Archive Tag:mythology

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 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 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 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 79 – Flora

Flora

79 isn’t a particularly interesting number, but when I realized that today would mark my 79th drabble for this blog, I was a little taken aback.

I feel like I’m in a constant state of questioning whether I am cut out for this. By ‘this’ I mean a bit of everything–writing, mostly, but I’m always wondering whether I’m any good at anything at all. It’s not a matter of asking for compliments or reassurance, either, because if I wasn’t actually confident in my writing to some degree, I wouldn’t put it online for other people to read.

Still, doubt creeps in. The other day I scrubbed mold out of a windowsill and wondered how it got there, how it got so bad. Why didn’t I notice? Why didn’t I catch it sooner? It’s that slow, incremental growth that gets you, and, even when it’s cleaned up, you punish yourself for letting it get that way in the first place.

I should quit, I think. And then I follow that thought back to its source, a dark, brittle little thing that sends shoot and tendrils outward until they choke out everything else. I can’t kill it. I can’t stop it. But I can deal with it, whether it’s with bleach and a paper towel or my own dogged determination to outgrow it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 62 – Rusalka

Rusalka
The Mermaids by Ivan Kramskoi

Half of a story is who tells it. What the story contains is important, but the teller decides what you hear, leaving out the irrelevant or uninteresting details in favor of what matters.

Or they spin the story, creating a narrative that’s at once true and untrue. Maybe they fudge the details a bit to make it more appealing, or make themselves look a little better. We all do it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Still, a story being true is only part of the equation. Whose truth is it, and to what degree is it true? A story is as much the details that go in as the ones that are left out.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 59 – Potamophobia

Potamophobia
River Oker by Pimthida

Like most people my age, I went through a vampire phase. I think it started with Amelia Atwater Rhodes’ In the Forests of the Night, which was dark and lovely and just scary enough to pique the interest of this horror-shy lover of creepy things. From there, I branched out to a variety of series and one-offs, including bad romance series (fun fact: I have read almost every Sookie Stackhouse book and I refuse to be ashamed of it), a weird one about the connection between diabetes and vampirism called Sweetblood, Interview With the Vampire, which I did not care for, and, inevitably, Twilight, which left me bored and confused.

When I find something I like, I dive wholeheartedly into it. I didn’t just want to read the contemporary stories themselves, but the stories behind the stories. How far back did these legends go, and what did they look like elsewhere in the world? To this day, I remember my personal favorite vampire tidbit–that some culture or another believed you could become a vampire if someone hammered a nail through your shadow. Unfortunately, I can’t verify this anywhere and I don’t even remember where I read it. For all I know, I made it up.

Nowadays, vampires aren’t really my thing–werewolves, on the other hand…–but the folklore is every bit as interesting as it’s ever been. I might not be actively seeking it out anymore but I still drool a bit over a juicy piece of myth, even if my tastes have moved on to different fields.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 49 – Capripede

Capripede
Fight Between a Satyr and a Woman by Augustin Hirschvogel

I’ve never been all that afraid of monsters. Moths, sure. Spiders, yes. The inevitability of death? Obviously. But despite all my fears about ghosts and demons and other things I’m never quite sure that I believe in, monsters have never been a big concern for me.

Maybe that’s because I tend to lump things like the Jersey Devil in with demons or because there just aren’t enough genuinely terrifying stories of monsters out there. Oh, sure, you’ve got your Goatman and your Mothman and Sasquatch (which I am quite familiar with, being from the Pacific Northwest), but none of them have really left a lasting impression on me. As a teenager, I always wanted to go on a monster-hunting road trip across the US–it never happened, in part because everybody seems to think ‘monster hunting’ also includes staying in haunted hotels (it does not) and in part because I hate road trips.

There are already a lot of things to be afraid of in life. I’m grateful that this, at least, is not one of the ones that keeps me up at night.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 47 – Musal

Musal
Apollo and the Muses on Mount Helicon by Claude Lorraine

It’s kind of flattering to be asked where your ideas come from, even if it’s not the most interesting question to answer. As a writer, I worry constantly that everything I write is derivative and unoriginal, regurgitated from a lifetime of consuming other, better work.

And that might be true, but it still doesn’t explain where ideas come from. It’s not hard to see why they used to be ascribed to divinity–one moment you’re sitting there, pencil between your teeth, unsure of what to write, and the next you’re building an entire life for someone who doesn’t exist. It feels like magic.

When you get right down to it, most of my ideas are what-if questions allowed to blossom. What if the world ended and you didn’t care? What if the universe was strangely literal? What if a succubus didn’t know how to flirt?

Answering these questions is part of the reason I write fantasy–that, and a lifelong love for slipping out of this world and into another where things make a different kind of sense. And while I’m wandering through a well-trod field with plenty of others, trying to find places where boots bigger and better than mine haven’t already left their marks, I remind myself that everybody tells a story differently and, most likely, every other person is having the exact same fear I am.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 43 – Cecaelia

Cecaelia
Tentacle by Joey Gannon

I’ve already talked about how the ocean is big and scary and packed full of terrifying creatures. Even so, I like it. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, poking at random animals in tide pools and imagining all the things that might live out beneath the waves.

If there’s one kind of monster I’m willing to believe in, it’s sea monsters. Look at the things we know for certain live in the ocean–angler fish, goblin sharks, giant squid–it’s not exactly a friendly place down there, whatever The Little Mermaid would have us believe.

This isn’t a hundred-word story. It started out as a hundred-word poem in ballad meter, but it’s not that anymore either. It’s a sea shanty, because, in my humble opinion, there just aren’t enough sea shanties anymore. It’s also available in the Tides issue of AU, so you should check that out and support my old speculative fiction magazine. There are some very, very talented writers in there. And me.

Anyway, here’s a poem.