Claire Turnbull is an ex-girlfriend whose life I ruined. We dated for a spell (relax—no sex) at university, she reading the Classics, me bog-standard Scottish Literature. One afternoon as we were discussing the anti-epic properties of Ovid’s epic The Metamorphoses over two fruit smoothies in a popular national chain she blurted out that she had written a novel that she wanted me to read. I was surprised because I had assumed Claire was from a bourgeois Devonshire background and therefore untalented. She produced a novel entitled The Corruption of the Enfeebled Elf-Children and told me I had a month to read before she wanted the manuscript back to send to Canongate, who at the time were a brave publisher of innovative new fiction. I read the novel to page twelve before concluding it had no artistic merit whatsoever and that Claire should stop writing or at least attend classes on how to produce a coherent cliché-free sentence. I was too scared to tell her that truth and so ignored her texts and emails for a week until she tracked me down in my flat. I told her that the manuscript was appalling and that it had little merit and she would need to sweat like a sun-stricken sow to stir up something semi-fine. She broke down and ran away, I was too tired to chase her. Later she texted me to wish me a swift and painful death and that I had ruined her life for the rest of her life (redundancy sic).