“Inspiration Fairy, I curse you!” cried the author in frustration. The blank page of paper remained on their desk, mocking their inability to write. Throwing down their pen, they closed their eyes and tried to take deep calming breathes.
They soon became aware of a whooshing sound. The sound was hardly audible over the sound of the blood rushing in their ears. Opening their eyes, they saw a miniature whirlwind of multi-coloured and sparkly smoke. It was rising from the centre of the blank page.
Startled the author pushed away from their desk. The wheels on their office chair squeaking in protest at the rough treatment. With a loud pop the whirlwind disappeared. The sound was reminiscent of the party poppers at their nieces last birthday.
In its place stood a two inch tall unicorn. The unicorn was white, with rainbow coloured mane and tail. It’s horn was also rainbow coloured. It glittered in a late afternoon sunbeam. A shower of sparkles fell, as the unicorn shook out its mane and tail.
The author sat in open mouthed astonishment. Nothing like this had ever happened before. The unicorn stared back, a baleful gleam in their eyes.
“Really!”, growled the unicorn. “After all of the ideas I’ve shared. After all of the inspiration I’ve provided. You curse me!”. The unicorn stamped it’s hoof. “You’re ungrateful, that’s what you are!”
The unicorn pranced around in a circle in agitation. “I should take my ideas and find another aspiring author”, threatened the unicorn. Turning to face the author it asked, “Well, what do you have to say for yourself?”.
“You’re a…” stammered the author.
“Yes…” replied the unicorn.
“You’re a…” gasped the author.
“Yes…” replied the unicorn, a note of impatience and frustration crept into it’s voice.
“You’re a uni…” stammered the author.
“Well spit it out!”, said the unicorn. “You’re usually much more eloquent than this”.
The author took a deep breath and tried to gather their composure. “You’re a unicorn and not a fairy!” said the author all in a rush. “I always thought inspiration came from fairies, or at least one of the muses. I’d never thought unicorns could do the job”.
“Really?” asked the unicorn with an incredulous gasp . “That’s what you’re going with? I threaten to take my ideas and find another author, and all you can do is complain that I’m the wrong species for you?”.
The author started to apologise by the unicorn cut them off.
“You’re a speciesist! That’s what you are. If it wasn’t for head office making noise about my quota I’d dissolve our partnership right here and now”.
The author tried again to apologise. It was wonderful to have a magical unicorn visit. They felt the need to try to improve on their awful first impression.
The unicorn sighed, “Come back here. I can’t talk to you while your all the way over there on the other side of the room”. The author scooted themselves back to their desk. Using that awkward sitting shuffle familiar to office workers everywhere.
Once the author was back at their desk, the unicorn said “Now lean over. We need to have an eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart, unicorn-to-author chat”. The author lent over, cross their arms in front of themselves on their desk and rested their chin on their hand.
The author tried to apologise again, but the inspirational unicorn didn’t let them speak. It explained in minute and excruciating detail how their relationship was to work. All relationships had some ups and downs, some good times and challenging times. Cursing your inspirational writing partner was “going too far, uncalled for, and hurtful”.
Chastised the author apologised profusely and asked “How can I make it up to you?”.
Having made its point, and seeing the author was remorseful, the unicorn sat down on the desk. The author sat up, and stretched the crick out of their neck from hunching over for so long.
“This is how it’s going to work”, it said. “I’ll bring the spark, we’ll workshop it together, and you do the writing”.
“So what you’re basically saying is that, you bring some of the ideas, and I do all the work?” asked the author.
“Exactly!” the unicorn nodded emphatically, “now you’re getting it”. Looking around it asked “So what did you do with the idea about the man, the mirror and the haircut?”.
The afternoon passed in a very productive writing session. It was approaching dinner time when the unicorn had to go, and the author had to stop writing. They parted ways with the author promising to continue to work hard.
The author was sad to see the unicorn go. But they knew that the inspiration unicorn would always be there for them if they needed. To be successful, they needed to put in the hard work first.
Inspiration and the impetus for this story came from a collision of three things:
- My own frustration at not writing. A goal I’m continuing to work on.
- The fairy and unicorn books that my daughter loves to read and have read to her.
- This writing advice from Alan Baxter, an Australian author I admire.