O, Unknown!

O, Unknown edge
Imaginary Authors discovery set sample spray and bottle cutout test strip with woodcut mountain and crane illustration.

I get amber and salt, then… nothing.

A page turning, old paper, perhaps.
Half an hour later, a faint powdery sweetness develops, but it’s not exactly pleasant.
After two hours watery smoke sits under the skin.

The “book cover” is pretty, though. I’d have that as a poster on my wall.


A good song for when you feel a bit salty:

Memoirs of a Trespasser

Memoirs of a Trespasser edgy
Imaginary Authors book themed discovery set, sample spray and test strip cutout of book bottle with arcane ingredients on the cover.

This is an embrace by the most comforting man you’ve ever met.

Sweet pipe tobacco and vanilla.
Dry oak, like bourbon barrels, with a hint of char, rounded out by benzoin, and warmed up with myrrh.

The official story is of an explorer, retired in solitude to Madagascar, and it works.
Imaginary Authors scents are usually chaotic and ever-morphing, but this one holds enjoyably still, in a pleasant mood.


Every Storm a Serenade

every storm a serenade edgyRain on the sea and blue spruce, with a smear of mint camphor rub on the chest.

Moody and clever and so wet.
The man wearing this might be prone to rough fisherman’s sweaters and prefers strange tasting akvavits.
The woman wearing this also wears eyeglasses instead of contacts at business meetings, so people will take her more seriously.

This one is from Above. An incredibly moody and clever album.

Falling into the Sea

falling into the sea edgyThe prologue foreshadows bitchy rose and lemon peel, but the first chapter is Lily-of-the-valley and fabric softener.
A misdirection of cucumber, then the plot is all citrus–grapefruit juice, fresh squeezed, but with the tiniest toothpaste tang, clever and defiant.
It ends abruptly, with sun on sand.

Definitely a story, but too many twists and turns to leave a lasting mood.

Saint Julep

saint julep
Travel spray and Imaginary Authors book packaging, with pale green decals.

Remember that green gum that looked like pillows that squirted sugar syrup when you first chewed it?

Saint Julep is the sparkliest perfume I’ve ever sniffed. It’s that Turkish iced tea that knocks your drunk off at four in the morning, the half an Adderall you saved for finals week.
The mint itches on your skin, keeping you awake, jeering at the insomniacs who are too tired to enjoy the starlight, and then kisses you in the morning with still-fresh breath.


It’s a bop.

Slow Explosions

Slow Explosions edgy
Imaginary Authors discovery set with sample spray and paper tester cutout of Slow Explosions book cover bottle, depicting a hand reaching toward celestial graphics.

This is gorgeous.
A strike of a sulfur match, then a sip of mulled cider. An autumn crocus blooms from fallen leaves.
A lost-n-found sweater with leather elbow patches, soft enough to wear on bare skin, and as it warms to the body, traces of the rosewater worn by the previous owner drift from the wool.


Here’s a fun and comfy-sweater saffron:

Cape Heartache

cape heartache edge
Imaginary Authors discovery set, and paper tester cutout of a green “book” bottle.

Cape Heartache is not really a unisex travel book–it’s a gender-fluid memoir.

It opens as a young girl sucking on a pink candy necklace, but the elastic string grows into sweaty teen boy burning tires on the pavement.
Then the car takes a turn, cool mint and chic college girl with the top down, winding up alpine roads–
but the pine trees are cut down by a lumberjack with a gas-powered chain saw.
Then a sultry strawberry in a red dress and bare feet watches a campfire until late into the evening, when the coals are covered by a passing dark stranger.

It’s like a romance with shifting his-and-hers point-of-view, but I can’t stop sniffing my skin to see if there’s a sequel.

A fluid song.

Yesterday Haze

yesterday haze edgyOpens with unsweetened whipped cream, and rubber pants. Maybe some termite dust to make it scratchy.
And later, an eighty-year-old raisin. Just one.

This story might be published as women’s fiction, but it’s obviously ghostwritten by a man.
I stopped reading midway through chapter five.

A City On Fire

a city on fire edge
Test paper cutout of Imaginary Author bottle, “Short Story Collections” book box, and sample spray.

Triage at a burn unit.
Scorched rubber tires, plastic bandages, charred flesh. An hour later, it rests painfully with a smear of aloe, and then fades completely with an ominous gasp of sweet lilies.
It’s tragic–and yet still kind of gorgeous.

I’ve always loved this song.