One of the things you discover, when you first become self-employed, is that talking to yourself is compulsory. It’s crucial. If I had a job description it would be up there in the list of essentials. Or whatever HR jargon is abounding today, anyway.

I talk to myself a lot. Sometimes I talk to the air. Or The Dog.

Just for clarity’s sake, before we continue, The Dog is his proper title. Oh, he has a name of course. But not in the context of ‘has anyone seen The Dog?’ Then he really is just The Dog.

But I digress.

Along with the talking, there’s been a bit more time for reading. And I’ve read lots over the last few months. I think they call it research. Some things I’ve wanted to read, some I’ve not and there’s others that, frankly, have been a waste of paper. Or screen time.

And then, in the midst of this talking and reading, came thelonelybiro.

A rather fine, if not rather one-sided, conversation about the misuse of the lowly apostrophe and, behold, thelonelybiro was born. Desperately seeking a pen with which to scribble out the offending slice of punctuation (wrong place, wrong time, in a letter which had slid through our front door) and suddenly I had an idea.

All those stray commas, abandoned or overused apostrophes, exclamation marks metered out like soldiers on parade (!!!) no longer needed to be the bane of my existence. Superlatives, typos… be gone.

I’m going to talk about them here instead. Those, and all manner of other niggles. And delights, too.

And as for that letter?

Alas, poor apostrophe. I knew him well.


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