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The Canadian federal election is on Monday, and I won't be here to vote at my polling station. The deadline to apply to vote by mail was Tuesday, and I missed it. Short of cancelling my vacation — which I'm not doing — there is no other way for me to vote. So yeah, I'm going to look like that person.

I acknowledge it's my own responsibility to keep track of these things, but as most people who know me are aware of by now, I've been struggling with my mental health. That's not really an excuse. I'm just saying I'm not one of those people who doesn't care. I do care. And the main reason I'm upset right now is because my voting card arrived in the mail three weeks ago, and my family did not give me my mail. They held onto it until Monday or Tuesday of this week, and then decided to hand it to me. What the fuck? Then when I got upset with them, my mother responded with "it's not my fault!" (even though she knew it was there and said nothing). My father's response was "it's your responsibility to . . . " blah blah blah. You guys are missing the point: You witheld my mail for two weeks!! And neither one of them would apologize until I asked them to. I had to TELL THEM that they owed me an apology. Yeah, it's my responsibility to make sure I have my card, but it is not okay to withold my mail. Getting that card when it came in would have been really helpful. No wonder I'm so fucked up. I was raised by people who take no responsibility for their part in things, choosing instead to put it all on me. That said, I am mostly angry with myself for not having my shit together enough to have sorted this out last week. But maybe that's just my family talking through me, telling me their usual message of "it's all your fault."

This is a big reason for why H and I fought so much. His family was the same way. Anytime H did something they didn't like, it got blamed on me automatically. Didn't matter if I actually had anything to do with it or not. He's been wanting to move out of the city, since before he even met Browncoat? Well, it must be Browncoat's fault. He stopped talking to his brother for something Browncoat didn't even know about until a month later? It's Browncoat's fault. I always felt uncomfortable around his siblings and parents, and I couldn't put my finger on why. Now I see it: They are too much like my own family. Worse, maybe. At least my parent's don't act horrible to their in-laws. H's family got angry with a BIL for something his wife (their sister) did, and they disliked their SIL for something they decided was her fault (without even trying to find out the real story). The only SIL they liked was the rich one. Coincidence? Maybe, but I don't think so. They sure talked about money a lot.

Whenever H talked about starting a family, all I could think about was how I would need to limit how much influence his family had on my son or daughter, and how I couldn't really count on my own parents for help either because I don't want my mother screwing up my child. If I ever have a child (which seems less and less likely), I'll have to either do everything myself (which is unrealistic) or find other people to count on. The second option is possible I guess. It just makes me feel sad that any kid I have will need to be protected from my narcissistic mother. I won't be able to leave them alone with their own grandmother once they reach a certain age, because God knows what damaging messages she'll give them behind my back — all while thinking she's done nothing wrong, of course.

Anyway, enough about that. I'm going on another camping trip this week, this time for five nights. I leave tomorrow morning. I've been running around all week buying supplies and finishing things up around the house. I went out of town to buy a sleeping bag, sleep pad, and a bunch of other camp gear. Rescheduled an appointment. Figured out what type of charging cable is compatible with my phone so I can buy an extra one for the car. Put together a first aid kit, since I'll be out on my own and doing lots of hiking. Pickling the cucumbers from the garden before they go bad. Today I need to go pick up my prescription refill, deposit my paycheque, buy my camp groceries, pack the car, make jelly before the crabapples go bad . . . also need to buy my parking pass for the week online and print it out, decide if I should register for a SCUBA diving lesson, if it hasn't filled up yet (the park I'm visiting has shipwrecks, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and SCUBA diving). 

I must have three or four logs I've typed up then abandoned in the past two months. At some point I should combine them into a multi-post. This is the best I can do for now, with my attention span being what it is. I think a big reason for why I post here is because talking badly about your mother is socially unacceptable. I can't talk about it with very many people, and with the few IRL friends I can talk to about it, I try to limit how much I say so I don't overwhelm them. I was planning to ask my doctor for a referral again to a therapist, but at my last appointment I had a subsitute doctor. I didn't feel comfortable asking her. So that's something else for me to do when I get back from my trip, is schedule a phone appointment and make sure it's my regular doctor. 

That's it for now. I need to go get all my stuff done. Hopefully my next entry will be a bit more positive. I do have some good things happening in my life. I'm just not in the mood to talk about it right now. Thanks for reading. 

The other morning I ran into Local Writer. No, not our famous local writer, though one does see her around town. You likely haven't heard of this other one, unless you're local and connected to the literary scene. Her one novel appears to have stayed clear of the major selling platforms-- though I acknowledge that lucrative writing and quality writing often book separate rooms. Frequently, they're not even staying in the same hotel. In any case, she sometimes organizes salons of a sort, writers and artists and performers. These events do mix things up a fair bit. Local musician playing an instrument here, local actor delivering a monologue there. Hey, it's her salon. My wife and I, in the past, have sometimes been invited. I write. She sings. Local Writer asked about my wife. She also mentioned that, with COVID restrictions lifting somewhat, she'd held another event, and noted how well she thought it had gone.

I shrugged. "I'm glad. It's the first we're hearing about it."

"Oh, it was just writers this time."

Now, I have received positive responses to my writing there, especially my more literary pieces. I always felt, however, that we received the invitation because of my wife's singing, which I acknowledge a very good reason. My wife disagrees and notes that I bring diversity to the slate. I suspect this encounter puts the debate to rest. I don't feel I need to be on the roster. However, I am, absolutely, a writer. Tainted, it seems, but a writer.

Why tainted? I can only speculate. I often write, you know, science fiction and fantasy. My words even sometimes generate revenue, though I wish the numbers on my royalty cheques were rather larger than they are. In the end, Local Writer's reasons are her own. She seemed oblivious to the insult, and we continued on our respective paths.

But other things happened this week, too.

A local teen approached me: shorn head, black skirt and platform boots. In short, the girl looked quite a bit different from the last time I saw her. I wasn't too surprised, as her mother caught me up a bit when I spoke to her last.... Spring? Summer? The pandemic has muddled my sense of time. She's reading The Con for her independent project in English class, and wants an interview.

"It was awesome."

That is worth ten invitations to any local literary assemblage.

I'm also appearing at a con in Indianapolis this weekend. Okay, I'm sitting on my arse at home, but the event is unfolding online and at the Indiana Convention Center. I had my first panel Thursday, a reading Friday, and two panels today. I also attended the launch of Hugh A. D. Spencer's Hard Side of the Moon. My copy arrived a week ago and I had hoped to read it beforehand, but work has been busy and I've only managed the first hundred pages. It deals with college radio in the 1970s, robotic creations, and a secret base on the lunar surface. For the record, I'm really enjoying it, and will give it, almost certainly, a rave review.

I ran into the author last night at the convention, and we spoke for a bit-- onscreen, while sitting upon our respective arses in our respective homes. This is his first book to be released in hardcover, and he says it makes him feel like a "real" writer. His son was also present, and they performed a chat, partially tongue-in-cheek, about catching up on each other's days, as they sat on their respective arses in front of cameras in different rooms of the same house. The pandemic has limited us in so many ways, but it has accelerated some of the weirder aspects of online communication. I was reminded of a play I workshopped twenty years ago, where we had two actors talk in one short scene on cellphones. They stood in front of the curtain, as the crew quietly changed the set. They actually phoned each other, keeping the volume low as they stood on opposite sides of the apron. People in the front row could hear that they actually made the call, and at least one person later commented on it as symptomatic of the wacky hi-tech times in which we live.

Neither Spencer nor I are raking in a fortune or seeing our work adapted for the next Amazon Prime or Netflix movie. I don't think either of us have penned much poetry lately. But dangit, we're still writers.

At the launch, I asked him if his hardcover novel has netted him any invitations to literary salons. He said that it had not, but he remains hopeful.

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