Archive Tag:books

Drabble 128 – Vellichor


My last quarter of college was difficult. Not what I was studying – in fact, that quarter may very well have been one of my favorites – but rather the experience of it. I felt weighted down with expectations of what came next, with the knowledge that I’d be spending less time in the city and therefore less with my new group of friends, with the feeling that one large stage of my life was over and the next would be far scarier.

I spent much of that quarter isolating myself. Not in the sense that I cut off everybody around me, but in the sense that I consciously spent time with myself. I studied alone in weird places. I ate lunch by myself. I spent more time exploring campus for no reason other than that I could.

I also spent a lot of time in bookstores. I never looked for anything in particular; I’d just wander the aisles, looking at titles and occasionally pulling one off the shelf to read the back cover. I bought more than a few weird volumes of things I still have yet to read, stuffing my already overflowing backpack full of things I picked up on a whim.

That period of time might have been sad, in a sense. But it’s also a quarter I look back on fondly; I spent so much quiet time in the spring sun, people-watching and reading surrounded by plants. I ducked into bookstores on rainy days and found new, weird parts of the library to explore. I don’t regret it at all.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 71 – Finifugal

Scheherazade by Sophie Anderson

When I was a kid, I never questioned that so many stories my family told me were about young girls also named Melissa. It’s not an uncommon name; surely there were all these girls, just about my name, running around and having adventures somewhere out there.

I got a little older and started reading stories myself, and found that there were far fewer little girls having adventures in them than I’d been led to believe. Lucy and Susan got to participate, but not to the extent that Peter and Edmund did. I loved Millie, but Christopher was the star of the show. So many girls my age relegated to background roles, love interests, kidnapping victims.

Except Lyra, of course, who lied so well it became part of her name. Lyra who got to be the hero, who befriended armored bears and witches and traveled through dimensions because she was smart and capable and rash. Lyra was everything, even if I, myself, was nothing like her.

I savored His Dark Materials and hoped it would never end. It did end, of course, but the beauty of it was that I didn’t understand it at all. I’m still reading it, still processing it, still finding new things to appreciate. There are still stories to be found even in a text so intimately familiar to me.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Important Work and Imposter Syndrome

Important Work

I don’t know if it’s just me, but being asked what I do is a source of unrepentant dread.

I write. I write here and I write on a couple of different websites, including Women Write About Comics, which you should be reading. I also do a podcast on geek culture. When I tell people these things, they always want to know what they’re about.

And I appreciate that enthusiasm and interest, but I can never seem to find a good answer. As much as nerdy stuff is popular right now, saying I take it seriously enough to critique it still feels like I’m asking to be shoved in a locker. It’s one thing to enjoy, say, Game of Thrones, and it’s another to discuss the implications of lily-white Daenerys’ subjects all being poor brown folks, right? Like, who cares? It’s a television show. Can’t we just turn off our brains and stop being offended by things for two minutes?

(No. Well, yes, but I believe the question is not can we, but should we. I’ll get there.)

And the writing–more than once, I’ve had the reception to my answer of “fantasy” for what I write about be…less than enthusiastic. It has put me in more than one uncomfortable position where I wriggle around in my seat and try to dodge the question to avoid the stares of well-meaning but skeptical family members.

Which inevitably leads me down a sad and well-populated road full of questions–most important, does what I do matter?

Drabble 20 – Biblioclasm

The House of Leaves – Burning 4 by LeaningLark.

I am absolutely, undoubtedly, one-hundred percent devoted to books. I cherish my books. I buy new ones frequently. I buy multiple copies of the same book so that I can loan them or give them away to people I think will enjoy them.

That being said, I don’t think books are sacred. I mean that in the non-religious sense. I don’t personally enjoy reading on an e-reader, but that doesn’t mean it’s somehow not reading. I like audiobooks, and once had somebody ask me if it really counted as reading–maybe, maybe not, but when you consider that the oral tradition is our oldest form of storytelling, maybe things get a little more complicated.

When I buy a bad book (which I try not to do, but sometimes my romance novel whims get the better of me), sometimes I pass it on to Half Price Books for five cents. Sometimes I scribble on the pages. Sometimes I turn it into an art project or a blackout poem. I think the act of turning one art piece–and yes, trashy romance novels I don’t like are still art–into another is interesting, and I don’t feel guilty about destroying a mass-market paperback to make a new poem. Nor do I begrudge the person who took the above photo for destroying House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, a book I very much enjoyed.

On a personal level, burning a book isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen. I oppose the censorship of books on a mass scale–with guidance, I’m one-hundred percent okay with kids reading advanced, tricky, and even objectionable material (within reason, obviously–we don’t need to hand out my trashy romance novels to third graders).

If you’re going to burn a book, okay. Burn one book. But don’t burn all the books–that’s where I start to have a problem.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 12 – Tsundoku

Charlotte “Chuck” Charles from Pushing Daisies, my fictional character soulmate.

As far as vices go, mine are pretty harmless. I have a small candy addiction. I watch the same movies and TV shows over and over again when I’m stressed. I sometimes get the urge to bake pies.

Also, I buy books. There’s something incredibly cathartic about wandering into a new bookstore, thumbing through the shelves, and asking the owner for recommendations. I’ve found some of my favorite books thanks to bookstore owners and fellow shoppers–a bookstore owner recommended A Fine and Private Place by Peter Beagle to me because she said I was a kindred spirit, and a woman browsing the young adult section with my pointed out that I should try The Chronicles of Chrestomanci by Diana Wynne Jones. Another woman told me to absolutely without a doubt stay away from So You Want to Be a Wizard… by Diane Duane–I ignored her, bought the book, and fell in love with the series.

What this means is that I have quite a collection. That collection takes up a lot of space. When I was in school, I didn’t have time to read many of the books I continued to accumulate on bad days, such as the book of English ghost stories picked up one rainy day, the adult fairy tales collection with the pretty cover, or a book of poetry I bought to pay for parking.

Now that I’m graduated, I’m working my way through that pile, but I remember the feeling described in this drabble all too well.