One of my best friends in the whole world taught me about keeping a gratitude journal. It’s not something I do regularly, mostly cos this year I’m too busy keeping my four-minute diary (I learned how from the totally awesome Lynda Barry, who tumblers at The Near-Sighted Monkey).
But today, I have to note three really amazing things that happened. Because it was a good day. And good days are worth recording and treasuring, and being very, very grateful for
- Jeff Vandermeer put up a facebook post about Rupetta … Jeff Vandermeer ROCKS! It’s just a FB post, right? Sure, but by the time I heard about it (Rosalie at Tartarus Press mentioned it in an email) people were commenting, including the publisher at Pink Narcissus Press, who mentioned that they were sad to have missed out on publishing her.
- I saw a squirrel while wandering in the rain in the Museum Gardens of York, just near the ruins of St Mary’s abbey. Actually, I didn’t just SEE the squirrel. It ran across my boots, then came back, parked itself between them, and looked up at me. I think I’m in love. No, I KNOW I’m in love. Now, I should be careful about that, because the squirrel was – I believe – a gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Gray squirrels are at least partly responsible for the drastic decline in the numbers of the native red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) in England.
They (the grays) were introduced to the UK from America in either the 19th or early 20th century. There have even been culling programs in place for the purpose of protecting the pockets of red squirrel populations. More recently, the gray squirrel has itself become more endangered, because of the fierce competition it faces from the black squirrel (first sighted in the UK in 1912), and conservationists are now debating what measures, if any, should be put in place to protect the gray squirrel!
- Did I mention I launched Rupetta, at The Golden Fleece in York, the world’s cosiest and most awesome haunted pub, in the company of Ray and Rosalie from Tartarus Press, and some friendly fellow travellers? I drank a pint of the Old Peculiar (Theakstons ale), ate (most of) an enormous plate of tucker, and read from the beginning of the novel. I also meet Abigail, postcard collector, historian and the current regent of the Kingdom of Redonda (even if the claim to the kingdom is highly disputed), a Dutch artist and his incredibly smart and interesting wife (Hi, Koert and Lynn!), and the sweetest, quietest performance poet who ever lived (Hi Brian!)
I should note that although these were undoubtedly the highlights, I am also feeling blessed today because:
- they say its going to snow today
- I found the perfect I’ve-been-away gift for my gorgeous, smart, talented son
- the Vikings will be invading York WHILE I’M HERE!
- There are snowdrops in among the tombstones across the road
- I saw some totally awesome objects at the Yorkshire Museum, including a Roman hairpiece,
the Roman equivalent of curling tongs,
and a man with a dog in his pocket. [Ok, so the man with the dog wasn’t on exhibit, but he was totally interesting. I ran into him once inside the museum – where he was showing his dog the bones of the extinct Dodo, and again in the garden, down near the Hospitium, where he was asking the dog for advice about his relationship.]
- AND Roger Federer is in The Netherlands (Rotterdam), and will still be there when I pop back over the ditch later this week.