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Crushingly, Renee finds herself writing fanfic. Or not exactly. Just stories about people who happen to be real, doing things they really didn’t. She changes names, swaps genders, sets them to music and mumbles the words at open mic: no good. She knows it’s derivative work.

She stops showing them to anybody and keeps them in a locked file drawer labelled “Insurance, Loans.” She cross-references themes against dates written and begins to understand, finally, why she’s doing it. At any distance from reality, these people have reserved parking in her brain; they are her canon, her conscience. Her personal hagiography.