The Words of the Unicorn

The Words of the Unicorn

The Unicorn is a relatively minor character in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. He’s only in one scene that’s no more than a few pages long. But he says something quite remarkable to Alice: “If you believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?”

At first, it seems silly—it’s Through the Looking Glass; what do you expect? To put it in context, the Unicorn thought Alice, a child, was not real, and vise-versa. In the book, they were agreeing to accept the other’s literal existence. But more can be derived from that simple proposal. What if they were believing in the other’s potential?

Alice was tasked with handing out plum cake, but it was easier said than done. She cut the cake, and cut the cake, and cut the cake. Every time the darn thing joined back together. The Unicorn explained that a Looking-Glass cake needs to be passed out first, then cut. Doesn’t make much sense to us, but we don’t live in Looking-Glass Land, either. She followed the Unicorn’s advice and voila. Success!

What would have happened had the Unicorn not helped Alice? Would she have figured it out? Not likely. On the flip side, what if Alice had decided not to take the Unicorn’s nonsensical advice—I mean, how are you supposed to cut a cake that’s already been distributed? But they trusted one another and came out triumphant because of it.

What if we did that? What if, instead of being jealous when someone landed an agent or a book deal (or some other success), we were happy for them and celebrated with them? What if we were that shoulder to cry on when something fell through or that cheering section when they’re so close to that goal? Someone reached out to me about six weeks ago when I was feeling particularly discouraged. She didn’t have to. But because she did, we now have a friendship where we can lean on each other when need be.

The Words of the Unicorn: You got this!

Querying agents is hard. Landing a publisher is hard. And sometimes, it’s even harder to watch someone reach the milestone that you’re still fighting to achieve. But their success does NOT mean your failure. It simply means your time hasn’t come, yet (I have to remind myself of this often). But when it does, don’t you think that person you cheered on will be the loudest voice in your celebration? I think so, too.

So, what do you say? If I believe in you, will you believe in me?

‘Til next time!


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