Drabble 177 – Stellate

A photo of a night sky with stars.

When I was a kid I had a thing about eyes. One of the scariest scenes I had ever seen in a movie was the scene in Milo and Otis where the titular cat and dog floated downstream on a little raft. The camera panned up to the sky, where the stars winked out from between the trees. Somehow, I convinced myself the stars were actually the eyes of some threatening creature or creatures that wanted to eat Milo and Otis, and every time I looked up at the night sky, I thought about how terrifying that would be.

I grew up far enough from a city that the night sky looked like a dark cloth someone had upended a container of glitter over. On particularly paranoid nights, I might look outside and see stars just like the ones in Milo and Otis and imagine all those creatures with slavering, invisible jaws waiting out there for me, too. It’s not a surprise to me that I’m still a little afraid of the dark.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 176 – Vemod

A faded polaroid photo of a roller coaster passing in front of a ferris wheel.

I think a lot about the past. I suspect that most people do, even in that idle kind of way where we don’t really realize that we’re doing it. Thinking about something I liked in high school leads me to think about the people I liked that thing with, and then I wonder where they are now, if they ever do the same thing. How did we get to where we are now? Was there a single moment, or a series of small choices?

Sometimes I’m sad about this disconnect. I blame myself or wonder if I’ve left their minds with an ease that I can’t even fathom. But then I think about now, about how much warmer my life is, about how sometimes I can go an entire day without thinking I’ve screwed my whole life and the lives of everyone around me up, and, sad or no, I understand that this is better.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 175 – Ephemeral

A photo of a man cooking food.

I didn’t always know how to cook. I didn’t always love cooking, either—in fact, there are many days where I don’t love cooking. It’s time-consuming and messy. Things don’t always turn out right. I will almost always forget a key ingredient.

But I do love food. I have always loved food, even back when I ate the same few things over and over again. I like to play with food, sometimes to the point of disgusting everyone around me—grapes and ranch dressing do not go together, and there is such a thing as too much garlic salt on popcorn (though I maintain that that was not actually my fault).

Part of loving food, for me, is learning how it works. So I screw up recipes weekly, buy regular ol’ Bumblebee instead of fancy Italian canned tuna, mistake anchovies for sardines. Most of the time, it turns out fine. When it doesn’t, I curse and startle the dog and eat it anyway, a lesson learned.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 174 – Ombrophobia

A photo of rain through trees.

I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life. Sometimes I think about what it would be like to live somewhere else—somewhere where they have long seasons of sun, or somewhere with many feet of snow. People always ask if the gray skies get to me, and my answer is always no. I love them. I love rain. I love the slate blue ocean and the rose gold glow of the mountains at sunset and the evergreen of the trees.

But would I feel that way if I lived somewhere else? Would I hate gray skies if I didn’t live somewhere where they are ubiquitous? Would I miss the rain if it was gone?

It’s the “grass is always greener” question, isn’t it? But I’ve always felt that the grass is plenty green right here. Other places are wonderful to visit, but until I find somewhere as uniquely gray, blue, rose gold, and green as it is here, I’ll stick around.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 173 – Cyclopean

A photo of stone masonry.

It’s always been easy for me to believe in things. Too easy, most of the time; I spent a not-insignificant portion of my life afraid of inhaling spirits in graveyards and fearing that thinking “Bloody Mary” in a mirror might cause a violent ghost to appear. I don’t really believe them anymore, but sometimes I do, because it’s easy to believe things when you’re afraid or alone or uncertain. I try not to let fear impact the things I do, but it’s much harder to stop it from impacting the things I think. I keep trying, hoping I’ll do better tomorrow.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 172 – Orectic

A cropped version of Clara Peeters painting, "Still Life with Cheeses, Almonds, and Pretzel."

I have always loved reading descriptions of food, so much so that it was a shock to me to find out that other people didn’t like it. I’m happy to read loving descriptions of foods I’m familiar with, foods I’ve never food up, foods that don’t actually exist. More simply put: I love food, and I love descriptive writing (a thing I find myself woefully inadequate at), and I will therefore cherish your George R. R. Martin feasts, your Audrey Niffenegger meals, your Brian Jacques rations.

I don’t have anything more substantial to add here; this is simply an unpopular opinions post about how much I love food writing. Carry on.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 171 – Hederaceous

I’ve written about blackberries more times than I can count. They’re an invasive species. They prick you and draw blood. They grow and grow, unstoppable.

And yet, I love them anyway. Not just because they produce delicious fruit, but because they are what they are—resilient, monstrous, prickly. I used them as a positive metaphor once and was told the metaphor didn’t work. I’m thinking about getting a tattoo of a blackberry bush on my forearm.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 170 – Hemeralopia

A cropped photo of a woman smiling with ice cream in one hand and a bouquet in the other.

I was never all that afraid of monsters, until I read an interview where someone (I believe it was Sarah Michelle Gellar, but I can’t be sure) was asked, “Do you believe in vampires?” Her response was something like, “I can’t answer, because either way would make them angry.”

That didn’t make me believe in vampires, suddenly, but it did mean that every time I wandered outside at night, I imagined that they could be lurking behind every tree, or underneath a car, ready to grab me and spirit me away. The thought was exciting, not just because I (like many mid-2000s kids and teenagers—this is the time when I was reading Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, and later Charlaine Harris) was enamored with the concept of vampires, but also because if they did exist, that left room for all kinds of other creepy things to be out there, too.

I didn’t love the idea that the myths were true, but nor did I hate it. There’s something appealing in the idea that we don’t really know what’s there in the darkness.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 169 – Connate

A photo of one hand holding another by the pinky.

I like being an only child. I never had to compete for attention. I developed an appreciation for being alone; if I’m too social too frequently, I get this horrible craving for being alone that turns me into a monster. I don’t know if that’d be different if I had a sibling growing up. But I’ve always had this curiosity about what it’s like to have someone close-ish to you in age who was always present. Would I be better at frequent socializing, if that’s how I’d been raised?

Who knows. It’s a relationship I don’t have, and while I don’t feel at all like there’s some gaping hole in my life where a sibling ought to go, it does bother me a big that it’s an experience that I can’t ever really have. I just have to imagine, which, while not necessarily a bad thing, always feels like it misses the mark.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 168 – Chimeric

A mosaic depicting Bellerophon righting a chimera.

I have always wanted very badly to be good at science. Unfortunately, my brain is always off doing something else when it should be studying chemistry or physics. I was passable at biology, geology, and astronomy, but once you start throwing in equations the part of me that enjoys learning turns off and starts thinking about, I don’t know, that time I asked someone if they wanted to be “bridge buddies” because we were in a group for having to explain the land bridge theory, and how that ninth-grade memory will probably never, ever leave me, and how I am still embarrassed about it 16 years later, or whatever.

I enjoy science as if I am a fan of it. I think it’s deeply cool, but unfortunately, I have crammed my head so full of song lyrics and obscure vocabulary that I can only sit on the sidelines with a giant foam finger, cheering it on. You go, science. I don’t understand what’s going on most of the time (unless it’s about rocks, which I inexplicably understand rather well), but I’m rooting for you.

Anyway, here’s drabble.