent and virginal as you’re likely to get. Because she’s so angry that this creature, embodying everything that society tells her she’s lost, everything she’s thrown away through her own choices, is here now when all that The Unicorn represents is long since behind her. Because she knows, in a way that only someone who’s been steeped in an oppressive system her entire life can ever know, that she’s missed her chance and doesn’t deserve to be seeing a unicorn now.
And you know what? The Unicorn doesn’t give two fucks about her virginity, about her supposed loss of innocence and purity. She’s not repelled by Molly being older, being experienced, being a full human person. None of that has ever mattered to unicorns, only to the people telling stories about them. Not only does she step in to physically comfort her here, but before long this bandit’s wife becomes her friend, closer to her in most ways than Schmendrick.
This story is fucking revolutionary, you guys, and I just have a lot of feelings about it.
I heard Peter S. Beagle speak about this scene at a convention once. He said he just kept writing and writing into the scene and suddenly here was this powerful, moving dialogue which came out very strong and natural, flowing directly from inspiration.
He said it was one of those moments when “the writer just gets really lucky.”
Hard work and stubbornness, the other magic writer ingredients.
How microbes in placentas impact fetal life for better or worse.
So the peculiar canonization of John Green and this string of bizarre articles that anoint him as the vanguard of a post-sparkly-vampire seriousness in YA isn’t simply about taking a white male more seriously than everyone else. It’s also about privileging a certain narrative structure—the dominant narrative’s dominant narrative. It’s not only that Green is a straight white man, it’s that he writes in the way that generations of straight white men have deemed important and Literary. And in art, the remaking of form has historically made the establishment very uncomfortable. There’s so much innovation in YA (and, hi, middle grade!) and its audience is wonderfully open to new stories told in new ways. By holding up Green as an exemplar, by shoving his peers into his shadow, these critics are telling writers who might be innovating: if you want to be important, write like him.
Author Anne Ursu, “On ‘The John Green Effect,’ Contemporary Realism, and Form as a Political Act.”
Via The Otter Swamp
[Sunshine Aquarium, Tokyo, Japan]
Stinky feet? Sadder and wiser.
A man once asked me … how I managed in my books to write such natural conversation between men when they were by themselves. Was I, by any chance, a member of a large, mixed family with a lot of male friends? I replied that, on the contrary, I was an only child and had practically never seen or spoken to any men of my own age till I was about twenty-five. “Well,” said the man, “I shouldn’t have expected a woman (meaning me) to have been able to make it so convincing.” I replied that I had coped with this difficult problem by making my men talk, as far as possible, like ordinary human beings. This aspect of the matter seemed to surprise the other speaker; he said no more, but took it away to chew it over. One of these days it may quite likely occur to him that women, as well as men, when left to themselves, talk very much like human beings also.
twilight exclamation points
Notice: Seize the Day!