Recently, I unearthed some things from a box stored beneath our basement stairs, old writing and correspondence, most of it from the 1980s. The oldest was from 1976, a letter one of my sisters sent during her first semester at university. She writes of rowdy first-year students and classes and a forthcoming Christmas at home. This letter and two of the others I returned to the original senders.
That sister signed a book contract recently. The book she most believes in undergoes endless revisions. Non-fiction, it tells the stories of queer refugees and immigrants who faced or would face horrors in their home countries. Readers pressure her to make it less dark. How do you tell those stories and make them light? That book is in the future. The publisher's first pick is her earlier self-published memoir, revised. The new and improved Surviving the Closet will be out soon. We grew up in a predominantly working-class Roman Catholic neighbourhood. She entered the world more than a decade before Canada decriminalized homosexual activity. I hope the book sells and I have high hopes for the next one.
Advance reviews have been positive.
The second letter came from a friend still recovering from a stroke. It came to me in the summer of 1984. I sent it back by post.
The third I put in my car for the next time I was near the sender's house.
I've known both her and her husband for more than half my life. We drifted apart as his politics turned paranoid and conspiratorial. The trends had always there, but muted, cautious, and we live in a culture where paranoia about politics seems a reasonable response. And we kept in contact, though not as our younger selves did.
She happened to be alone when I stopped by. I believe this was a good thing. At one time, he seemed to me one of the most rational people I knew, and a good friend. In the years since we last closely associated, he has put aside his atheism for American-style evangelical Christianity and his conspiratorial suspicions have festered to full QAnon. As a young woman she protested for women's reproductive health and continues to consider abortion a right. He now considers it murder. She, now retired, devotes a lot of her life to their son, who has a significant disability. He travels in a refurbished bus and believes the end is nigh.
Given the number of people who now find comrades and act on their delusions, I do wonder if he might be correct.
I dreamed some days later of death or something like it. I felt myself falling into darkness, with the sense that I would disappear forever. I had a brief vision of someone in a yellow shirt or jacket that seemed to be a part of a uniform. I fought the abyss and had to ascend again, and finally, with effort, I awoke.
My wife at the same time dreamt or experienced the sensation of a presence, an apparition that disturbed her.
Note: a video of summer (mostly the weekends) appears here, and includes a number of images related to recent daylogs.