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.

Drabble 122 – Mångata

Mangata
John Weiss / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

I grew up on an island, which sounds much more romantic than it is. I didn’t lead some kind of idyllic life there, I just happened to be closer to water than a lot of people, and have fond memories of my mom taking me to the beach at low tide so I could peer at starfish and anemones.

But the Puget Sound is a sound, not the ocean, so I still remember the first time I went to the coast and saw the ocean stretch out ahead of me, long and flat, with no mountains or islands to be seen. The world had always felt small to me, but seeing out across the Pacific, with nothing visible on the other side, I finally got a sense of how big it was.

I wasn’t afraid of it, but it stuck with me. How could anything be that large? I knew the sun orbited the earth, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but imagine the sizzle of a giant ball of fire as it sank into something so cold.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 121 – Pauciloquent

Pauciloquent

As I’m writing this, I’m listening to a truly atrocious conversation going on at the coffee shop behind me. I’ve been trying to start this blog post for roughly twenty minutes, but I’m so wrapped up in discovering what awful opinion is going to come spilling out of this man’s mouth next (especially because he drops the volume every time he goes to say something awful) that I couldn’t get started.

I keep thinking the conversation has reached a low point, but they find new depths to plumb. I suppose sharing their horrible opinions is how they’re getting to know one another; I’m getting to know them, too, and I’m thinking more and more about unhinging my jaw and swallowing the world. Such is the life of writing in coffeeshops.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 120 – Meraki

Meraki

The baking challenge I set for myself has, so far, gone exceptionally well. I’ve had pumpkins leftover from my garden since roughly August (no, I don’t know how they managed to stay fresh that long), which have been turned into a pie and four batches of madeleines. The first batch of madeleines and the pie involved a great deal of cursing (thanks to a surprise lack of eggs and crust troubles, respectively), but the second batch was easy and tasted spectacular.

There are few skills that have such noticeable results as you improve at them. I’m sure I’m going to hit a plateau with this eventually, and suddenly everything I bake will taste bland, won’t rise, or fail to impress. But for right now, I’m enjoying the feeling that comes from making something I couldn’t make before, even if it’s simple.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 119 – Kalopsia

Kalopsia

I took photography classes in high school, and it was easily one of my favorite subjects. In part, that was because photograph class meant checking out a camera and wandering around school for an hour, but it was also a way for me to see things differently. I’ve never been a particularly good visual artist, so photography was a way for me to capture something and show it to others exactly as I saw it.

Interestingly, the only photo I ever felt comfortable submitting to a contest was one of a green oxygen tank. I looked at it, and it seemed like the kind of image you might see at a photo contest, so that was the one I chose, not any of the ones that I actually liked. Just a green canister with a canted frame, the contrast boosted in Photoshop to make it look extra grimy. I didn’t know what the meaning was, only that it looked like it might have meaning.

I didn’t win. It wasn’t a good photo, to be honest. I don’t know that I would have won even if it was a good photo absolutely packed with deep symbolism and artistry; photography was (and still is) a hobby, not something I pursue particularly seriously. But when I think back to all the photos I took in high school, that one sticks with me as something that was meant to represent me, but has nothing at all to do with me.

Anyway, here’s a drabble. And if you like what I’m doing, consider picking up my first zine, a collection of drabbles I put together and quite like. You can pay whatever you like for it, even nothing.

Drabble 118 – Halomancy

Halomancy

One of the numerous challenges I set myself this year is to bake something once a week. I pride myself on being a good cook; I like food to taste good, and I usually know the ingredients that it takes to improve it. But baking is a mystery to me, the ratios and chemistry of it all feeling like limitations rather than the blank canvas of cooking.

I’m aware that baking involves chemical reactions, and that certain ingredients must be in proportion to one another if you want the recipe to turn out. I also know that it’s wise to read the entire set of instructions before beginning, or you’ll find out midway through that you don’t have a food scale or some other essential piece of equipment. I guess I didn’t really learn anything from all the lessons of too-arrogant beginning wizards in every book I read as a kid.

If you like what happens on this blog, good news! I compiled ten of my favorite drabbles into a zine that’s available for pay what you want on Gumroad. I spent some time making them look all pretty and nice, so consider giving it a look!

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 117 – Scolion

Scolion
The Bean Feast / Jan Steen

I am so ready for 2018.

I woke up the morning of the first from a nightmare, 2017 still making itself felt. But I also woke up without feeling sick from food poisoning, which was a blessing. I woke up early, I made myself a cup of tea and some waffles with lemon curd, and read a book that I’m not sure I like, but that is certainly challenging me.

I took my dog for a walk with friends. I found out my tutoring job is closed today, which means I get to spend the day working on things I enjoy. I’m not superstitious, but I’m going to take all this as a good omen for the coming year.

The world is dark and scary a lot of the time. I’ll cling to this throughout the year, because I don’t think it’s over yet.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 116 – Nighttide

Nighttide

I think we can all agree that 2017 being over is a blessing, right?

I’ve had a weird year. I suspect we all have. 2017 has been an absolute roller coaster of elation and despair. I’m more politically engaged than I’ve ever been, which is undoubtedly a good thing. I wrote a book. I spent much of this year afraid for how much longer I could keep it up, because dread creeps into everything. I lost some things that were very important to me, and I’m not sure I’ll ever get them back. I’m not sure that I should.

I don’t know that 2018 is going to be better. I wish I could say with certainty that it will be, but I just don’t know. It could be worse. We’ll keep fighting, no matter how tired and hopeless we feel. We have to.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 115 – Hederate

Hederate

The first dystopic setting I remember reading is Camazotz. It didn’t register as a dystopic at the time (probably because I had no concept for what a dystopia was) but the idea of a place where everything was the same, where one person’s difference and struggle was something to be feared and stamped out, stuck with me. As I got older and dystopias became more common reading for me (The GiverFahrenheit 451The Hunger Games, and so on), I found that there was something about them that wasn’t really working for me. Where was the rebuilding? What kind of hope could I have when these stories were about how terrible the world was, not what it could become?

I try my damnedest to be an optimist. I have to. While I love to see the oppressive past destroyed (looking at you, The Last Jedi), I also want to see what comes next. It isn’t enough for me to know that it’s gone; I want to know where the story goes next, how we recover, how we start again. I want to see what grows up between the cracks.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.