Fear of flying wells up suddenly, when people not lacking in imagination and sensitivity realize that they are thirty thousand feet in the air, travelling through clouds at eight hundred miles an hour, and ask "What the hell am I doing here?" – Mario Vargas Llosa

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Autumn 2010. From thin air and thick biographies they emerge, suddenly or gently, staring you down for attention. Some dance, some tie your feet. You play your patience, hold your breath, invite them for a drink. They won't go away; for death too finds it difficult to destroy what wants to live.

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Summer 2010. You can joy ride, speed-think, meditate, procrastinate, gamble on tit for tat, take courage or detach yourself serenely: you can steal some life from living. Or you could draw a bow, wait and whistle.

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Spring 2010. Without a quality of its own, money is the purest currency we have – a coupon for our existence, an almighty abstraction of our exchange. It's the cheese in the mousetrap. Don't forget to chew.

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Winter 2009. She is a favourite drug, mother of all kicks, unleashing her whip in measured cycles, striking you down just to lift you back up. Shown her limits, given enough time, she may slowly grow true.

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Autumn 2009. Take a window seat. You'll see silence hover between the hunter and the hunted, corrupting the kind, healing the hurried, slicing time, while bartering for your sanity. Act cool, put your lips together and watch.

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Summer 2009. We ask the angels to hold us steady while we behead our fathers, flatten our people, sell our daughters and hang ourselves. And yet every now and then you pluck a daisy, and it breaks your heart.

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Spring 2009. The self seeks a home. Part personality, part referee, it feeds on action, melts in care and refines the noblest host. If shown the door, it makes room for hawks and cherubs, emperors without empires, and a world where every detail counts.

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Winter 2008. Don't trust trust. It will wake suspicion. Doubt and faith tell reliable lies and tradable truths, warn of erosion and promise the fantastical. Walk gently on those eggs or throw them with precision.

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Autumn 2008. The tallest towers of riches are built for the sheer spectacle of collapse. The most decadent pleasures are best when only promised. While luxury performs a fine lap dance, true profusion takes a bow.

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Summer 2008. Wrath may linger nobly and anger bitterly outlive its host. But fury, farcical or righteous, must eventually erupt. Measure your target and shoot with aplomb.

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Spring 2008. That memory is about the past is an illusion. The avenues of recall are elusive, constantly mutating beyond our grasp. Clutch on to your recollections and they will bite.

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Winter 2007. Chance is neutral. We calculate the odds and measure the stakes. We hedge, demur and mitigate. Until fortune turns and smiles, and we gamble afresh in amazed anticipation.

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Autumn 2007. We play with the truth in no uncertain fashion. On cunning pleasantries, candid approximations, tittle-tattle, poetic licence and unauthored words adrift.

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Summer 2007. Forget the shibboleths of absolute liberty. We are free only in chains and shackles, governed by the limits of true desire.

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Spring 2007. What distinguishes man from all other animals is his rich potential for fiascos, defeats and débâcles.

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Autumn 2006. Writers, photographers, artists and thinkers interpret themes of belonging, exile, alienation and the value of property.

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Summer 2006. A trenchant look at the beautiful and appalling lives we lead.

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Spring 2006. On seasonal halfwits, egg-laying hares and the manifold pleasures of being had.

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