Archive Tag:fantasy

Drabble 144 – Hypsiphobia

A photo of two young women sitting on a cliff, staring at mountains.

Like many people, I don’t like heights. The moment I reach the top of a building–let’s be honest, the moment I reach the top of a ladder–my knees go weak. Not in the romantic way; in the way that feels like I’ve lost control of my body. I picture myself falling, imagine the sick feeling in my stomach of missing a stair but it goes on and on as I plummet six feet, or ten, or twenty, and so on.

It’s not the worst fear to have, thankfully. I can mostly avoid extreme heights, and roller coasters go fast enough that I barely notice the drop. I honestly wonder what it’s like to not be afraid of falling off of even the smallest distances, but I suppose I’m better off not finding out.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 143 – Pythoness

An image of a Paestan vase, showing a female soothsayer with snakes on her shoulders and in her hair.

One of the strongest ways that anxiety manifests for me is in the ways I think about the future. I’m generally an optimist, but when I’m feeling anxious, I imagine myself with a sort of reverse Midas touch: everything I do, everything I’m involved in, everything I know and love, will crumble by virtue of my involvement.

I’m not a Cassandra; most of these things don’t come true, and if they do, the consequences are never as bad as I imagine them to be. I am, as it turns out, terrible at predicting the future. If anxiety were rational, my acknowledgement of this fact would make it disappear. It doesn’t.

Instead, I have to recognize it for what it is. I don’t know the future. In fact, I don’t want to know the future. I prefer to let things be a mystery, anxiety be damned.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 138 – Hemeralopia

Hemeralopia

I started a newsletter! You can sign up for it using the box on the sidebar.

In my first newsletter, I talked about voice, and how I never feel like I’ve really found mine. Or if I have found it, how it doesn’t satisfy me. I envy writer of lyrical prose, the kind of writers whose words get stuck in your head like music. The ones who play with sounds and meaning to craft sentences that are works of art individually, but also parts of a larger tapestry.

Since the only way to get better at something is to practice at it, that’s what I’m doing. It might not be to my incredibly high standards for myself (nothing ever is), but it certainly won’t be if I don’t attempt it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 134 – Paralian

Paralian

I have written about the ocean so many times. I would say that I’m running out of things to say about it, and maybe that’s true to an extent, but then I think about the feeling of seeing a humpback whale in the wild, or the way the riptide tries to drag you out to see, or the feeling of turning over a rock to find a crab underneath.

It’s not heard to understand why it’s a potent metaphor. And though it might be borderline cliche, we return to it time and time again, because there is still so much of it unexplored.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 133 – Anathema

Anathema

‘Anathema’ is one of those words I’m convinced is pronounced differently than it is. Both uh-NATH-uh-muh and ANNA-theme-uh sound equally nice to me, to the point that I’m never entirely certain which is which. Thankfully, it’s not a word I use in conversation much.

The concept is something I think about, though. When I was a kid, I used to think I was cursed (and since we played around at witchcraft, the idea made far too much sense to me). If enough bad things happened to me, a curse was the most logical explanation. It was too much to ask of a nine- and ten-year-old Melissa to conceive of a world that is randomly cruel, so magic and curses made more sense.

I’m not cursed. I don’t think I am. Strange things tend to happen to me, but they’re not all bad. Not a curse, just life.

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 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 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.