Fangirl Moment: The Last Unicorn

With San Diego Comic Con month upon us, I thought it'd be nice to revisit some of the magic of past cons in preparation for this year. This was one of the first unexpectedly wonderful moments for me at SDCC 2014, only our second year going.

While trying to figure out how to get into the Funko booth line (which is always badly managed and perpetually capped), I wandered through the neighboring Artists' Alley area of the Exhibit Hall floor. A The Last Unicorn poster caught my eye, and since that was my favorite movie from childhood and one of my favorite books ever, I went over to see what it was.

And then I freaked out because Peter S. Beagle, the author of The Last Unicorn was sitting right there at the table.

I flailed at the Sister, who was still keeping an eye on the Funko booth, and she encouraged me to go over there and talk to him. So I made my way over. He was speaking to someone browsing the book selection at the time, so I talked to the man at the table about the books and whether I could get stuff signed. I obviously did *not* have my copy of The Last Unicorn on me, so I did what any self-respecting fangirl would do; I bought a new one. There was no way I was not going to get my favorite book signed by the author. I also picked up one of his other unicorn books.

I'm going to pause here because I need to talk about The Last Unicorn. As a kid, this was my favorite animated movie - even above all the Disney princess films. I watched it so much, the VHS cover is wrinkled and crumbling at the edges and the tape itself has warped sound during the opening credits. I found the unicorn again in college when I finally read the book, and that deepened my love for the story so much more. My childhood love for the story was based on the gorgeous animation, my fascination with unicorns, the princes and romance and magic. It was just another fairy tale to love, albeit one that gave me nightmares in the form of fiery red bulls and witches who kept vengeful harpies. But the book...

The book moved me in deeper ways - partly because I was now old enough to understand the themes that were present in the movie, but also because as is often the case, the book had more. It was wistful and nostalgic, romantic and world-weary, tragic and hopeful all at once. I love this story so much, I wrote about the unicorn for my "hero story" for the geeky menswear brand Hero Within.

And can we talk about the prose? It's the lyrical but not purple style I adore, effortlessly evocative. Beagle can do so much with so little; he makes words sing. It's the kind of poetic prose that has you believing in unicorns. I still look at the world hoping to catch a glimpse of one.

Anyway, despite my word-vomit tendencies, I think I tend to keep it cool enough when I've had the opportunity to meet people I admire. I am definitely not a burst-into-tears-from-the-feels type of person (though I'm moving towards that in my older age). But I will confess to you now that I found myself inexplicably tearing up when I met Peter S. Beagle and told him how much his book meant and continues to mean to me.

He was so gracious and kind, and he took the time to have a little chat with me. Since there was no one else in line, he told me an entire story, which essentially turned out to be a fantastical explanation for the Lizzie Borden murders, over the table after he was done signing my books.

The whole experience was so delightful and unexpected. Meeting Peter S. Beagle is not something that had even crossed my mind, and to sort of just stumble upon him in the chaos of Comic Con was magical in and of itself. This year will be my 5th year at the convention, and this experience is still one of my favorite things that has happened to me.

Q4U: What or who have you freaked out about? What's a favorite convention memory?