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.

Drabble 98 – Urticate

Urticate
nettle by Leah Oswald

I grew up on an island surrounded by plants that stung and stuck to my clothes and tore scratches into my arms. I spent hours combing burs out of my cats’ fur, piling them into neat little stacks. Everything snagged.

Next to my house was a big open field of grass and blackberries and mice and nettles. The thing I remember most about the nettles was that I never really saw them–I’d run through the field carelessly, not paying any mind to the plants that lived there, and come home with bumps and stinging welts that burned and refused to abate unless you rubbed the bottom of a fern on them.

I have a scar on my knee from where a blackberry bush tore the skin open. Blood welled up there, dark red and juicy. I touched it and put my finger in my mouth, thinking it was a crushed blackberry.

Now my hands are tough and leathery and I can reach into blackberry and rosebushes without fear of thorns. They’re peppered with pale scars and callouses, but I wouldn’t trade them and fear my garden again.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 97 – Heliotropism

Heliotropism

People often tell me that they wish they had the patience for gardening. I do too. I have a garden that I love very much, but it’s still a chore to get out there and pull weeds and check for pests. I don’t enjoy taking out the compost, especially when a bunch of fruit flies assault my face when I open the bin. I hate ants, even when they help my peonies open.

I tried and failed to keep a garden as a kid. Every plant that died was a mark of failure, but I still couldn’t bring myself to water with any regularity or keep the slugs off the strawberries. A few days ago I realized I’d lost a cantaloupe plant that had appeared to be doing well, likely because I’d forgotten to water it. I still felt guilty.

Even so, I’m looking at all the plants on my office windowsill, all of which are thriving. I’m thinking of the peonies and roses I cut this morning and put in a vase downstairs. It took two years for those peonies to bloom, but now they’re filling my living room with their sweet scent. I might have lost a cantaloupe, but I still have something.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 96 – Malison

Malison
Cassandra // Evelyn De Morgan // Public Domain

There’s this quote I first heard in Pretty Deadly, a comic by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire, ad Clayton Cowles–“Good luck, bad luck, who knows?” I bought volume two from Deconnick at Rose City Comic Con last year, and she signed the book with those words. I hadn’t read it yet, but that quote kept hammering through my head. Good luck, bad luck, who knows?

A lot of bad things have happened in my life. A lot of good things have also happened in my life. There’s no miraculous turnaround, just a series of events happening and happening and happening, some good, some bad. It’s easy to focus on one group or another and think that my life is either trauma after trauma or success after success, but, considered in a straight line, each one feeds into another. Remove a single event from my life and I’m not sure where I’d be, but it probably wouldn’t be here. I’m as much every bad thing as I am every good thing. I’m crying into a pillow and laughing on my wedding day. I’m thinking of my flaws and celebrating my successes. I’m on top of the world and buried under a rock.

I don’t think about luck anymore, at least not in the sense that it’s something you can have. I don’t have good luck. I don’t have bad luck. Sometimes good things happen, sometimes bad things happen. I work and I try and I do my best and sometimes I’m rewarded for it, sometimes the stars align just right and I feel lucky, but I’m not sure it goes any deeper than that. Things happen. Things continue to happen. I keep moving forward.

I suppose what I’m getting at is that I’m not sure there is good or bad luck. There’s simply luck, and it hits us all now and again. Good, bad, who knows.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 95 – Harpaxophobia

Harpaxophobia

I spend a lot of time worrying about things that aren’t going to happen and significantly less about things that don’t. I grew up in a small town with a good reputation, but my house was robbed when I was pretty young. They mostly took a bunch of junk and didn’t do any damage–we’d left the door unlocked and they made off with a TV, some jewelry, and some cash.

But I don’t worry about that. I probably should, but instead I worry about everything else. My ceiling caving in, my cats getting into something they shouldn’t, leaving the stove on. It doesn’t matter that none of that is likely to happen (at least not to a serious degree), I still somehow fear it more than something that has actually happened to me.

I think that’s exactly it. I lived through a robbery, so what else do I have to fear? But these other things are (mostly) unexplored, mostly unknown. I know that a robbery isn’t the end of the world, but I have no idea about the rest of these things and I hopefully never well. I’ll just keep dreading them.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.