Monthly Archives: September 2011

Are you looking at me part II

Here’s a contention: some facial expressions do not exist. These are facial expressions we all know. We read them described in books. Occasionally we see actors on TV using them. If we were asked, we would know exactly what the facial expression was supposed to signify. In fact, these expressions are perfect in every way except one: no-one in real life has ever used them.



So, at this point you are probably feeling sceptical about my claim. I know how that looks. You have one eyebrow arched and your lips are pursed, right? Except, of course, you don’t and they aren’t. Were I trying (lazily) to indicate in a book that a character was feeling as sceptical as you are right now, that is how I would describe it, but it wouldn’t be true. At best I would guess that you have a slight tensing of the face… Continue reading

Are you looking at me?

Two women go into a bar. They buy a drink, then sit talking to each other. [Spoiler: this isn’t going to be a joke. Please don’t expect an off-colour punchline: disappointment will be inevitable. This is in fact the first post in a series of three designed to investigate the terrible lies we tell, to ourselves and others, whenever we talk to or look at another human being. Anyway. Enough of this aside. As you were.]

photo: flick/stijlfoto

As they talk, they do other things too. People do, while they talk, right? In fact sometimes when I am talking to someone I consciously remember that while talking we also do other things, and become self-conscious about what it is that I and other people do. I end up staring at them too long in the eye, until we are both uncomfortable. Then I flick my eyes to the corner of the room,… Continue reading

Will le Fleming is a novelist. His debut, Central Reservation, is published by Xelsion and available now. Read more...

On a grey Thursday morning Holly lay in bed, staring at the ceiling, and wished her sister would die. Five hours later her wish came true. Read more...

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