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Me, a Mallard, some Sharks and short stories

April 20, 2011

Don’t get me wrong. I’m seriously excited by the return of Spring weather, but I had forgotten how cruel and volatile this season can be! It snowed the other day. It all happened while I was walking in the Beaches (which has now been renamed and is simply called “the Beach”, but I still prefer to use the old name) and came face to face with a Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos).

This picture is perfect, because there were actually two of them walking toward me, a male and female, and they stopped when they reached me. I’ve seen this commonest of ducks countless times, but I realized the other day that this was the first time I could name it for what it was. I used to refer to them as green headed ducks, but this time, the mallards and I had a chat about the weather, the muffin I had just eaten, the perfect cup of coffee I had just consumed. I wish you could have been there to see us talking.

Hopefully the weather will stop messing with my hair (rain tends to give me Big Hair, snow tends to reduce body of said hair to nothing, and extreme fluctuations in temperature just confuse me entirely) and Spring life will get back to normal. Winter this year was so grey that I nearly maxed out my credit card. After the stunning red boots, I went ahead and ordered myself a pair of Red patent leather Eelskin Clogs:

Dansko makes a mean clog, but they’re orthopedic shoes (right?) so really, I’m just investing in longtime foot care and working to offset a future podiatrist bill that I’ll invariably have to cope with in my 70s or 80s. Really, I’m being frugal. I fight gray weather the only way I can — with shoes.

Apart from my shoe-related shopping spree (I should have married a cobbler, clearly), I’ve also been buying books with a certain abandon. The best thing I’ve read this past week has been Jessica Westhead’s fabulous short story collection, And Also Sharks. The stories are hilarious and devastating at the same time; the characters are lovable for all their quirky flaws and insecurities. I couldn’t put the book down. (The second best thing I read was Bossypants, but I assume the entire universe is talking about Tina Fey, with good reason, so I won’t go any further.)

And while I’m on the topic of short stories, have you heard of this amazing initiative called YOSS that promotes short fiction? Why it’s YEAR OF THE SHORT STORY! Check out the website, and while you’re at it, how about reading a few short stories this year? And next year, and for the rest of your life! (If you need reading suggestions, just email me!) Some of my favorite collections are (in no particular order) anything by Chekhov (and I do mean *anything*, because he’s a master of everything, especially weather, which is always topical), Alice Munro, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth, Raymond Carver’s Cathedral, and, more recently, Light Lifting by Alexander McLeod, and This Cake is for the Party by Sarah Selecky. So, read a short story.

And while we’re YOSSing — I’d love some recommendations for short fiction that features BIRDS!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2011 1:26 pm

    Lunch Hour by Katrina Best, from her collection Bird Eat Bird. And the book of stories Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff, which I LOVE.

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