Matthew Munson: Writing, birthdays and getting ready to vote

Matthew and Bryan
Matthew and Bryan

Oh, hold on, I seem to have lost a week. I recall very clearly sitting down to write last week’s column, then blinked, and here I am again. That’s perhaps the sign of a good week.

I was able to celebrate Father’s Day last weekend; I went out for lunch with my dad and my son (my mum wasn’t well; she encouraged us to go, and after a moment’s guilt, we agreed – don’t worry, we spent time with her before and after the lunch).

On Tuesday of this week, I turned 43. When I was in my teens, I couldn’t quite visualise what it would be like to get into my forties. Well, now I know; pretty much the same as when I turned 33 or 23 … no different. Someone pointed out to me that I’m now 10 years older than Jesus was when he died. I’m not entirely sure what I can do with that information, except share it with you and file it away in my memory under “information I’ll probably never need.”

My birthday itself was taken up with work and taking Bryan down to his dance lessons, which is a regular Tuesday routine. I’m not one for huge parties for my birthday (although I did have a joint 21st birthday party with my friends Charlie and Melody, which was fun), so I’ll take Bryan out somewhere on Sunday, and try and catch up with a couple of friends somewhere along the line. I prefer a simple life.

I’ve been working a lot on my creative writing recently. I sat down a few weeks ago and set myself the task of coming up with a timetable of what I was going to write and when. I’ve got a lot of different ideas, and want to write a blend of short stories, a novel, and some blogs as well as this column. Trying to fit all of that into a normal week is tough; I have a lot going on at the best of times.

So I decided to put together a calendar that allowed me to be a bit more coherent with my writing. Now I know what I’m going to be working on every day and get to try different styles of writing as a result. I can’t imagine not writing, to tell the truth. It’s as much a part of me as breathing is, so this plan is really helping me structure my week in more of an organised way. As a single dad, I need to make sure I’m using my time wisely, with my son coming first and my writing also being high up on my list.

My postal vote came through the letterbox, which I was glad to see. I’ve voted in every election since I was 18, and this one is no different. I take it seriously, and I’ve really given it a lot of thought as to who I’m going to vote for this time around. I’m fascinated by politics; I consume news every day and listen to a range of political podcasts to try and understand a range of views. Even if I don’t agree with someone’s view, I try to comprehend why they hold it. I might not always succeed, but having that discussion, or listening to a debate between other people, is really interesting for me.

Every election, I always tell myself that I’m going to put my cross in the box straight away and post it back the very next day – and every year, I hold onto the voting slip until the very last minute. In some elections, that’s been because I genuinely didn’t know who I was going to vote for. This time around … I’m not sure why I haven’t done it yet, as I’m pretty certain where my vote is going to go. Perhaps I’m a creature of habit and will hold on until the very last minute just as I usually do.

I’ve been talking to my son a lot about the election cycle this time around. He’s 13, and if this parliament runs for five years, he’ll be eligible to vote at the next election. I want him to understand enough about politics so that he can make an informed decision. It doesn’t have to be the same decision as me, but I want him to feel comfortable voting for a party that best represents his views. He won’t agree with the entirety of any policy platform, and I explained to him recently that I was amazed no-one seemed to accept the sum total of my opinions and adopt them all as party policy. I got an eye roll for that witticism, but I’m also convinced I saw the corners of his mouth fighting a smile as well.

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