Unseelie

Drabble 34 – Unseelie

Unseelie

Scene from a Midsummer Night’s Dream by Edwin Landseer

Remember how last week I felt like the year was closing in on me and I was running out of time? Well, my drabble is late for precisely this reason. I am too busy for the end of the year to happen at all and I can’t wait for 2016 to roll around so I can heave a sigh of relief and tell myself I have an entire year to get my life together.

Anyway: fairies. I’ve never been much for fairy tales, at least not until I got older and discovered that I’d been lied to for the vast majority of my life–fairies are way creepy. I stumbled upon Holly Black’s Tithe as a teenager and discovered that a world where fairies were dark and weird and malevolent was way more interesting to me than one where they danced around on flower buds and sipped dewdrops. Tithe introduced me to classic fairy stories (like, the ones about kelpies and changelings and so on) and somewhere along the way I learned about Bordertown and I’ve been hooked ever since.

And like, sure, the picture I chose for this is of Titania, who seems pretty much as Seelie as you can get, right? But let’s be real: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is all about fairies dicking around with mortals for their own purposes and amusement. The lines are not sharply drawn between Seelie and Unseelie, but I wonder whether we ought to draw them at all.

Anyway, here’s a drabble, and let’s hope nobody curses me for my insolence. Maybe I’ll leave out a bowl of cream just in case.

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Perhiemate

Drabble 33 – Perhiemate

As much as I love cold weather and curling up with a hot drink and a good book, winter is not my favorite time of year.

There’s something inherently stressful about it. Knowing the end of the year is looming sends me into a panic about what I have and haven’t accomplished and what I’ll do better next year. And then there’s the holidays–I love spending time with my family, but there are lingering effects from being a child of divorce and this time of year tends to make me think of long hours spent in unfamiliar company when I’d have much preferred to be at home.

Something about winter reminds me that time is fleeting. And sure, January will just roll the clock back and we’ll begin again and I’ll feel the surge of endless potential that comes from a new start, but for now it’s kind of like the sun is setting for good, and I’m scrambling to get my affairs in order before the long dark sets in and I’m left with no candles to see by.

But I’ll reflect later. Here’s a drabble.

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Vernalagnia

Drabble 32 – Vernalagnia

Vernalagnia

Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

If I’m being honest, November was a difficult month.

I’m a dweller. I think long and hard about things that happened in the past, or that may happen in the future, and forget that things are happening all the time right around me. Between thinking of far-off events and alternating between drowning in work and not having enough of it, I spent most of November elsewhere, and that elsewhere was nowhere pleasant.

Artemis is my favorite Greek goddess, but Persephone, or Proserpine, or Proserpina, depending on who you are and where you’re from, is up there too. When I was a child I found her story frightening: one day, someone whisks her beneath the earth and tricks her into remaining there for six months out of the year. Sometimes she reigns above the earth, sometimes below.

There’s a duality to Persephone that, as an adult, is fascinating to me. I’m the kind of person who loves the transitory seasons best, when things are growing and things are dying. That she rules over death with the same hand that she makes plants grow–that’s powerful. I care very little about her relationship with Hades and very much about her, about her mysteries, her cult.

Her story is dark and sad and dreary, and yet I can’t help but find hope in a goddess who brings life forth from the dead earth. And yes, it’s another mythology story.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Santa Muerte

Drabble 31 – Santa Muerte

Santa Muerte

One of the few things we can be sure every culture has in common is a concept of death. For some, it’s the Grim Reaper, the silent, cold, unforgiving death who waits and watches for you to die. For others, it’s Santa Muerte, who is, aside from being a sort of psychopomp, also associated with healing and protection.

She’s worshipped today, often by those who live on the fringes of society–the poor, LGBTQ+ folks, and, unfortunately, also by criminals. That means that her followers are often suspect for no reason other than that they find comfort in a saint who offers protection and safe passage to the afterlife.

Ordinarily I use this space to talk about something in my own life, but Santa Muerte isn’t a figure from my own culture. Rather than projecting myself onto a culture that isn’t mine, I want to link to a couple of articles–one on some of the reasons particular communities worship Santa Muerte, and another on cultural appropriation, Día de los Muertos, and white peoples’ (such as myself) lack of connection with our lost loved ones.

They’re both interesting reads, and I want to tread carefully in this post because I typically write fantasy and writing fantasy about a culture I don’t belong to means I have great potential to fall into harmful, racist tropes, even if I have no intention of doing harm. I welcome criticism on that front–though this is fiction inspired by a religious figure, the potential is still there, and I’m happy to have a conversation about anything I’ve done wrong. It’s very easy to let fear of doing things wrong stop us from speaking or writing at all, but I think I would rather fail spectacularly and learn so I can do better next time than let myself write only about people just like me.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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