Drabble 132 – Aesthete

Aesthete

I’m one of those people who really benefited from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Not because I needed to individually thank all my belongings for their service (you do you, though) but because I have trouble letting go.

This isn’t a surprise to anybody who knows me.

My problem is not an accumulation of what I would call “trash.” It’s an accumulation of sentimentality; things I’ve given others that have since returned to me, things that were given to me that remind me of particular times in my life, report cards, photos, newspaper clippings. I don’t know what to do with them, but I can’t let them go. What if I forget?

I probably don’t need a get-well-soon card I made for my mother when I was eight, but I can’t get rid of it. I’ve tried; I put it in a pile of papers to be tossed, but I can’t bring myself to throw it away. Some of these paper survived a house fire – who am I to toss them in the trash now?

So I keep them, moving them from one place to another, hoping Marie Kondo isn’t cringing somewhere over the way I just can’t throw away these soot-stained papers because of all the memories they contain. Maybe someday they’ll join the ranks of clothes I’ve donated, but for now they take up space, and I’m okay with that.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 131 – Oracular

Oracular

In elementary school, much like today, witches were the hot new thing. I think Sabrina the Teenage Witch was the most likely explanation, but, whatever the reason, my class was obsessed with gaining or recognizing our innate magical ability. We formed a club of aspiring witches, with the richer kids purchasing kits and things to share among the group.

There are a lot of uncanny things about that time period – the weird way one of the spells I cast worked, for example – but it’s the fact that this group of friends formed at all that sticks with me. Several young girls of different social and economic statuses came together, all out of the desire to work magic. Those who couldn’t provide for themselves were provided for. Our spells were benign, usually helpful things; we worked them together or separate, and informed one another of the results in hushed whispers, delighting in our abilities.

The club didn’t last long, but the memories of Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, the necklace hidden from parents, the anxious flutter of a heart in anticipation of changing the world do.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 130 – Propinquity

Propinquity

One of the best things about writing is that sometimes you get ideas that won’t leave you alone. This is also one of the worst things about writing.

I’ve had an idea that’s been haunting me for, oh, years at this point. And in the backlog of things I have to do–the short stories I’ve started, the book I’m editing, the other book I’m editing, the other book I should really finish before I start yet another writing project–I haven’t yet gotten to it. Instead, I keep ramping up this anticipation for it in the hopes that someday, when I get there, I’ll be so ready that the words won’t fight to come out and the whole thing will be smoother than any story has ever been.

It won’t, because I’m too in love with the damn thing to see that I have no plan beyond the first chapter. Logically, I know this. But I’m telling myself a different story and letting that hype build up and carry me through the difficult parts, when I’m certain I’m no good at anything. Because if this thing doesn’t work out, there’s always that next one, better than the one that came before.

I probably won’t have a drabble for next week precisely because of the aforementioned backlog. But for now, here’s one, a significantly altered taste of that thing I just can’t wait to start.

Drabble 129 – L’Appel du Vide

L'Appel du Vide

Here’s something exciting – The Compendium of Magical Beasts has a cover, and it’s available for preorder!

I’m unbelievably excited about this book. The ‘unbelievably’ is as true as true can be, because I still don’t believe it. I’m aware I wrote a book, and that it has a cover, and that there’s still work to be done on it before it makes its way into the world. But I also don’t believe it, because I’m me, a person that I have lived with for almost thirty years, and I can’t have written a book that, later this year, can be bought in a store.

But I do believe it enough to worry about it, which I’ve been doing all day. Worry is seductive; if I listen to even one of the many nonsense concerns floating around my brain, I’ll listen to all of them. It’s like someone is talking in the next room, and I know they’re talking about me, and I know I shouldn’t listen because it’s none of my business. But I listen anyway, because I have to know. And once I start listening, I can’t stop.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 128 – Vellichor

Vellichor

My last quarter of college was difficult. Not what I was studying – in fact, that quarter may very well have been one of my favorites – but rather the experience of it. I felt weighted down with expectations of what came next, with the knowledge that I’d be spending less time in the city and therefore less with my new group of friends, with the feeling that one large stage of my life was over and the next would be far scarier.

I spent much of that quarter isolating myself. Not in the sense that I cut off everybody around me, but in the sense that I consciously spent time with myself. I studied alone in weird places. I ate lunch by myself. I spent more time exploring campus for no reason other than that I could.

I also spent a lot of time in bookstores. I never looked for anything in particular; I’d just wander the aisles, looking at titles and occasionally pulling one off the shelf to read the back cover. I bought more than a few weird volumes of things I still have yet to read, stuffing my already overflowing backpack full of things I picked up on a whim.

That period of time might have been sad, in a sense. But it’s also a quarter I look back on fondly; I spent so much quiet time in the spring sun, people-watching and reading surrounded by plants. I ducked into bookstores on rainy days and found new, weird parts of the library to explore. I don’t regret it at all.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 127 – Euphonius

Euphonia

Two of the first horror books I ever read were about carnivals. These were years before I ever picked up Something Wicked This Way Comes, which likely would have scarred me for life. They were the silly kind of Goosebumps horror that was spooky but not really scary, but they haunted me for years afterward.

I spent a lot of time at fairs as a kid. I grew up in a small town with nothing to do, and our yearly summer fair was one of the few things I looked forward to every year. One year, when I was particularly young, I spent every day at the fair, open to close, wandering around by myself.

Nothing scary happened to me, but, even that young, it was surreal. I felt like I’d become part of the carnival somehow, a feature as intrinsic to the experience as the barkers drawing you in to play games. Just a girl wandering around with a bag of cotton candy and an unlimited rides bracelet, ready to fade away as soon as the fair packed up and moved along.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 126 – Quiescent

Quiescent
Altemps, sleeping Erinyes / CC BY-SA 3.0

Aeschylus’ Oresteia is one of those works I read and immediately knew I was reading against authorial intent. I didn’t have enough English literature education in me yet to understand why I shouldn’t care what some old dead man thought about Clytemnestra, but there was something about her rage that resonated with me, a rage so big and violent its aftershocks woke the dark gods beneath the earth.

I can’t imagine why I found that important.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 125 – Sweven

Sweven

When I was a kid, I lucid dreamed without trying. I thought it was something everybody did; I’d wish myself out of nightmares and turn every dream I could control into a grand, playful experiment. I worked out problems from my real life by acting them out in dreams. It didn’t help, but at least it gave me some measure of control.

Now that I’m older, I never lucid dream. I still try to work my problems out, but my dreams seem to actively work against me, coming up with increasingly difficult problems to solve, more frustrating situations, more awful rehashing of my worst fears.

I kept a dream journal for a while to see if there was any consistency there, but there wasn’t. Just an inscrutable soup of thoughts bubbling to the surface and sinking back down again, over and over, while I sleep.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 124 – Heliolater

Heliolater

There’s a period of time in late November and early December where I think I like winter. I prefer cold weather, certainly, but the next time I try to convince myself that I like short days, a muddy garden, and fewer delicious fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, I’d like someone to gently remind me that I’m a liar and a fraud and have no idea what I’m talking about.

I don’t like deep summer, either. I’m horribly picky about weather, and prefer transitory seasons; fall has all the chill of winter without the oppressive darkness, and spring has the warmth and growth I like in summer without giving me heat-induced rage. I begrudgingly admit I might like the sun, no matter how many times, come summer, I’ll try to deny it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 123 – Billet-Doux

Billet-Doux

In high school, I got on a letter-writing kick. I joined a postcard exchange club that matched you with people in other countries; that’s how I was introduced to Moomin, because of a postcard I got from someone in Finland I never spoke to again. I wrote all my friends letters that they never returned because I’m forever sappy and have a thing for snail mail. It didn’t matter, really–I did it because I wanted to, not because I wanted to get something back.

I grew up between snail mail and cell phones. I didn’t have a cell phone until after I graduated, so we communicated through a mixture of AIM, handwritten notes, and face-to-face conversation. I still have a lot of those notes stored away somewhere. They’re probably not interesting to anybody but me, just as little relics of who I was in those moments, how I expressed myself, what was funny or moving or confusing to me.

One thing I don’t have is love letters. I never dated anybody in high school, and by the time I met my now-husband, we’d transitioned smoothly to cell phones and there was no reason to send him a letter, especially because we moved in together after six months. It’s probably for the best; I can’t imagine teenage Melissa’s love notes would be something I could look at without getting embarrassed.

Despite that, I have a fascination with love letters. One of the stories I’m working on now (something I had to put aside to finish The Compendium of Magical Beasts) is based on love letters–I wanted to play with words and how a relationship based mostly in written communication changes, especially when anybody might be watching.

Anyway, here’s a drabble, a short letter between the love interests of that story.