Drabble 108 – Humicubate

Humicubate

It’s been a while, huh?

I’ve been phenomenally busy for the past two weeks. I went to two conventions, covering PAX West for Women Write About Comics and spending too much money at Rose City Comic Con. I had this drabble ready two weeks ago, but life got in the way and I’m trying to do better at taking care of myself.

At any given time, I’m trying to spin plates and juggle and live life as well, and sometimes I have to take a moment to set everything down and breathe. I don’t work better when I’m stressed, nor do I live better when I’m working all the time. And though I love the vast majority of the work I do, sometimes I need to put it aside.

In establishing arbitrary limits on myself–both in terms of when things need to be put online, for example, and in when I need to stop work for the day–I’ve found I’m getting much better at it. My work is better, more consistent. I sleep better. I’m in a more positive mood.

I know this, but it’s so hard to do. Give yourself a break regardless.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 107 – Scelestic

Scelestic

I’ve never been the kind of person who’s drawn to the villain. I get the appeal–really, I do–but with a few exceptions I’m not interested in understanding the villain’s perspective. That’s not to say I don’t love a good motivation, nor that I don’t enjoy villains (someday I’ll write about how excellent Rita Skeeter is), only that I’m not overly fond of stories that seek to absolve a bad person of any wrongdoing by showing how they’re secretly wounded or actually worthy of my sympathy, not my scorn.

There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part I’m just not interested in the but-he’s-just-troubled serial killer, nor the didn’t-get-enough-attention-as-a-child abuser. We all have darkness to us, but that doesn’t absolve us of personal responsibility. The same is true of villains–they’re villainous not because of what they’ve endured, but because of what they’ve chosen to do. We can’t control our pasts, but we can certainly control our actions.

Villains are interesting, and having a multidimensional one is often the key to a great conflict. But maybe I’m just not good enough at forgiving to appreciate the stories where he was good all along, really, if only I’d just taken the time to get to know him.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 102 – Algomnemonesis

Algomnemonesis

I somehow missed drabble number 102 when I was numbering them, which is actually perfect because algomnemnesis is a neologism (another fun new word–and that’s no joke) related to memory. Painful memory, specifically. My missing the correct number is not a particularly painful memory, but I’m addressing it all the same. Without it, my list of drabbles won’t be complete.

I’m sure the ground of painful memories has been tread at least a billion times, and I don’t have much to add to that that hasn’t been said by others. If I could jar up my bad memories but keep them on a shelf, I would. I don’t want them gone, because, unfortunately, they are as much a part of me as all the good ones. But how much of a relief would it be to excise them like a malignant growth and preserve them for study?

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 106 – Cacoethes Scribendi

Cacoethes Scribendi

Writing advice is as individual as the writing we produce. I know we all like to hear absolutes, but they’re not practical. There’s no one path to success, no one tried-and-true tip to become successful, no easy-peasy method to ensure everything you do will find a reader.

That’s part of why I have this strange relationship with writing inspiration. I’ve never been a particularly touchy-feely person when it comes to writing; for me, it’s not magic or muses that makes me write, it’s a desire to make something. I’ve never been the type of person who feels like some great story is working through them–it’s great if you are, but it’s not my thing–so sometimes the quotes and inspiration that work for so many others just make me feel tired.

Take the above image. I’ve cropped it to suit my own needs, but the full version, instead of inspiring me, gave me the giggles. What’s that pine cone doing there? Is that the secret to writing I’ve been missing my whole life? Will all my prose improve, all my adverbs disappear, all my insecurities and imposter syndrome and typos be vanquished if I keep a pine cone at my desk?

I guess I like to keep a sense of humor about my writing. It’s work, but it’s also play for me. I guess maybe I ought to put a pine cone on my desk after all.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 105 – Hoxter

Hoxter

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a bank robber.

I have no reason for this–it’s just one of those unreasonable aspirations I had as a kid, just like wanting to be a panther. I knew, even then, that bank robber wasn’t a reasonable career, and maybe this all came about because I read something about Bonnie and Clyde and thought it sounded cool, but for a good chunk of my childhood I imagined myself planning heists and escaping from close shaves with the police, escaping my bonds in darkened cellars and returning to my life of crime, where I stole from the wealthy for my own gain.

In reality, I once returned a mood ring to a Zumiez after accidentally walking out with it on my finger. The clerk looked at me like I’d lost my mind, not because I accidentally stole it, but because I took the time to return it.

That’s part of what fiction is for me–a way of exploring all these things I’m incapable of in real life. The real stuff creeps in anyway, but I’ve always loved fantasy precisely because I don’t have to be beholden to the things I actually say, think, or do. I can rob banks, date the queen, solve a murder mystery with my werewolf boyfriend.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 104 – Mimp

Mimp

I was never good at playing house as a kid. I never wanted to be the mother or the child; I wanted to stab things with a sword or either cast or break magic spells. Asking me to play house was equivalent to asking me to sit and pout in the corner.

I feel a bit different, now–I enjoy cooking, cleaning, gardening. I like making fancy little sandwiches and eating them daintily. One of my favorite things to do on vacation is go out for afternoon tea, in part because I like tea and in part because I like the ceremony of it, the fancy dishes, the feeling that I’m doing something that’s foreign to me.

Because it all still feels like play. It’s not the environment I grew up in; it’s somebody else’s upscale upbringing, and they probably know the names of each little pastry. That’s fine–it loses none of the magic for me, even if I’m just playing pretend.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 103 – Alseid

Alseid

A few creepy things have happened to me throughout my life, but when somebody asks me for my creepiest story, exactly one comes to mind–the time I saw a something on the side of the road late at night.

I say a something because I’m not sure what it was and I have no touchstone for what such a thing could even be. It was around three in the morning; I was tired and I’ve been known to see strange things when I’m tired, but it happened on a road that was notoriously haunted in my community.

It went like this: I was staring out the window, watching the trees go by. As I looked, I saw something rise up to about six feet high and outstretch wings that appeared to be about six feet in span. We kept driving, and I kept staring out the window, certain I’d imagined it.

Until a friend in the car said, “Did you just see that?”

It wasn’t scary until that moment. I could convince myself that nothing had happened, that there was nothing to be frightened of in the woods, but the moment somebody else acknowledged that it happened, I had to confront that it had really been there. Whatever it was, it’d been real enough that all three of us in the car had seen it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 101 – Cacchinator

Cacchinator

I’m never sure if I have a great sense of humor or a terrible one. I’m notoriously picky about comedy, but I laugh at nearly anything that even resembles a joke if it’s said to me in person. I laugh at the same jokes over and over again, no matter how many times I’ve heard them. I have read this post that I randomly found online like seven years ago at least ten times and found it hysterical with each re-read. I read the beginning again just now to make sure it was still funny, and, sure enough, I got to “Happy Birth Day Dad” before starting to chuckle to myself.

Nobody else seems to think this is as funny as I do, which is fine; I don’t have to prove that it’s funny to find it so, just as I don’t have to understand why my students find the word ‘attendees’ so funny that I had to change the words in a story problem just so they’d stop shrieking with laughter and actually solve the problem. What makes us laugh is unique to all of us, so while I might politely chuckle through The Big Lebowski, I have no shame in uproariously laughing at this silly drawing of a face and the memory of that time that my friends wouldn’t stop quoting The Mummy at me.

I might be embarrassed that it takes little to make me laugh, but I’m not. I’ve spent enough time unhappy; I’ll be loudly, gloriously, obnoxiously happy any time I please, even if it means I get the side-eye for laughing at a cake in public.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 100 – Fernweh

I honestly didn’t expect that I’d end up writing one hundred of these little stories. I started a blog because it’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re an aspiring writer, and short fiction is something I know. I’d been saving up a list of weird vocabulary words for no apparent reason, and after a whole bunch of angsting, I connected the two and this blog was born.

It’s never been about readership for me. Sure, it would be great if I had legions of loyal followers slavering for the next drabble, but that seems both unrealistic and unnecessary.

As a writer–as a person, really–I struggle a lot with legitimacy. It’s hard to convince myself that anything I do is valuable or meaningful. I told myself I couldn’t write a novel, so I did NaNoWriMo. I told myself I couldn’t write a blog, so I did this. Maybe constantly daring myself to do more isn’t the best way to prove that I can do things, but it’s worked.

I went back over all 100 posts last week because I’m putting together a little zine or chapbook of the ones I like best, and I found that, not only has my work markedly improved, but there are quite a few of these little stories I actually like. Each one encapsulates so many things–my mood at the moment of writing, a different idea of meaning, a tiny bit of fiction. I’ll never be satisfied with anything I make, but, in looking back, I’ve found that there’s a lot I do value there.

I don’t know how long I’ll keep this up for, but 100 drabbles is just a beginning.

Anyway, here’s one more.

Drabble 99 – Connate

Connate

I’ve always liked mysteries–not in the cozy/detective/murder sense (though I quite like those too), but in the grander sense. Though I’ve never been much of a sci-fi fanatic, I find the vastness and great unknowable nature of space very comforting. There is something huge and strange and incomprehensible out there, and that’s actually kind of nice.

Whenever I get bogged down in trivial problems, I think about how big things are. The Earth is much bigger than I give it credit for, and our solar system is even bigger than that. Our galaxy is bigger still, and that’s all wrapped up in infinitely larger units I don’t know the name of because it was very hard to stay awake in my astronomy classes, despite finding them interesting.

So when I think about my problems in that context–my problems, like how I can’t find the paperwork to get my wedding ring cleaned, not the broader societal problems that fill me with a constant state of dread–they feel a bit more manageable. My paperwork is somewhere in my house, not in the vast distances of space. I will find it. That’s comforting.

Maybe I should feel insignificant or tiny or inconsequential, but instead I just feel cozy, like a cat curled on a pillow. There’s so much out there that it’s easy to get swallowed up in the hugeness of it all, but instead I’ll focus on myself and the few things I can control.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.