I am so avoiding working out today. And yesterday. Frankie’s home for the second day with a fever and the pukes. Plus the rain. On the sofa with one of my dozens of Home Goods throw blankets (I swear they multiply in the night), a dog curled at my side and a mug of tepid coffee is where I want to be. I could be hauling dirt from the pile we made over the weekend in the back yard. I’m spearheading a DIY patio project that is proving to be a terrifying amount of work. And a big-ass mess.

But Frankie doesn’t want me anywhere but inside within shouting distance, for when I need to rub her back or get her a fresh glass of apple juice or carry her to the bathroom, and she is my master. Today anyway. Until I get antsy and sick of myself. When that happens I will probably avoid the rainy yard and instead trudge upstairs and bust out my daily obligatory 105 kettlebell swings. Which will give me just enough motivation to do a few sets of single-leg deadlifts. And a couple sets of pushups. Because I gotta keep my physique banging. Because I am going to be 47 in twenty-four days. Bryan is 48 today. How the fuck did this happen?

I’m at five milligrams of Lexapro now. Went down from eight the day before yesterday. I feel pretty steady and good despite not training yesterday—i.e., no endorphins—and sitting on my ass watching horrible crap online—some romantic movie where Keira Knightley plays a heartbroken but feisty singer-songwriter and Mark Ruffalo is a down-on-his-luck music producer. I watched the whole damn thing, all the while hating the songs, the story, the dialogue, the acting, the pointless anti-climactic ending, and especially, ESPECIALLY! Keira Knightley’s overactive mouth . It’s like she’s constantly on the verge of shouting, “GOOSH!” Then, when that wasn’t enough, I watched a 9-11 documentary, The Falling Man, which brought back all the horror of that day and then some. I could feel my neurotransmitters digging their way down to the snake pit of despair.

But I went outside. Walked the dogs. Contemplated the azalea bushes. Gave gratitude for my very life.

And I’m okay. I did not self-combust.

Keira+Knightley+Keira+Knightley+sings+song+iLHOwOFBviml

“GOOSH!”

Then this morning I get this email from a stranger who’s written a book and is trying to promote it. She sees that I’ve reviewed a “similar” book and expects that I will also love her book, so will I read it for free online and then give it a review? This is the third or fourth email like this I’ve gotten. I vastly enjoy reviewing things on Amazon. You should totally check out my collection of thoughtful and thorough reviews. You know, when you don’t have anything better to do. Which is never. I admit I read a lot of reviews too. I really should manage my time wiser. Bryan always knows when I’m fixing to write a review. I get that ninja look in my eyes. I roll up my sleeves. Mutter under my breath.

But get this. The woman who emailed me, wrote some Buddhist vegan enlightenment cookbook and thinks I will looove it because I favorably reviewed The Vegetarian Myth, by Lierre Keith. She must have missed the word “Myth” in Keith’s title, because the whole premise of The Vegetarian Myth is that Vegetarianism is bullshit. If you want to know why, you have to read her book.

Here is our correspondence:

Hi Elise A. Miller!

My name is XXXXXXX and I noticed that you reviewed the book The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability.

I hope you don’t mind me reaching out to you but if you liked The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability then you might also love my newest book XXXXXXXXXX because it’s in a similar category as the book you already reviewed.

You see, I am looking for reviews on Amazon so that I can get some feedback from readers, people just like you!

I would greatly appreciate it if you would check out my book and leave me a review. I would really value your opinion!

My book is available right now for free on Amazon Here is the link to download it right now: XXXXXXXX

Again, I really appreciate you taking the time to read my book and giving me some feedback!

Regards,

From me:

Hi XXXXXXX, The Vegetarian Myth is about eating meat, bone broth, bone marrow and organ meat. How do you suppose i would love your vegetarian cookbook? How much time do you spend plugging in key words to troll for people who might unwittingly support you? I am an author too. My novel is coming out in June and I could never stoop to your level of pandering. My integrity won’t let me. I hope one day you can cultivate some so that you and others like you can stop clogging up the internet with bloated and contrived 5-star reviews.

Then I wrote a mirthful one-star review, which after a couple hours, the author asked me to take down via email. She also apologized for “spamming” and blamed a friend of hers for emailing me and doing “terrible research” on potential reviewers. I took it down because I’m not a complete asshole. We’re in the same boat after all. But she needs to fire her “friend.” If that’s even true.

Speaking my angry mind is rewarding in a way that suppressing my feelings never was. I have come to terms in my 46th year that I’ve got a lot of rage and I’m cool with being an asshole on some level. Because I can’t stand bullshit. That’s what it’s about for me. I believe this is why the fitness article I wrote for PopSugar got so much genuine attention. It was all about not buying into the hype.

I hate pimping myself to get you to buy my book. I love having a publicist to do it for me, but it gives me a rash to do it myself. I want you to buy my book if YOU want to buy my book. I want you to review it if YOU want to review it. There is so much SHIT out there that people have no problem assaulting you with. What makes people okay with this? Are they afraid of getting left behind because everyone else is doing it? Do they believe that a constant stream of publicity can outshine their lackluster content? I feel like I unsubscribe and unfollow more than I subscribe and follow because of the relentless, monotonous NOISE.

I am told to get myself out there as a novelist. But I don’t believe that being a pain in your ass with my ubiquitous presence is really going to get you to buy my book. Call me naive. Call me a publisher’s worst nightmare. It’s okay. I’ve been called worse.

Well, I gotta carry the kid to the toilet now.

Peace out & express yo-self.