Category Archives:drabble

Drabble 114 – Fidimplicitary

A photo of a pen on paper, which reads, "I Agree" next to an empty checkbox.

I use a random number generator to pick which word I’ll write a drabble on next. Sometimes the words that come up feel too on the nose. I suppose it’s apophenia, but sometimes it’s a little eerie to see what words come up when they’re most relevant.

Today’s word only just counts. It’s not a word that ever entered the common lexicon, despite being a handy one. And it’s relevant not just right now, but all year and into the last, and probably for the foreseeable future.

My first field of study was journalism, back when I bought that I’d never make it as a writer and I should really just pick something practical (so I went with journalism as newspaper shut down, ha). I didn’t stick with it because fate (and classes that were full by the time I tried to register) had other plans for me, but I’m so, so grateful for the time I spent learning about how the media works, how stories are constructed, how to read between the lines and fact-check and seek out the truth.

I’m a little bit of a skeptic now, but it’s for the best. We all should be.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 113 – Ophiophilist

Ophiophilist

It’s been a while. As much as I wanted to keep doing these, it turns out writing most of a book in a little more than a month takes up a fair bit of my time. I’m a slow writer to begin with, and getting the first draft of The Compendium of Magical Beasts written was a pretty substantial task. I learned a lot from the process–enough that I have exactly zero guilt about taking a month off from writing drabbles–and can’t wait to start working on some of the projects I left by the wayside while working on it this year.

The experience of writing a book like this, which is fundamentally different from anything else I’ve ever written, has been incredibly informative and rewarding. I know a lot more about what I’m capable of, and I’m blessed to work with such great people on this project; every time I get a new sketch from Lily in my inbox, there’s another moment of elation because that sketch! is based! on something! I wrote!

I can’t wait for this book to be out in the world, and I hope it brings people as much joy as it brought me to write it.

Anyway, at long, long last, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 112 – Heteropraxy

Heteropraxy

Since I was little, I’ve always pushed things. My mom told me that she once sent me to bed and said she didn’t want to hear another peep out of me. My response, naturally, was to get into bed and say, loud enough that I was certain she could hear me, “Peep!”

I’m not a thrill-seeker in any sense of the word. I didn’t ride my first roller coaster under after I’d graduated high school, you’ll never talk me into skydiving, and I like to drive within five miles per hour of the speed limit. But still, I push boundaries. When someone told me breathing near a cemetery would let ghosts possess me, I took a deep breath before holding it, just to check.

I guess it’s not that I’m seeking the thrill so much as I’m testing things, daring the universe to show me something I haven’t seen before. So far, it hasn’t–at least not when I’ve asked. I’ll keep testing.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 111 – Pyrolater

Pyrolater

I am notoriously good at building fires. This might be because of my weird obsession with survival books when I was in elementary school or I might have just really internalized the two days I spent at camp, also in elementary school. I can’t say I have a particular finesse or strategy for it; I just pile stuff up according to burnability, give it space to breathe, and let it go, and, most of the time, it works.

I take a lot of pride in this, in part because a group of friends once insisted I couldn’t be trusted with a lighter (why? I don’t know, but I do know that the moment their backs were turned I lit a fire so good that nearby campers came to grab a stick from us because they couldn’t get theirs started), and in part, maybe, because it’s like nurturing a temperamental and dangerous child. Feed it, care for it, let it grow.

I haven’t been able to have many backyard fires this year because of burn bans–I live in the Pacific Northwest, and there were weeks of heavy smoke turning our clear air into an acrid haze. Fire is as easily destructive as it is warming.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 110 – Saudade

Saudade

My childhood home burned down a few years ago. I can drive by the place where I grew up, but it’s all different–there’s a big, fancy house there, set far back from the road, so different from what I remember. The blackberry bushes I used to love are gone, the strawberries and azaleas I tried and failed to grow torn up, the woods where I used to fight off bad guys with a plastic sword bulldozed over and replaced with green grass.

It’s strange to drive by there and see something that still exists so concretely in my memory be entirely erased. I dream about it in intricate detail, reliving experiences there with such intensity that it doesn’t make sense that it wouldn’t be there. How can something so concrete in my memory be gone?

In actuality, I don’t miss that house. I’m past that time in my life and I don’t want to go backward, only forward. But when I think about that corner, about watching the fog roll in over the fields, about the taste of redcaps and blackberries, it feels like a haunting.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 109 – Revirescent

Revirescent

I have news.

The day I got the email from Adria asking me if I’d be interested in working on this book was the same day I got rejected for a job I really wanted, a job that would give me health insurance and regular work in a time when those two things were hard to come by. I’d just left the company I’d been with for two years, hoping I’d be able to make it on my own in freelancing. I had yet to sell or even pitch anywhere as a freelancer, and was seriously considering going back to school because everything in December of 2016 was so incredibly uncertain that I thought some stability might help.

Since then, I’ve published my first piece as a freelancer (it’s on white supremacy in Harry Potter, and you can read it in the current issue of Bitch Magazine). I’ve pitched elsewhere and been both rejected and accepted, and I’m formulating new ideas all the time. I also apparently wrote something good enough that Running Press is willing to publish it, with beautiful illustrations by Lily Seika Jones and tons of support and hard work from Adria.

It’s been a weird journey. I keep feeling like I have to quit, like I won’t make it, but something drags me back in. I keep finding ways to tell myself this doesn’t really count, that I should quit before everybody realizes I don’t actually know what I’m doing. But it does count, and I have improved, and I will continue to do so because as much as I tell myself I really ought to quit, I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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.