Doodles & Drabbles
Awhile ago I started doing a little personal challenge to pair micro-fictions, or drabbles (tiny stories of 100 words precisely) with sketches, with an eye toward turning the best ones into finished pieces down the line. Some have fulfilled that promise already.
I've chosen no theme for this challenge; it's entirely free association, a creative exercise to give my muse a workout. Sometimes the sketches come first, sometimes the drabbles, sometimes I write for a sketch I've made, or sketch for a story already captured, and sometimes two that didn't begin as a pair become oddly complementary.
Here's a sampling of what's come about so far.
As it is all but impossible to prove a negative, she has always left a little wiggle room in her view of "reality." If she has never seen a thing, it is no reason to think she never shall, so she is rarely surprised by what, for other people, might be rather startling occurrences,
Truth be told, she is rather better at discerning "real" than most, and certainly better at believing what her senses tell her. Children have these skills, of course, but most lose them as they grow up and learn the art, instead of seeing what they expect.
Most treasures are guarded not by monsters, nor magic spells, nor high walls with unbreakable doors. They are not protected by fearsome sorcery nor hidden in a deep vault somewhere far underground, nor are they lost in the endless oceans, obscured by the tides.
It is Time that conceals most precious things, removing them from the memories of the living so completely it is as though they never existed at all, and most treasures have no map to point the way, no immortal guardian waiting. Time tucks them all in its pocket, souvenirs devoid of interpretation, curiosities of the past.
Owls are meant to be creatures of flight, but this little one is weary. His journey lies long before him still, across vast tracts of unfamiliar land, the cultivation of farms, the half-tamed lines of rivers wandering at will until they tumble into reservoirs and irrigation channels, the black ocean full of stars as the sky overhead.
Like his ancestors, this tiny speck of determination is crossing the boundaries of worlds, finding the paths that cross between in the moments when time stretches and bends, the twilight pockets of potential unrealized.
Challenges aside, he bears no burden of doubt.
Many of the deepest parts of the ocean are still unexplored, a final internal frontier, easy to find, but difficult to reach. We are much the same way, able to be seen all in a glimpse, yet somehow containing immense undiscovered territories within our own small boundaries.
Bodies are individual, but feelings link us into a vast network of experience, and we become larger than we are, one-in-many.
Who knows what mysteries lurk in the depths, untold multitudes of secrets hidden beneath the surface we see?
Like the ocean, we are all of us bigger on the inside.
As Above, So Below
Whither goest, friend Mouse, and whence cometh?
What purpose bears thee?
I have pass’d through many places, and in each of them
Death is the faithful companion of mortals.
My boat is fill’d with souls, and I am ferrying them
through the waters of transition to what awaits on the other side.
What is’t, then, that waits?
That is a mystery for these souls, and not yet for thine.
But come, share a bit of my shortbread.
Wilt thou be short for the journey?
Though I keep the finest company, the dead eat but little.
Hast any message to send?
Where are you going? I asked, and the hare said,
Spring is calling all new things forth, and making old ones over again.
Don’t be deceived by her smooth white coat;
eggs, too, don’t look like much
until they hatch
and you realise all those feathers and claws and wings and eyes
were inside all along
Seeds are just
for the genetic imprint of an entire new organism
written in helix code
and constructed from stardust
recycled in a billion billion forms
through time and space.
Life is calling. Where are you going, spring wanderer?
The first rule of dealing with faeries is to always be polite.
The second rule is to assume anyone you speak to may be a faerie in disguise.
The third rule is to try not to let on if you’re feeling surprised. Best to take strange developments in stride; points given for composure retained.
You can pretend, if you like, that you live in a world that has grown too civilised, too modern, for these remnants of a more magical time, but choosing not to see them does not make them cease to exist at your whim. Surprises may occur.