Musal

Drabble 47 – Musal

Musal

Apollo and the Muses on Mount Helicon by Claude Lorraine

It’s kind of flattering to be asked where your ideas come from, even if it’s not the most interesting question to answer. As a writer, I worry constantly that everything I write is derivative and unoriginal, regurgitated from a lifetime of consuming other, better work.

And that might be true, but it still doesn’t explain where ideas come from. It’s not hard to see why they used to be ascribed to divinity–one moment you’re sitting there, pencil between your teeth, unsure of what to write, and the next you’re building an entire life for someone who doesn’t exist. It feels like magic.

When you get right down to it, most of my ideas are what-if questions allowed to blossom. What if the world ended and you didn’t care? What if the universe was strangely literal? What if a succubus didn’t know how to flirt?

Answering these questions is part of the reason I write fantasy–that, and a lifelong love for slipping out of this world and into another where things make a different kind of sense. And while I’m wandering through a well-trod field with plenty of others, trying to find places where boots bigger and better than mine haven’t already left their marks, I remind myself that everybody tells a story differently and, most likely, every other person is having the exact same fear I am.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Drabble 46 – Scripturient

The first story I wrote down was in fourth grade. It was based on a dream I had, some kind of mishmash of a normal day at school and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. It wasn’t good and I never finished it.

The next was an adventure story about my cat, which involved a plane ride to Egypt and a trip through the pyramids. I finished that one and still have it. It’s not very good either, but my young cousin once reportedly said it was the best story she’d ever read, so I’m counting that one as a win.

After that, there are too many stories to count. My childhood home burned down a few years ago and most of my writing survived, for better or worse. It’s hard not to see that as a sign, and  I can’t seem to stop writing, no matter how discouraged I get or how many rejection letters I receive. I don’t want to stop; writing is something that’s kept me going in my lowest moments. I have to see how the story ends even if I’m the one writing it.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Les Fleurs du Mal

Drabble 45 – Les Fleurs du Mal

Les Fleurs du Mal

Studio Ghibli never fails in the flower department.

I’ve always been a cold weather person, but suffering through March when I all I want to be doing is gardening is making me seriously question my hatred for summer.

I never had a green thumb growing up. I once killed several cacti. But now I love gardening, including all the hard, annoying parts, like digging the whole thing up to loosen the soil, fertilizing with nasty-smelling, ground-up detritus, and even weeding. There is nothing more satisfying than a freshly weeded garden.

Except it’s winter. In Washington. Everything is damp and mossy and lovely but also still too cold to grow most of the things I’d like to. I can appreciate not having to water my plants for a few months, but every day I stare out my window, longing to plan something in all the sad, wet dirt I’ve worked so hard to fortify. I took my backyard from a wild mess to something I am reasonably pleased with–that’s an achievement for a perfectionist, and I’ll never stop feeling triumphant for always having fresh herbs I grew myself on hand, nor for the one-foot tall rosebush that has since grown to be a sprawling giant that threatens guests with its long arms.

A couple more months, that’s all. In the meantime, here’s a drabble.

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Balter

Drabble 44 – Balter

Balter

Crimson Peak is the gothic romance of my dreams.

I’ve never been a dancer. I have always wanted to dance and in fact did so regularly, usually by lip-syncing into a brush while wiggling my hips around whatever room I happened to be occupying. But between anxiety and self-consciousness and any other number of things, dancing became a thing I only did in private.

I told myself a lot of things about dancing. I was too embarrassed. Too clumsy. Too uncoordinated. Too awkward.

And I believed that for a long time. I still believe that, a lot of times, but last year I took a pole dancing class for my best friend’s bachelorette party, fully believing it would be a fun experiment to do once before I went back to only dancing in the privacy of my own home, alone.

Only that didn’t really stick. Something about pole just works for me–maybe it’s the emotional music, maybe it’s the feeling of finally having strong arms, maybe it’s just being part of a group that supports one another. Whatever it is, I’ve been doing it for almost a year now. I don’t feel clumsy or awkward. I don’t always feel graceful, but even when I botch a fireman spin and end up flailing around, hands still on the pole as my legs try to find something to grab onto, I don’t freeze up and quit like I would have with anything else I wasn’t immediately good at.

It’s amazing to think that I dance in front of people now and don’t feel anything other than proud.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Cecaelia

Drabble 43 – Cecaelia

I’ve already talked about how the ocean is big and scary and packed full of terrifying creatures. Even so, I like it. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, poking at random animals in tide pools and imagining all the things that might live out beneath the waves.

If there’s one kind of monster I’m willing to believe in, it’s sea monsters. Look at the things we know for certain live in the ocean–angler fish, goblin sharks, giant squid–it’s not exactly a friendly place down there, whatever The Little Mermaid would have us believe.

This isn’t a hundred-word story. It started out as a hundred-word poem in ballad meter, but it’s not that anymore either. It’s a sea shanty, because, in my humble opinion, there just aren’t enough sea shanties anymore. It’s also available in the Tides issue of AU, so you should check that out and support my old speculative fiction magazine. There are some very, very talented writers in there. And me.

Anyway, here’s a poem.

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