It’s almost 2 am and I can’t sleep. Sleep problems are, of course, not unusual for me, but when my normal bedtime is in the 9-10 o’clock range, 2 is really quite extreme.
I’m taking quite a bit longer to recover from my injections than I anticipated, and am generally feeling quite crappy. Let’s leave it at that.
But the reason I can’t sleep tonight is because of something lovely. Something wonderful in fact.
A few days ago, I completed a photo I had been looking forward to creating for a long time. It was based on Peter S. Beagle’s immortal novel The Last Unicorn. One of the main characters of the book is a magician named Schmendrick. He’s not a very good magician, though he would like nothing more than to be a real magician at last. When his master was training him, he saw great potential in Schmendrick, but also knew it would take him much longer than his natural life to reach it, so he made Schmendrick immortal. The spell was cast in such a way that whenever Schmendrick finally became a true magician, his immortality would fall from him.
Schmendrick has lived a very long time knowing exactly what he wants to be and being unable to attain it. It is a long and frustrating existence. Many things happen to him on his journey in the book and towards the end, yes, he does become a real magician. Peter S. Beagle writes of that moment:
Wonder and love and great sorrow shook Schmendrick the Magician then, and came together inside him and filled him, filled him until he felt himself brimming and flowing with something that was none of these. He did not believe it, but it came to him anyway, as it had touched him twice before and left him more barren than he had been. This time, there was too much of it for him to hold; it spilled through his fingers and toes, welled up equally in his eyes and his hair and the hollows of his shoulders. There was too much to hold — too much ever to use; and still he found himself weeping with the pain of his impossible greed. He thought, or said, or sang, I did not know that I was so empty, to be so full.
I felt wondrously happy with the photo when it was done. I posted it on my Flickr page and added a link to it from my Facebook, as I usually do.
And you know what? Peter S. Beagle himself saw my Facebook post and commented on it. He said, “This is amazing.”
He liked it. I could not feel more fulfilled if god himself tapped me on the shoulder and told me I’d done a good job. Peter S. Beagle is a god to me.
I never really expected to hear from him about it. Those three words of his made me more satisfied than I can express.
I must make myself go to sleep soon. I will feel utterly wretched tomorrow. But it is a beautiful thing to lose sleep over.