The Silver Man Fell Down The Stairs

the silver man fell down the stairs slowly and the lights affixed at regular one-meter intervals all the way along the wall reflected off his rotating body as he fell, and his flailing, twisting limbs sent rays of it further down into the room and up against the ceiling in flickering patterns. his falling made no sound, as if the stairs were thickly carpeted, muffling every impact. it was, however, impossible to tell what material the stairs were made from.

the falling was slow, and the light flying around was quick, which in its combination created an odd sensation in the witnesses. the witnesses were in their mid to late thirties, most of them on a slow emerge from the jadedness of their youth and beginning to sense the futility of their posturing in the face of the rapidly decreasing flexibility in their limbs, and the quickly fading glow in their skins, and the sudden proximity of death. mortality was now a reality, and no amount of coolness, or appreciation from their peers, would save them from this.

the witnesses felt like rats, a feeling from which the falling silver man gave them momentary relief. his smooth silver skin reflected the light in a way that was very different to the light-reflecting abilities of glitter, something the witnesses had favoured back in their twenties, when their features were clearer, their skins more clearly delineated and taut, when glitter could be worn on a face more forgiving of what was stuck onto it. compared to light hitting glitter, the silver skin sent out rays in a calm, flat way, even though it was quick. there was a soft precision, rather than the frantic messy interspersed ness of glitter.

the silver skin was different, too, than light bouncing off a swimming pool. there were no soft waves projected onto the ceiling in regular shivers. it was, furthermore, utterly unlike the spotty streaks painted on the wallpaper by disco balls. there was nothing like it, the witnesses decided, and it made them pay attention: they were witness to something unique, which meant they themselves were unique, and this caused their ears to perk up and their eyes to require less blinking.

this was a moment, a real one, the kind they so often read about in books worshipping the magic of youth, and saw in films whose soundtracks were meant to make one nostalgic for a time that never was. this real moment of a silver man falling slowly down the stairs in stunned silence while his skin reflected the light of the room back into itself in totally original patterns was, the witnesses knew, an act of true life, and they were intent on capturing it.

they weren’t yet sure what they would do with it once they had captured it, but what mattered was being totally present for it, being there, whatever that meant. the witnesses weren’t sure, actually, if they were being present now, if they were present enough, if they were doing it correctly.

but it was important to try, try harder. this was the moment that, in the future, they would refer back to and tell themselves they had truly lived, truly been awake for. it was the sort of memory that would soothe their minds when they were frantic with suspicions that they had wasted their time on this earth by thinking about living more than actually living, that subtle performance that eluded them all so much.

it would be a moment to tell others about, though they knew already they would fail to put it into the right words. it saddened them that it might not be within their abilities to accurately relate this moment to others after it had passed, but what other way was there to make sure this moment lived past the one after it? the falling was fleeting and they knew it, so they increased the width between their lids to the maximum level and for as many seconds as they could bear they ceased to breathe.

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Fever.

I just finished a diary entry which basically amounts to how badly I wish I were a Coen Brother. I don’t really, of course, because I’d miss being in this girl body, with the mind I grew into, and I’d miss being an only child, being thirty, being , and and and.

Also, if I were to choose someone else to be, I couldn’t really choose. The whole point Continue reading

Women Who Write the World

Yesterday, I left the house. This has happened before, so let’s refine the previous sentence: Yesterday, I left the house and went to Sheffield.

There was a purpose: the Women Who Write the World event, at Union St.

It was part of the Women in Translation month, an event organised by Tilted Axis press.

Present were Aoko Matsuda, there to discuss her recently published short ‘The Girl Who Is Getting Continue reading

Old Writing

I’m working on old writing, which, like old money, accumulates, only unlike old money the something it accumulates is not value but problems.
Every time I read over an old story, one I set aside on the advice of writing tutors and writing guides, I see more things that make it imperfect, its plot line faint or jumbled, its characters distant or lacking padding. Sometimes, it’s the voice that needs work, sometimes it’s the dialogue, or the underlying Continue reading

The Impossible Fairytale (Han Yujoo)

I’ve recently spent a lot of time inside a book with a pink and green and obnoxious cover. This isn’t the book’s fault. Nobody really chooses their skin.

The skin was given to the book, as a means of selling it to those passing it by (on shelves, on Instagram squares, on websites, in the hands of strangers on public transport). The way you put clothes on a model, saying, sell it, meaning, sell yourself wearing it. Regardless. I spent a lot of time in this book, maybe because it was slow-going, maybe because I am a slow reader. Maybe both. It’s a book that worships the ‘both’, the way one worships a gun. The violence (though not that of guns) is everywhere in this book: it starts Continue reading

Twenty-Six

The cat dances on the largest leaf of a potted plant. It is a small cat, tiny, hardly bigger than a bumble bee. The cat seems to levitate above the dusty surface of the leaf. The leaf is dusty because the house has not been cleaned in a while, and skin cells keep sloughing off its inhabitants. The inhabitants are watching TV with the sound off in a brightly lit living room. The sound is off so the inhabitants can have a conversations, but they’re all just silent, looking at the people flickering on screen. A man shoots another man through the back of the head. In the room, one of the inhabitants flinches and remembers where he is. He looks around, meets no-one’s eye, and extends a hand towards the table where a glass bowl is filled with nuts. His hand puckers into a kind of beak, like delicate water fowl, and collects a few nuts. The man sinks back into his chair and places the nuts in the palm of his other hand, above his lap in case he spills any. It is a mix: some walnuts, some hazelnuts, which he discards, and some cashews. The hazelnuts return to the bowl in pairs, and the rest are slowly placed into his mouth and chewed into a paste to which more nuts are later added. His teeth are grinding cement. Eventually, he swallows the paste and on screen a man surprises his wife, perhaps, in the shower. Their relationship isn’t clear because the subtitles aren’t reliable and never addressed their marital status. The inhabitants all assume that it doesn’t matter what the naked woman’s official title is, because all we know about her from the way the scene is shot is that she is young, pretty, and that she is played by an actress with an unfortunate contract. The houseplant glimmers in the TV light. The cat is so small the inhabitants cannot see it slide off the dusty leaf of the houseplant and into a watering can at the foot of the pot. Yes: the cat has fallen into the watering can and is seen no more. Presumably, it can swim; but only for so long. It cannot fly, yet there is only one way out of the watering can, and that is through flight. A few hours later, the cat is presumably dead but no-one checks on it because the inhabitants don’t know it’s there. One by one they stretch and yawn and leave the room until the last one, the man who ate the nuts, gets up, stretches for the benefit of no-one in particular, and turns off the last light in the room, the TV.

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[In other news, NaNoWriMo nears its end. Today is the second-to-last day, and I’ve amassed about 43000 words so far, which means I’ve got some serious work ahead of me if I want to reach the required 50ooo by Wednesday night.]