A walk, a fed stray dog, a book review
Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 - 10:37 am.

Well! I woke up at 6:45 this morning, and by now I've gone for a walk, fed a stray dog, I've read a review of my book and I came across the tweet of an online literary magazine that published one of my earliest short stories and I had no idea. I just saw my face on the tweet and it freaked me out.

The walk was to a friend's house, who's out on holiday. Andrew is looking after her cat. She, along with her husband and baby daughter live nearby, in a neighbourhood that Andrew and I are keeping an eye on. There's actually a house for sale right next door to our friends', but it's not the time for us to buy yet.

Anyway, we went to see the cat early because there's a one-and-a-half hour window during weekend lockdown in which you don't need a permit. It's supposedly a window for outdoor exercise. On our way there, I found an old stray dog just waking up under a bush. I'd packed a tin of cat food in case I came across a stray dog, so at least someone got a nice breakfast today to gain some strength.

The book review! I've gotten a few in a couple of websites but I don't read them. I always get Andrew and Helen to read them for me, and they always tell me that the reviewers have kind words for the book. I'm getting three out of five stars on average, which hurts my pride but also, it's better than getting two.

So I was scrolling down Instagram and my book cover popped up. I skimmed the text but I read that the ending was bland, and it hit my ego, so I went back to skim (yeah) from the top. I think the reviewer enjoyed it, though, it even inspired them to go read more about the fur industry and get mad about it!

I understand that the ending may seem to ruin the whole book for some people, but I don't think it does. I just read "Thinking fast, thinking slow", which includes a point about how we tend to focus on an ending to assess an experience as a while. Hence, I was still grinning because, fuck, I got a(nother) review, and it was overall positive, and I'm proud of the ending. I'm happy because I'm willing to defend it rather than question myself for making it that way. This is not a Hollywood movie, and I was more focused on the anguish of possibility, anticipation and catastrophic thinking than on actual explosions.

So that's been my day as of 10 am.

Our trip to the country with our friend K's family last weekend was actually just for the day, Saturday, but I preferred that. It's nice to come home and sleep in your own bed after a day lived to the fullest. I was wary of my friend's sister and her cop fiancé(!), and of quietly enduring conservative views at the table. Nothing went wrong. It was all good and sweet.

K's parents are very welcoming of Andrew and me. For us both, it was nice to have a country family lunch, with a view to a lake and funny stories from an old man (reminds me of my dad, and of Andrew's grandfather). We talked, we chilled, we ate great food, and we went into the lake in a rowing boat along a skinny dog wearing a lifesaver! Good day all around, it was much needed.

Then the week was OK. Still enjoying my vacation, with one more week to go before going back to work.

I had a fight with Helen, my girlfriend, one of these days, but it's not worth going on about it. These things seem to happen here and there, mostly out of me being snappy. Funny thing, though, I seem to enjoy the fighting, even if it hurts. We're good now. She's always into unpacking everything, which gets on my fucking nerves because even I, who has this wordy journal, hate to talk every damn detail over. I end up giving in, though, and then we move on.

Mornings and evenings are getting chilly these days. Summer is ending.

Stay safe.

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