The Unicorn, The Mystery by Janet Mason is a fictional retelling of what happened to the unicorn and how it disappeared on Earth.
It seems like I’ve been writing all of my life – since I was writing stories and poems since I was a child. But I’ve been writing seriously – several hours a day – since I was twenty-nine. Gertrude Stein also started writing seriously when she was twenty-nine. Gertrude Stein is the American expatriate writer who moved to France with her partner Alice B. Toklas in 1903, the country where they lived for the rest of their lives.
Gertrude Stein is especially known for her literary and artistic salon that she had in Paris in the 1920s.
She is also known as “The Mother of Us All” – the name of an opera that she wrote with Virgil Thompson in 1945.
I mention Gertrude Stein because writing is a continuum. A writing teacher that I once had described writers as standing on the shoulders of the authors who came before them.
As a writing teacher, I always have my students mention their favorite authors when introducing themselves to the class. This tells us something about each student and we learn about new writers. To be a writer, you must be a reader. Books must mean something to you. Often, they mean a great deal to you.
I often say that if you are looking for a book to read and you can’t find it, then you must write it. Write the books that are nonexistent. Write about what is nonexistent in literature. This is a good marketing strategy too. Chances are that you aren’t the only person looking to read the book that you are going to write.
Aside from being a reader, the other quality that it helps to have is perseverance. Don’t let anyone tell you that there’s no point in writing your story. This is as futile as it is defeatist. If you decide that it’s over before you get started, then it is over. Don’t give away your power.
To me, writing is as necessary as breathing. Awards (I’ve won a few) and being published are nice. But when you take yourself seriously, you’re going to spend far more time with the writing (in solitude – creating your own worlds) than you spend with the elation of being honored. In other words, you must love the work more than you love being loved.
In 2012, my book Tea Leaves, a memoir of mothers and daughters was published by Bella Books. It was chosen by the American Library Association for its 2013 Over the Rainbow List.
My novel THEY, a biblical tale of secret genders was published by Adelaide Books in 2018. Adelaide Books also published my most recent novel The Unicorn, The Mystery in 2020. I was inspired to write The Unicorn, The Mystery from what is commonly called “the unicorn room” which is a room with seven tapestries hanging on the walls that depict what is still called “an unsolved mystery.” “The unicorn room” is part of The Cloisters – a building and a collection that is reconstructed from a monastery from the Middle Ages in The South of France. The Cloisters, located in the northernmost tip of Manhattan, is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Unicorn, The Mystery is a fictional retelling of what happened to the unicorn. Following is more information on my novel which is available where books are available online including Amazon. It is also available through your local independent bookstore and through branches of public libraries.
Taking inspiration from the 16th-century European tapestries known as “The Hunt of the Unicorn,” on display at the Met Cloisters, lesbian writer Janet Mason has crafted the novel The Unicorn, The Mystery (Adelaide Books), told from the viewpoints of a monk and, of course, a unicorn. –
the Bay Area Reporter, Gregg Shapiro
Like a beautiful tapestry, the novel weaves together theological debate and unforgettable characters, including queer nuns and their secret cat companion. Mason blends myth and history to conjure up a spellbinding vision. –Kittredge Cherry, Publisher, Qspirit.net
In The Unicorn, The Mystery, a novel for adults, we meet a unicorn who tells us the story of the seven tapestries, called “The Hunt of the Unicorn” from the 1500s on display in “the unicorn room” in the Cloisters, now part of Manhattan’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The tapestries tell the story of what is still called an “unsolved mystery.”
The story is set in an abbey in France not far from the barn in the countryside where the tapestries were discovered. Pursued by a band of hunters, the unicorn is led along by observing birds, smelling and eating the abbey flowers and fruits (including imbibing in fermented pomegranates), pursuing chaste maidens (there is one in the tapestry) and at times speaks to other animals such as the majestic stag.
Janet Mason is a teacher of creative writing at such places as Temple University Center City (in Philadelphia) and a Unitarian Universalist lay minister as well as being an author. Thanks to Authors’ Lounge for posting this article.