A golden bug fell out of his head.

Then a post office. Then a sunset.

She’d had a hard day, servicing the needs of a negligent elite.

He had been lucky. He turned the writer into a fetish, and then the fetish into a career. Just lucky! Or so it had appeared to him. Suddenly, he wasn’t sure whether the luck of his life was good or bad?

Her heart was like that white-washed church abandoned in the middle of a sloping field of bronzed wheat.

Her heart was like a hut belonging to the beachcomber who had been caught by a freak wave, carried out to sea, her body never recovered.

She was stuffing her ex-boyfriend’s business cards into shells along the shore.

He was engaged on a great masterpiece, and had been for years. He was a Robinson Crusoe of the word-processor. Over a decade into his labour, and still there was no sign that he was near the end. Incompletion haunted him. What if the lightning struck before he had finished? No one would care for his work, his tremendous effort. He had lost friends, his family faded away, he was alone. He had crawled into the great shell of his work, and now it seemed quite possible that he’d never emerge. His fingers were growing nacreous, with a sheen like mother-of-pearl. He couldn’t move his jaws so easily. He was cramping up, becoming shell. If he didn’t get out now, he’d end up an ornate emptiness, filled with the illusion of the sound of the ocean.

Her heart was like a downed plane, lost during the war, the remains – pilot still at the controls – deep in a forest, creepers wrapping the wings, the shattered cockpit gemmed with moss.

She was obsessed with the idea that all her thoughts were leaking away into nothing, that she couldn’t capture or record them. There were no photographs of her dreams, no video of all those feelings she experienced. Why don’t you just live? one of her friends asked her. And not worry about trying to keep the life alive?

Because how can I be sure I’m alive, she answered, unless there’s some evidence for it?

Now, a dusty grove of pines, near the children’s playground. Now a train, with a face on it.

Now heavy traffic seen from the bridge over the orbital.

Now, a sunset.


from the series superstyler (open-ended, 2012–present)

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