In a way not thinking at all, Zy browsed over his book like an insect grazing upon a leaf. Then the boy would flick open his wings, jump, and settle again. From “banana” to “glacier”, “coffee” to “grave”, he flickered through pages, and moved from definition to definition. It seemed a magical thing to him, to be able to travel through language in this way: words that lay one against the other could still belong to entirely different climates, it seemed, and to read down a page was to journey mentally across a continent, but leaving out vast tracts of land as you went…

But the continent of the cherished IramZine [“lexicon”] felt as if it had only a shadowy and inconclusive relation to the world outside itself: Zy accumulated more and more words, understood their operations with increasing clarity, their tiny mechanisms – seamless, like the devices of the Ancients – felt them lock one to another, and their wheels turn, grinding out meaning as a clock grinds out time; but although he felt he could with growing power and accuracy describe the life beyond the book, it was only in terms of the book – the actual, massive, physical, empty, ambiguous world beyond the edge of the page, and beyond the edge of the Word, seemed more and not less alien to the boy, more and not less mysterious, more and not less uncertain…


 Excerpt from Mask [iii] | Volume 11 of Dustless

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Dustless | Volume 1

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