Issue #102: How My Dog Toast Helped Me Heal from My Breakup
Plus a complete list of recs and tips.
Morning Person is a weekly newsletter packed with obsessively-curated recommendations and ideas—let’s get to it!
📚 What My Bones Know by Stephanie Foo: After a brief trigger warning, Foo’s memoir begins with her diagnosis of Complex PTSD. Although not officially recognized by the DSM (…though it probably should be), it indicates constant exposure to trauma consistent with Foo’s childhood living with abusive and neglectful parents. As an adult, she has all the markers of success—a coveted position as a radio producer of “This American Life,” a rent-controlled apartment, friends, a loving partner—yet struggles daily with “the Dread,” a shifting, looming sense that something is not quite right, or that something bad is about to happen. I listened to this memoir through the audiobook, which Foo narrates, and couldn’t recommend it more highly.
🎧 “The Writer Files” Podcast: My favorite section of The New York Times has long been the “By the Book” interviews. Long before I wrote my novel (I should see a cover later this month!), I enjoyed reading about authors’ reading rituals and bedside books. This podcast, which I came across from’s substack delves into the writing rituals of authors, though it ends up imparting far more wisdom than writing. Begin with the two-parter on Emily Henry, then search for your favorite writers or discover a new one. (P.S., I shared my own writing ritual here!)
🎥 ‘Happiness for Beginners’ on Netflix: There’s a scene early in this movie, based on the bestselling novel, Helen’s (Ellie Kemper) ex-husband FaceTimes her to tell her he’s figured out what he would have needed to do to stay married and she shuts him down. That stung a bit to watch, but what follows is a mostly endearing story as Helen attends a hiking trip to grow and, of course, encounter a new love interest. The movie is as cheesy as you may expect and outside of some cringey, tropey characters (why do they always do this??) a sweet, summery rom-com.
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It’s surprising how little I’ve written about my dog Toast , despite him being one of the most important relationships in my life. Until recently, I’ve split him fifty-fifty with my ex, but anytime he’s at my apartment, he spends his days perched on the chair directly behind my desk watching me work, his paws crossed under his chin until he falls asleep or jumps down to ask for a scratch behind his soft ears. At just twenty pounds, his personality and mischievousness far outweigh his size. He’s my partner-in-crime and up for anything, be it morning walks, long afternoons reading, camping trips, or paddle board adventures. Through I grew up with dogs, having my own has been so much harder and more rewarding than I ever imagined it would be. Below I share tips I’ve learned in the almost three years since adopting Toast, a favorite poem, and the ways he helped me heal from my breakup:
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