Andrew Tibbetts

Andrew Tibbetts works as a psychotherapist. He has published fiction in This Magazine, The New Quarterly, The Fiddlehead, Descant and The Malahat Review. In 2008 he won best fiction at the National Magazine Awards and made a spectacular speech. He is almost this blurry in real life.

Andrew is a submissions editor for on-line literary journal SmokeLong Quarterly. He is also part of the The Canadian Writers Collective.

Here is an excerpt from Surprised We Are Not, a short story originally published in This Magazine and later nominated for a National Magazine Award:

With my grandmother visiting, I get my Julie Andrews nightmares back again: Julie Andrews making curtains from my underwear, brown poo-streaks and all; Julie Andrews about to use me as a goat-puppet, snapping the plastic gloves on as she approaches me from behind; Julie Andrews coming to find me; and, no matter how well I have hidden myself, taking ninety-nine percent of the nightmare to find the perfect spot, Julie Andrews coming right towards the potato sack I have crawled into.

My grandmother takes us to the flicks. I want to see Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neal in a comedy- What’s Up Doc? But in the stills from the movie outside the cinema, the stars are wrapped in towels and my grandmother declares this too suggestive. We go next door to Cinema 2. It is a re-release of Mary Poppins. My bum goes in.

It turns out, though, that Mary Poppins suits Julie Andrews better. The character is psychotic and charismatic, like a cult leader who convinces others of his vision by the sheer force of his warped personality. I would not take that spoonful of sugar, but it is too late for the children in the film. They have that overheated dead energy of Hollywood Children. They do as they are told. With big big smiles, or big big pouts, if asked. No one refers to her as a will-o-the-wisp, or a moonbeam in their hand. They are all suitably, and openly, terrified.

My grandmother declares the film a complete waste of time and money. But since we are shamefully throwing cash to the wind we might as well have our supper at a restaurant.

“And I could get a pageboy haircut,” my sister gamely throws in, trying to maximize the goodwill.
“Over my dead body, partners” my grandmother says marching toward the mall. “We’ve got a boy looks like a girl; we don’t need a girl looks like a boy.”