Bikini Bird is in love with Jorge Luis Borges’ book The Book of Imaginary Beings; she peruses it while using the toilet. It is, in fact, the perfect toilet book for the whole family, just so you know. It’s got pictures for kids and short entries about amazing imaginary beings for adults and kids-of-reading-age alike.
At her current age, the vocabulary is at times too advanced for Bikini Bird, so I end up reading some of the entries to her, and explaining them a bit. There are entries I skip, though, because while they might not be too frightening for her, they are too frightening for me. I kid. Kind of.
For example, the entry about Animals Which Live In Mirrors:
The Emperor pushed back the invaders, imprisoned them within the mirrors, and punished them by making them repeat, as though in a kind of dream, all the actions of their human victors. He stripped them of their strength and their own shape and reduced them to mere servile reflections. One day, however, they will throw off that magical lethargy.
The first to awaken shall be the Fish. In the depths of the mirror, we shall perceive a faint, faint line, and the color of that line will not resemble any other. Then, other forms will begin to awaken. Gradually they will become different from us; gradually they will no longer imitate us; they will break through the barriers of glass or metal, and this time they will not be conquered. Water-creatures will battle alongside mirror-creatures.
That doesn’t seem that scary, does it? Well, that’s because you are not in my mind, and you don’t understand — I have mirrors in my house, people! I don’t particularly want to look into them and see fish, or tigers, or mirror-creatures! I played Bloody Mary as a child! I have a vivid imagination! I started reading Lisey’s Story by Stephen King and couldn’t finish it because of the sheer terror! (For those who don’t know, it is a book about a terrifying thing that lives in mirrors and gets you! And I bought the book because I’d read that it was Stephen King’s foray into literature, so I thought it wouldn’t be scary. a) it was not literature, and b) it was scary!)
And yet…I do find the idea of another world within mirrors intriguing, mystifying, and kinda desperately intoxicating. I’d like to write a story about it, and I very well may. It would fit well into the Fairytale series, and so, like many things that frighten me (like documentaries on serial killers), I feel a draw to it that might require some exploration. It could be a very sexy story – a mirror lover. (I do not, however, think that a serial killer story is necessary, nor do I think that would be sexy. Do you hear me, brain? I do not need to work through that terror via erotica. Okay? Okay. It would be wrong.)
There is another beautiful association that I have with things that live in mirrors. Back in my youth, I was (and remain) a pretty big fan of one Jennifer Jane Niceley, and she had this song called “Siamese Twin” (uh, at least I think that was the name) and it was all about the ‘other’ that lives inside of us, the not nice one, the terrible, terrifying one, the one we try to kill, who humiliates us, or horrifies us. The only lyric I can remember comes after she has battled the demon down, and thought that she’d defeated it, but “she still shows up in shiny spoons and dark dinner plates.” How gorgeous is that? How haunting? How evocative? I would love to hear that song again, but I doubt that I ever will. She doesn’t perform it anymore.
Oh, Jennifer, you are so lovely.
Are you intrigued or frightened by the things that you might find in a mirror? Do you think that the evil twin who shows up in shiny spoons and dark dinner plates is worth making peace with, or do you want to destroy her forever? Did Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story scare the bejeebus out of you? Or did you find it tame and lame? Do you think serial killer fears should be explored in erotica? Do you think Jennifer Niceley has a beautiful voice? Do you want to buy her music? Please do!
2 thoughts on “The Book of Imaginary Beings: Mirror Animals”
The bit about seeing your evil self in spoons and shiny things reminds me of the series ‘Heroes’ where one of the characters was like that. She’d catch a reflection of her bad-ass self and revert to that character, trapping the goody-two-shoes self in the reflection.
I have always had a fascination with magical mirrors and even wrote a couple of fantasy stories about them. One was based on a dream I’d had as a teen, where I fell through a mirror into a fantasy realm. The other was about an old mirror that took my character back in time. Maybe the ideas came from ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ or the fact that I loved ‘The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe’ because I adored the idea that secret worlds could be hidden in innocuous things like wardrobes or mirrors.
I’m not a fan of horror, myself, and don’t like to think of really bad things living in mirrors, but now that you’ve brought up the subject, I will be looking twice at my reflection! lol
Heroes — I know the character of which you speak! 🙂 I think that it’s an old idea. I mean, there’s a pleasant side to the idea, too, like the story Anne of Green Gables told herself while living in the home she was at before going to Green Gables? It was someone who lived in the glass, and had an entire world there that was beautiful and not like her world at all. Do you remember? Or maybe it wasn’t a beautiful world? And Anne was her only friend? Uh, clearly I need to read Anne again before long! 😀 But, yes, I think it’s a tried and true idea.
That sounds like a great dream! I have a friend who is always having the most amazing and in depth dreams that would make great stories/novels. I usually don’t have dreams like that at all. I rather envy those who do! 🙂
Thanks for the comment! I always love hearing from you!