Unicorns by Scott Stealey As you read the following example

by Scott Stealey
As you read the following example, complete a thorough talk to the text.
Especially make notes on how well the author completes a story in
a small amount of time. Try to make comments on the quality of the story.
evin first shuffled out of the woods a few months ago while I was playing my
zither in the backyard. He lay down to listen, nuzzled his horn in the grass, then
got up to pluck pieces of glass off the hanging mobiles on the eaves. These
seem to be his only two motivations in life, listening to the zither and eating bits
of glass. For a time I was happy to oblige him even if I got nothing in return but
the belief that we somehow had found each other, me by choosing to remain in
that small house after my husband left, and him by my abundance of the only two
things in this world that he seemed to live for. But then I was laid off from the
hanging mobile factory.
I was advised by our head of human resources to begin my unemployment by
taking stock of the things that I still had. I had no nice jewelry, no nice dresses,
no savings, no husband, no job prospects.
But, and I think this was the human resources lady's point, let's try to forget all
the negatives. I still have some things. I have my car (currently in the shop), my
unicorn, my French press coffeemaker, my writing stationary, my zither, my TV. I
would very much like to sell Kevin to someone for the reasonable price of one
thousand, seven hundred dollars so I can pay off the repairs and get my car
back. I was thinking of asking for two thousand, seven hundred dollars, but I
thought that might invite bad karma. Mythical creatures always have some sort
of, well, let's face it, myth behind them, and it would be just my luck that one of
those unknown myths bemoans selling off a unicorn for a profit lest a terrible hex
befall the profiteer's sight, or hearing, or genitals. So in fairness to both of us I
seek no profit, only the money to get my car back. Sometimes all a person needs
to start a new life is a way to flee their old one. I placed an ad in the newspaper,
"One unicorn, male, enjoys music, good companion. $1,700, price firm, call 5555955."
An editor from Good Living Magazine called a few days after I placed the ad and
asked if I could write an article for them about my unicorn, since their readers find
unicorns "fascinating" and they are always looking for a "fresh perspective" from
"experts" on the subject. I was flattered of course, and thinking quickly, I
requested a flat fee of one thousand, seven hundred dollars for the article. The
editor agreed and said the article was to be 5000 words. I have never written
anything more than some letters here and there to my ex-husband, but I was
overjoyed at the shot for a new career in magazine journalism. I pulled out a pen
and some of my stationary, made a large cup of coffee in my French press, and
went out to the patio to begin writing.
I knew magazine articles had to start off with a real zinger of a sentence,
something to grab the reader by the collar. I couldn't think of anything with that
kind of pizzazz however. So I got up from the chaise lounge and switched to my
kitchen bartop. I remembered once hearing that Ernest Hemingway always wrote
standing up, so I thought this arrangement might get the words flowing for me,
too. But I didn't know how to begin. I couldn't just say, "My unicorn Kevin loves
eating bits of glass and listening to music played on the zither." That wasn't what
the articles in Good Living Magazine sounded like. Why didn't Kevin do anything
else? Why wasn't he fascinating?
The next day I resolved to write the middle of the article first and get to the
beginning part later. I wrote a few sentences describing Kevin's "whispy silver"
mane. After some time scribbling descriptions I counted up all the words and the
total came to 85. 85 words! How can anyone ever actually write 5,000? Just
because a unicorn came to live in my backyard, that made me an expert? Why
didn't the editors want an article on hanging mobiles? Those I could write for
days about. But before you can begin talking about hanging mobiles you need a
diagram sketched out for reference, so I did that on some graph paper as the
afternoon slipped away.
I hadn't had the urge to drink for some time, but now it overwhelmed me. A
deadline loomed. In the cellar I found a few bottles of wine my ex-husband had
left. There were some cobwebs in the cellar so I scrubbed out the rafters with a
dustcloth, twisting my wrist in the corners.
After three glasses of shiraz I was pretty drunk and nearly called my ex-husband
to tell him I drank his vintage. Then I had an inspiring thought: Kevin had to come
from somewhere. He came to me from the woods so maybe he had a family back
in there. The readers of Good Living Magazine would love an article with a family
theme. Everyone loves a good article about family.
I baited Kevin with glass shards, and he sheepishly followed me back into the
woods. Where's your family, Kevin? I asked him. He contently crunched up the
glass in his jaws and followed me down the deer-trod path.
It was getting dark out. I almost drunkenly staggered into a tree. Then Kevin
skewered his horn into the trunk of a birch tree after I bumped into him. His black
eyes looked so helpless. Kevin, I asked him again, this time speaking slower,
Where is your family?