During mid-2011, I wrote a short story (or flash fiction, really) called Pearl Red, inspired by a piece of imagery I have loved ever since first seeing it in books, then later in ‘the real’…the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. I stood mesmerized in front of the six tapestries that make up this suite (in the Cluny Museum in Paris) in the late 1980s (and had by then been a professional tapestry weaver for a number of years). During the 1990s, I wrote an essay and gave a tutorial about them as part of an Art History degree, and later gave a lecture about their symbolism (which is rich and complex) to the Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group. So the lady and her unicorn had travelled with me through the years.
Last year, I wrote Pearl Red to submit to Trunk Books for their second anthology, themed around the cultural significance of blood. (My poem Thread of Life had appeared in their first anthology, ‘Hair’). As the months passed, then a year, I forgot about it completely ~ and although I had submitted the story, had managed to delete it from my files. So the unicorn, it seemed, had slipped away.
Last week, the tapestries came strongly into my mind; I posted photos of them to Facebook and got into numerous nostalgic chats about them. That night, a unicorn wandered through my dreams. The next morning, on checking my emails, there was an acceptance of Pearl Red for the ‘Blood’ anthology, which will be published as a luxury boutique edition next month (October 2012) through the Sydney University of Technology.
So if you have ever doubted the potency of unicorn magic….