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Gordon Small: Composite version

February 11, 2012

When Brian Joseph Davis decided to create his Composites project, generating police composite photos of literary characters (read more about it in The Atlantic here), the first thing he did was test the program with a description of my character, Gordon Small, from my 2010 novel Heaven Is Small.

His skin did seem remarkably translucent above the three-day beard that lent him the air of a yellow Easter rabbit. “You should stand a little closer to a razor, son,” the Whoopsy’s franchise owner had perpetually told him. In its usual fashion, Gordon’s blond-brown hair was combed half over his forehead to hide the recession and shagged out behind his ears. His lips were still full, red and rubbery, not unlike those candied wax lips he had bought as a child from a bin for a quarter, chewed on, and then spat out. His eyes were like dark cracked marbles, but if they hinted at his mortality he suspected it was no more than they had during his life. His nose still hung with the bravado of a large appendage….

There are some perks to being Mrs. Composite. We collaborated, and it was an uncanny process — to see the man come to life. I didn’t think the character I had created was an awkward version of Ryan Gosling…but here we are.


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