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Its spooky, sensual lady-into-fox metamorphosis nods to David Garnett's classic novella, while Hall makes the transition entirely her own. Comma Press, admirable Manchester-based short-fiction specialist, will soon publish a volume of the shortlisted stories. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? Try Independent Premium free for 1 month.

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What I Wish I’d Known

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Read latest edition. UK Edition. US Edition. Log in using your social network account. Please enter a valid password. Keep me logged in. Try Independent Premium free for 1 month See the options. You can form your own view. Subscribe now. Still, knowing how annoying travelers are has done nothing to improve my behaviour when globetrotting. At the beginning of any trip I spend a lot of time stopping abruptly to fish out my camera.

I take several snaps, stuff the camera back into my bag, and then moments later, fish it out again. Look at those flowers! Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? I need a picture. And another one from this angle; now a close up. Look a cat! Snap, snap, snap.

The Little Book of Quitting by Allen Carr

What kind of bird is that? It looks bigger and blacker than a crow. Stand in front of it! Take a picture! Not ever. There are some nice ones but I figure I can visit them any time. Tony and I went to Italy for our honeymoon. Look at that bridge! Snap, snap. And that bridge! That bridge looks really old!

Oh look: a boat going under a bridge! A boat and a gondola—fantastic! But travelling is tiring and eventually I lose my enthusiasm for photography. The best I could do was to take a couple of lacklustre snaps of the Duomo, but the place was full of tourists who walked through the frame and stood in front of the best doors.

After every trip we do the same thing when we get home. Tony edits our photos and I argue about why we need all three angles of that fountain. Once we get it down to about photos we cue them up to show family and friends. As we scroll through I spend most of the time apologizing or trying to explain why I took that picture.

They hang their clothes to dry above the canal. Neat huh?

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I wonder what happens if a pair of underwear falls into the canal. Does a gondolier pull them out? Does the city have a crew? Do they float out to sea like silky jelly fish? I do this every time I go on vacation. We went to British Columbia this summer. Even as I write this, somewhere a Florentine side-steps a tourist taking a picture of a pigeon eating a piece of biscotti not far from the replica of David. It started on the top lid of my right eye. When it happened it was so strong my lid would snap half-shut and struggle to pop back open all the way.

I have big, round eyes so when I drink too much and my eyes get droopy I look ridiculous. Some people look cool when their eyes squint a bit. Periodically, it does a little polka dance along the dark ring beneath my lower lashes, then settles in again waiting for the perfect oom-pah-pah tune to inspire another dance across my face. Twitchy is one of my nervous defaults, which also includes devouring a bag of cheezies.

Maybe the workout my eye is getting will help burn the cheezie calories.

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I wish I felt the same passion for carrots. One of my home remedies to cure twitchiness is to shop for skin products or shirts or shoes or pants or skirts. As my twitch gets twitchier, I might add eye patch to the list.

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Where does one buy an eye patch? I have good reason to be a twitchy mess. I wear my glasses while I stand in front of them trying to make grammar flashy and fascinating. Look at the literary wonder that is the rarely used colon! My glasses hide my dancing eye to some degree. My glasses also help me see their faces better when I try a grammar joke. They were rolling in the aisles.

It could be read as though Kanye West and Taylor Swift are her parents. They got it. I got way more mileage out of Kanye changing his name to Ye. True story. Thanks for being weird Ye. I have learned mixing media is a great way to keep a group of people interested. With that, I wanted to end this post with a video of my eyelid doing the cha cha, but every time I rise my phone, it stops. I have no idea when the twitching might stop, if ever. So twitchy or not, I will carry on with my musings regarding the comedic value of run-on sentences and crack open a bag of cheezies.

Hello to all the people who read my blog regularly or irregularly. I have no regrets about that. The danger seems limited at best , I came up with a few blog ideas. This is a BC metaphor. Do you see how the west coast has made me a better writer? I am itching to get back to writing my blog and connecting with you again. My hope is to be back it at in about two weeks. There were two doors, which implies two washrooms. I was reaching for the stall door when my brain did some frenzied calculation. Instead I grab a mitt full of toilet paper and knock the seat down.

And I leave it that way. I wonder if that brings on a fit of sighs and grumbling from the next man who needs a pee. After emerging from the Chunnel train onto the well-lit streets of the city, the first thing I laid eyes on was a man weeing on a statue. In this particular washroom—which was just a large room with a bank of stalls and a row of urinals hidden by a strip of wood—we were lined up by gender. As the women stood in line we had a direct line of sight to the men standing at the urinals.

The men were entirely visible except for their mid-region. The predominantly foreign men North American looked mortified and stood silently in front of the urinals with a lot of over-the-shoulder glances. I tried not to make eye contact. Here at home some restaurants and bars make finding the appropriate washroom nearly impossible.


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The washrooms are in dark corners with strange paintings or symbols like funky hats on the door that require contemplation, luck, and sobriety. My tongue feels like a bloated-dead fish in my mouth. I dread the dentist.

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Without fail as soon as he hits the button on the chair that dips me back into a prone position I have to pee. I rarely ask to go. Instead, I lie there, a middle-aged woman on a dental chair who has to pee—ankles crossed, and on the verge of sweaty. This dental appointment was the result of a Mexican food experience gone awry.

I was at Taco Farm and I bit down on one of their made-on-the-premises taco chips, which I love with guacamole. As I chewed I hit a bit that seemed crunchier than normal—too crunchy to grind up in fact. Upon polite inspection I discovered it was a piece of tooth chip not taco chip. My back molar was sharp and jagged after that and everything I ate became impaled on one of the stalagmites carved out of my tooth. Each night the dental floss was shredded into waxy threads. It still took more than a week to get around to calling the dentist.

Thankfully, when my grandmother was a teenager Canadian high schools taught girls home economics. They taught her to make spaghetti in a casserole dish with tomato soup and grated cheese. Ta da! Ethnic cooking. That recipe was a staple in our house for two generations. The middle and bottom noodles were always really wet, so wet that nothing stuck to them, and the top was uncommonly crispy.

It was the crunchy top part that claimed one of my baby teeth. Their job was to decipher unintelligible handwriting. Maria once brought food in for everyone at work. The only spices at our house were salt and pepper. As sauces go they all came out of a bottle. We had HP, ketchup, relish, and yellow mustard. The idea of making a sauce, other than custard at Christmas, to put on top of another food was way outside the cardboard box for my grandmother.

Maybe Maria took a look around her and threw up her hands. Who could blame her really. The learning curve was steep. So without any intervention, spaghetti casserole was still a viable dinner solution and, as a result, a baby tooth was dislodged on a noodle. At least not initially. I spat it out and tucked it under the rim of my plate for later. As I finished dinner I considered my shopping options with the quarter I would get from the tooth fairy. I thought it was spaghetti. The dog ate my tooth and my cheezie dreams turned to dust.

I lost my mind. Not really. Are there no boundaries? I rebounded the next day.