Archive Tag:fantasy

Drabble 150 – Widdershins

A photo of many mushrooms growing together.

It’s been a while since I last found time to write a drabble. Or rather, it’s been a while since I found time to post—I think I wrote this one two weeks ago, but failed to actually read through and schedule it.

I’m not particularly sorry, either. It used to be that missing a week would have made me impossibly stressed, despite these drabbles not getting a lot of views and the likelihood of somebody coming to yell at me about it being slim. Still, I think a lot about what I owe to others, about what I promise, about what I’m allowed.

Writing these short stories every week started as an exercise. A writer should have a blog, according to my English professors, but what could I blog about? I should get used to having my fiction read by others, but how? Can I dedicate the time every week to train myself to post with regularity?

I could, it turns out. And I still can, when it’s a priority. But writing these was once my primary way to put my writing in front of people and isn’t anymore. Now, these 100-word stories are a respite from whatever I’m working on, a place to flex my creative muscles and challenge myself. This blog so far might have sounded like I’m leading up to saying that drabbles are going away forever while I focus on, I don’t know, more “important” work, but they’re not. I like them, and I like what they force me to do, so I’ll keep doing them—though perhaps with more lapses, because as it turns out, a writer should have a blog, but that blog is practice for other things that may have to take precedence.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

Drabble 149 – Hagiocracy

An image of stained glass saints

I don’t know a lot about religion. It wasn’t part of my upbringing, and my brushes with it were… let’s go with unpleasant, which is more about me and my state of mind at an impressionable age than with any individual religion.

Whatever my feelings about it, I find discussing religion fascinating. I don’t mind it when proselytizers come to my door, provided they’re not going to badmouth the poor or anybody else right to my face (I say this because it’s happened; that particular missionary isn’t welcome at my door any more). I like hearing about peoples’ beliefs, about what brings them hope. I don’t have to believe the same things to connect with others about my need for solace and guidance and hope.

I don’t really have anything I’m getting at, here. I think that things that bring us hope are good, provided they don’t bring us hope at the expense of others, which I feel should be obvious but unfortunately isn’t. I don’t know if I believe the world will ever be as good as I can imagine it to be, but it’s important to me to imagine it anyway.

Here’s a drabble.

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.