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You know what's scarier than Halloween? Baby jails. Genocide. Domestic terrorism. Targeted political persecution of everyone who is not wealthy, male, white, Christian-identified, English-speaking, cisgender, heterosexual, right-wing, and subservient to the Great Pumpkin. The threat of goddamn nuclear war. Mass voter suppression in the world's most powerful democracy.

I'm writing this post for you, reader of this blog, because you are likely to be someone who cares about artistic expression and human life. (Just a guess here.) Unless you're one of the few trolls who have stumbled upon this blog. But I don't know why you'd be here. I'm not famous. But whatever, I'm not talking to you.

I'm only talking to human people with intact, living souls here, because I am fully convinced that it is pointless to attempt to reason with someone who is so afraid of brown skin, foreign languages, and gender diversity that they would like to torture babies over it. Or burn the whole world down rather than recognize the humanity of all those covered in the first paragraph above--in other words, the vast majority of your family, friends, and all those you depend on for the continuation of your everyday life. Yeah, even you, trolls (not that I'm talking to you, but who do you think builds those bridges you live under?).

Don't feed the trolls and zombies and vampires psychic energy this spooky season. Don't fight with them anymore. Do give them hugs and cute cat pictures if you hope for their salvation. Sometimes that helps. If it doesn't, just ignore them and do what you can for those who can be saved.

My birthday is coming up on Veterans' Day, and on behalf of everyone who has made sacrifices for this nation we call the United States of America, and on behalf of every single member of the extended worldwide family of human beings, and on behalf of all animals and plants and gods and goddesses and anything or anyone you believe in or value in this Earthly realm or in those realms affected by the choices and actions of our free wills, and for myself, I pray of you, take care of business on Tuesday, November 6. If you are a United States citizen, vote. If you aren't, peer pressure the life juices out of your United States acquaintances to exercise this vital civil right.

As we creative writers gear up for the month of NaNoWriMo, we prepare to hunker down for one blessed month and ignore the clamoring bids for attention from our normal lives so that we can focus deeply on our craft. I respect the commitment to getting words on pages, in part because I believe that creative storytelling is a necessary component of cultural healing and evolution.

So ignore your day job, your family, your cat, and your mother this month. But please, please, make time to do just one boring, novel-unrelated task at the beginning of this month: Vote. Vote as though lives depend upon it, because they do.

The act of voting has a greater impact on the lives around you than your single ballot does. When you go out to vote on November 6, you can slap that "I Voted" sticker on your forehead and inspire everyone you meet that day to do their civic duty as well. You can comfort the children and teens in your life with the knowledge that you are looking out for their futures. You can offer your family and friends and neighbors rides to the polls. You can offer to provide a half hour of childcare before or after a work shift. You can throw an evening poll party for your creative writing friends who voted, featuring a soundproof, internet-free bunker for several hours of guilt-free novel writing regardless of the election results, because you have each done your part for the day. Whatever lights your fire!

Afterward, if you think of me, come on back here to my blog, or stalk me down on social media, and tell me you voted! Post a picture of your sticker. Link back to your own post about it if you like. I love virtual birthday presents. Speaking of which, here's one my original partner-in-NaNoWriMo, the fabulous author Christina Mitchell, made me for a previous birthday:

Christina is full of sweet, hilarious surprises. If you don't already, you should read her blog. She is also a multi-year NaNoWriMo winner. Bask in the glow of her "Ponderings and Profanities."

Best wishes for your own NaNoWriMo victory!

But only if you vote on November 6. I'm counting on you.


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