Drabble 62 – Rusalka


The Mermaids by Ivan Kramskoi

Half of a story is who tells it. What the story contains is important, but the teller decides what you hear, leaving out the irrelevant or uninteresting details in favor of what matters.

Or they spin the story, creating a narrative that’s at once true and untrue. Maybe they fudge the details a bit to make it more appealing, or make themselves look a little better. We all do it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Still, a story being true is only part of the equation. Whose truth is it, and to what degree is it true? A story is as much the details that go in as the ones that are left out.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Drabble 61 – An Dà Shealladh

Some people become interested in the supernatural because they have an experience they can’t explain. While there have been a couple of strange occurrences in my life, I have to be realistic and say that they came about after I was heavily invested in reading about poltergeists and cloudbusting and every other manner of weirdness I could get my hands on. I can safely say that I have no interesting supernatural abilities whatsoever, aside from being an eerily good cook and a fairly good knack for judging people accurately from a first impression.

Still, I have a pack of tarot cards. I don’t consult them often, and when I do it’s usually because I’m feeling stuck or uncertain. If nothing else, they’re excellent story prompts–reading them works some of the same muscles, asking me to read between the lines and interpret symbols to make sense of my own life. They don’t necessarily have to be magical to be powerful. I know my life; these archetypal symbols encourage me to look at it differently, and the way I read a symbol into my own life is more telling of me, I think, than of whatever I’m asking about.

I’m an optimistic skeptic. I like to think that I can’t know everything, that some things will always be beyond my comprehension. It makes everything a little easier to bear with by comparison.

But sometimes I think about a time when I shuffled, dealt, shuffled, dealt, shuffled, and dealt my cards for a half hour, pulling the same single card each time, and it’s a bit harder to be a skeptic.

Anyway, here’s a drabble. Continue reading

Drabble 60 – Mamihlapinatapai

It’s difficult to look at our own language as an outsider would, but it always seems like other languages have so many more specific words than English. We have kind of an obsession with them–you’ll find entire blogs consisting of these words, all of which express emotions we don’t have words for. They’re great fodder for drabbles, in fact.

Does that mean that other languages value these emotions more, to assign them their own word? Is English lacking, or are these emotions we deliberately don’t name? Can we accurately capture the specific feeling these words evoke in translation, or are we doomed to always be shy of the mark?

I have exactly zero answers, but I do have a lot of emotions I don’t quite have names for. That searing mixture of hope and determination I get right in the center of my chest. Sadness and regret and heaviness beating at the back of my knees. Needle-like fear prickling up and down my skin. Of course, none of those capture the entirety of the emotion–each one is tied to something specific, something unnameable, at least so far in life. Instead of giving it a name, I try to capture it in other ways.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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Drabble 59 – Potamophobia

Like most people my age, I went through a vampire phase. I think it started with Amelia Atwater Rhodes’ In the Forests of the Night, which was dark and lovely and just scary enough to pique the interest of this horror-shy lover of creepy things. From there, I branched out to a variety of series and one-offs, including bad romance series (fun fact: I have read almost every Sookie Stackhouse book and I refuse to be ashamed of it), a weird one about the connection between diabetes and vampirism called Sweetblood, Interview With the Vampire, which I did not care for, and, inevitably, Twilight, which left me bored and confused.

When I find something I like, I dive wholeheartedly into it. I didn’t just want to read the contemporary stories themselves, but the stories behind the stories. How far back did these legends go, and what did they look like elsewhere in the world? To this day, I remember my personal favorite vampire tidbit–that some culture or another believed you could become a vampire if someone hammered a nail through your shadow. Unfortunately, I can’t verify this anywhere and I don’t even remember where I read it. For all I know, I made it up.

Nowadays, vampires aren’t really my thing–werewolves, on the other hand…–but the folklore is every bit as interesting as it’s ever been. I might not be actively seeking it out anymore but I still drool a bit over a juicy piece of myth, even if my tastes have moved on to different fields.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

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