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Drabble 81 – Cualacino


All language is arbitrary. You’ll often run into people who want to shut down conversations by saying that something isn’t a “real word” or that a lack of “proper” grammar somehow obfuscates a point. If it’s not clear, I find those arguments absurd; language is all an invention, and, if you can understand a person’s meaning even when it isn’t expressed exactly how you’d like it to be, there’s no breakdown in communication.

It seems like people really believe in real words, as if those, too, weren’t invented by somebody somewhere. But that raises an interesting question; at what point does an invented word become a real one?

“Cualacino,” my word for today, is apparently an Italian word for the ring left behind from a cold glass. Except it’s not; as far as I can tell, it’s a word somebody made up as part of one of those ‘untranslateable words’ lists that then got circulated as truth. At what point does its meaning become concrete?

Research is important.  I found this word on a list of words that don’t translate into English (despite the fact that ‘the ring left behind from a cold glass’ is, in fact, a translation) and I could have continued pushing the idea that this word really exists in Italian because it’s convenient or interesting or because I trusted a site with a cute illustration more than a lack of etymology or the Italian people I saw blogging about having never heard the word. It isn’t real, no matter how many cute drawings you attach to it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Well, 2016 Happened.

At the risk of being navel-gazey, the end of the year has made me think a lot about my growth and, conversely, the lack thereof.

I didn’t accomplish every goal I set out for this year. I’m not surprised by that; in the past couple months, I’ve left one of my stable sources of income behind for the wild unknown. I worked a lot for too little money, spending precious time that I could have used to pursue my real goals.

Drabble 80 – Turpitude

Olympia by Edouard Manet

I like offering help. I don’t like accepting help.

I am fiercely independent, sometimes to my detriment. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a situation that made me feel impossibly dependent on somebody else. Maybe it’s because I was raised by a similarly independent mother. Maybe it’s because I want to be beholden to no one.

Understanding the reason won’t change it. This is who I am; a woman who values independence above convenience, who is happy to extend her hand but shies away from anybody else’s, who would rather work long hours for low pay than hear, “It’s okay, I’ll take care of you.”

This isn’t an indictment or a confession. Anybody who has known me for more than two seconds knows that I always bite off more than I can chew and then chew it anyway until my jaw aches. It may not be the best way to be, but it’s how I am.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 79 – 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 78 – Amor Fati


It’s the end of the year, and sure has been a year, hasn’t it?

I’m planning on doing some kind of look back at the past year in the next week, and this isn’t even the last drabble I’ll write for 2016. It just so happens that amor fati is the phrase I drew out of my vocabulary bingo this week, and it has me thinking about failure and success and reasons and excuses and every other little thing.

Anyway, here’s a drabble. I’ll let this one speak for itself.

Drabble 77 – Salvific

Horva River by Ib Aarmo

I’ve been worried the past few weeks. To say what about would be to never stop talking. I could open my mouth and all my worries would spill out, and what would be left is an empty sack of flesh and bone because, some days, I feel like I am a ball of worry with only a little life sustaining it.

Sometimes my worries ease themselves and I find there was nothing to be concerned about. Sometimes they increase with every passing day, until the few, quick moments when I’m not thinking about them are the most blissful part of my day. I imagine this is going to be the new normal for some time.

Still, I find things to keep me going. Even if it’s like trudging through a swamp in sodden denim and weighted boots, I’ll keep walking until I find what’s on the other side.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 76 – Vrykolakas

Let the Right One In

When I was a kid, I didn’t really believe in monsters. Ghosts, sure. Murderers, yes. But monsters weren’t real because there was no evidence, and, unlike ghosts, monsters should, in theory, leave a trail.

Despite my numerous fears, vampires weren’t really one of them. Until I read an interview where someone said, “If vampires are real, I’m not going to piss them off by saying I don’t believe in them.”

And it’s not that I suddenly believed in vampires after that–I didn’t. But every time I found myself reading whatever trashy vampire novel was hot at the time, I’d find myself wondering what if? And it was that that made them scary, not the blood drinking, not the manipulation, not the bad boyfriends who so frequently characterized the genre. It was the possibility that they might exist, and that they might know that I didn’t believe in them.

Even if I never feared their revenge or their bites or anything else these imagined vampires might have for me, the what if question always lurked at the back of my mind. There are no vampires following me to my car at night, unless there are. Unless they’re too quick to see, or it’s too dark, or they’re well-hidden. A breeze was a clawed hand reaching for my ankle. A branch creaking was a poorly hidden laugh. That creeping feeling at the base of my neck was eyes on my back, telling me to run for my life.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 75 – Spirare

Markus Krispler

I have never really decided whether or not I want to know the future.

Let’s be clear–I love tarot. I have a deck I sometimes use if I’m feeling inspired, and I have at least one memorably uncanny experience where I kept asking the same question and pulling the exact same card in response, no matter how much I shuffled. It was a bad card, but my analysis of it never came true.

In my own personal philosophy, the future is always changing. When I pulled that card again and again (it was swords, I remember, but the actual card escapes me), by my reading, it was because that was the path I was on. I was obsessing about one thing, and continuing to do so would result in disaster. I stopped, I moved on, and so disaster never came to pass.

Predicting the future, I would imagine, is an imprecise art unless you ascribe to our destinies being, in some sense, predetermined. I’m not a big fan of that, myself; the idea that I don’t have free will, that there’s someone out there pulling the strings, makes me want to find them and give them a good piece of my mind. I’m comfortable not knowing. Uncertainty may be frightening, but it also gives me a sense of comfort to think that it’s chaos all the way down.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 74 – Ailuromancy

cat by Kristina Kuncevich

I talk a lot about how much I love fall, but, to be honest, the two autumns since I started this blog haven’t gone particularly well.

Without diving too much into personal stuff (which is silly, I know, because this is a blog and therefore it’s supposed to be personal to some degree), the past two weeks have been a nightmare. Doesn’t the universe know that spring is the time for tilling the earth? I’d like to leave the worms and detritus buried until I need them, not have them brought up to the surface without my permission.

I still like the crispness of the air and the smell of decaying leaves. Someday, fall will let me rest. Until then, I guess I’ll just have to keep growing stronger year round.

Anyway, here’s a drabble, late, unapologetic, and stronger for it.

Drabble 73 – Nyctarian

Moon by gab1230067

Some things have cultural significance, some things have personal significance, everything probably has both. I think that’s why some people get so invested in certain symbols, while others find them boring or lacking meaning. I get the significance of robots for some people, though they’ve never been my metaphor of choice. Other people like vampires or aliens or, I don’t know, English professors cheating on their wives. While I might have had a brief flirtation with vampires as an angsty teen (because really, who didn’t?), it’s always been about werewolves for me.

I recently had to dig deep into this for an episode of Fake Geek Girls. As it turns out, exploring why something resonates so deeply with you is a pretty personal thing. There’s a reason that I’m so invested in stories about werewolves, even if they’re often disappointing; it’s a bit of rage, a bit of fear, a bit of longing, a bit of wildness. Part of the reason I’m dissatisfied, I think, is that what a metaphorical werewolf means to me is likely different from what it means to others.

Anyway, here’s a drabble about a werewolf.