When people ask what inspires me, I never provide what I would consider an adequate answer. This brain that has spewed forth over half a million words for a series cannot come up with a reason for doing so. Instead, I stand there like an idiot incapable of stringing together enough words to make a sentence.
I don’t know why this happens, but I’m not going to beat myself up over it since the brain remains as mysterious to mankind as the female orgasm. So, when I contemplate the elusive answer to the confounding “inspiration” question, I usually come up with something rather generic. Am I proud of this? No, but even if my answers are generic, they’re true, so I use them to silence the crickets. Today, however, I had a breakthrough, and I didn’t even have to search for it. Realization slapped me across the face in a moment of unreflective boredom.
So, without further ado (Are you ready? Excited? On the edge of your seat?), I give you one of the Mystic series’ inspirations – Legend.
Yes, that Legend. The Ridley Scott magical fantasy of the 80s. I loved the movie as a child. It was up there with Labyrinth, The NeverEnding Story, The Worst Witch, Teen Witch, Mannequin, Weekend at Bernie’s, Police Academy, and that sweet little morsel called Dirty Dancing. Wow, my taste varies.
So, Legend. Please tell me you remember it. If not, here’s a little refresher. The Darkness devil dude wants to create eternal night with a little help from his minion goblins. To do this, he must kill the last two unicorns, because as long as the unicorns live, evil cannot harm the pure of heart. Oh, and to add icing on the corrupt cake, Darkness wants to marry the fairy princess. Got that? Okay. There’s Jack the forest boy played by a very young Tom Cruise sporting a dreadful uni-brow, and then there’s Lili the fairy princess played by the gorgeous Mia Sara, who you might remember from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (another fave). But I digress. Back to Legend. Along with his elven allies, Jack the forest boy must storm the evil lair, defeat Darkness, save the fairy princess (who happens to be his one true love), recover the unicorn horn stolen by Darkness, and reattach said horn on the male unicorn, so female unicorn can rejoice and make babies. Yay!!! Tom Cruise saves the world yet again.
Now that I’ve caught you up, let me tell you the purpose of this post. As I got sucked into an airing of Legend earlier, it hit me – the Mystic series, visually speaking, was unknowingly inspired by the visuals on Legend… minus that awful uni-brow. Some of the circa 1985 special effects make me giggle, but the scenery, costumes and overall ambiance are gorgeous. In nearly every scene there is something beautiful going on – dandelion fluff blowing in the wind; sparkling snow drifting around; bubbles or glitter flying between characters and sticking to their cheeks. A hazy glow follows the unicorns, and some of the landscapes look like something you’d see in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings, only filmed with less advanced cameras. It’s been years since I watched Legend, long before I wrote the Mystic series, but I could clearly see Layla and Quin in those settings, which made me realize – this is one of my inspirations.
I never would have been able to tell you that before. I could have searched for hours and not come up with the movie Legend, but it clearly had lasting influence on my imagination and interpretation of beauty. And now that I know this, I can pinpoint other movies as well. Like the dream sequence in Labyrinth. Sarah is in a sparkly white ballgown and there are bubbles floating everywhere and music playing and the edges of the scene are hazy. Quin’s no David Bowie with his rocking hair and inescapable bulge, but that scene possesses the fairy tale beauty I’ve built the Mystic world out of.
When I decided to write this post, I went looking for a screen shot of Legend and nearly flipped when I found this video. Not only does it have some of the scenes I want to show you, it is set to Loreena McKinnett’s The Mummer’s Dance, which is on the station I listen to when I need inspiration for the Mystic series! Can you believe that? In that moment, I knew this post was meant to be, so sit back, press play, and lose yourself in a world of beauty, if only for a few minutes.
I love hearing from you, so talk to me! Is Legend a movie you recall fondly? Or do you think it’s laughable and Tom’s uni-brow ruins the whole thing? What other movies from my silly list do you love/hate?