I just got back from a week-long trip to Seattle, perfectly timed to completely miss the awesome indie publisher festival that’s going on there right now. Sigh. But the purpose was visiting family, and that was fulfilled. Strangely, at least once a day I happened upon a unicorn.

The first day it was wandering up to the new location (well, new since I was there last, two years ago) for Elliott Bay Books. After popping in there, drooling over their always-astounding selection, actually finding the John Berger book I was looking for and having a long conversation with the clerk about the title And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos (which was familiar to me before I ever heard of John Berger because a folk-duo The Story used it for the title of a song on their first album, Grace in Gravity, which I loved and continue to love) I wandered around Capitol Hill for a bit. Where I wandered past the sign for a bar, Unicorn. Like a sign from the gods, spoke to the pop-culture kitsch-loving inner core of my being. And a few nights later, when I convinced some friends to actually go there, it lived up to its gaudy-glimmering promises with drinks like Unicorn Jizz and My Little Pony, that though a bit pricy ($9 each) were awesome.

After passing Unicorn, the first of the trip, I remembered visiting a few years ago the amazing indie bookstore of my dreams, Pilot Books. Before I could get there, it started to rain, so I ducked into Red Light, a surprisingly large and fantastic indie, vintage and costume clothing store. In the basement, this glorious tapestry rocked my world.

Sadly, it took me another two days to make it over to Pilot Books, which is better than all the unicorn tapestries in the world, and where I had to really constrain myself to only buying two books. The owner, Summer, and I had a great conversation about potential relationships between online indie lit mags and real-world indie bookstores. These are things I’m still thinking lots and lots about.

There were unicorns in other places, too. A series of plush pegacorns (half pegasus, half unicorn) at Pike Place Market; a pegacorn t-shirt that I couldn’t resist at Monster in Ballard, this crazy unicorn mural, and another mural which I can’t find a picture of, but is of a unicorn sitting in a cafe drinking coffee and is by the Seattle lochs and botanical gardens.

I’m sure, now, that we are all surrounded by unicorns all the time, and only need to look carefully to notice.