Apports and Letters From The Dead

Kage Baker left me boxes and envelopes and Peechee folders and plastic bags and old purses full of writing. Manuscripts, some of them; others are single pages and torn scraps of same, tucked into books all over the house. I found a lot of them when I cleaned out our apartment after she died (and two $50 bills, too, to the amazement of our friend Neassa and I: we went out to dinner that night on Kage), as well as bits of stories tucked at random between pages of other stories … it’s an Escher library here, weaving in and out of dimensions and stacking shelving on the ceiling.

Last night I sat down with one of the older manuscripts to read through it – I needed to hear Kage’s voice, in something I haven’t read a hundred times. I had to sort through it so all the pages ran the same way and in order – no numbers, of course – before I could read through the old handwritten pages. No one has ever seen this one but me. It’s the beginning of a sequel to a book she never even submitted, but that insisted on being written.

This afternoon my patient sister Kimberly (with whom I now live) handed me a little scrap of blue-lined note paper: on it, in faint pencil and written across the lines rather than on them, is this:

Now peace be on your soul,
And peace be on all here
And peace be in our house
At the darkening of the year.

For though the shadow fell
And though the blade was red
We’ll drink beside the hearth
To the unborn and the dead.

Ch: The child is being born.
No, nothing on the bough
But the berry and the thorn.

And life stretches up
And shadow stretches down
And the fire burns high
Along the antlered crown.

Fear never cold
Fear never heat
There is a broken circle all unbroken:
There we meet.

Ch: The child is being born.
No, nothing on the bough
But the berry and the thorn.

It’s Kage’s handwriting. I’ve never seen it before. It must have lain on the living room floor for hours while we all walked over it before someone noticed it. Must have fallen out from between the pages, from where I sat reading across the room … right?

Right.

Tomorrow: I can hardly wait to see …

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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2 Responses to Apports and Letters From The Dead

  1. Dana Wolf says:

    Just found and read your blog. I was so sad to read of your sister Kage Baker passing away last winter. Her page was in my favorites and I checked it every couple weeks for new stuff. I was shocked and felt so bad for her and all that cared for her. I’m so sorry for your loss of your sister and friend.

    I’m a big reader. My aunt turned me on to Kage’s writing about 7 yrs ago. She imediately became my favorite and the writer I always recommended to other readers. So original ! Loved her storytelling so much. She always delivered.

    Her writing was just so smart and sharp, so funny and yeah, I mean hysterically funny ! And, so touching and real were her charactors. She gave me so much enjoyment and ideas to think about. I have most of her books and I re-read them every so often as a treat. I requested her books at a couple of libraries over the years and they don’t last long on the shelf, she’s so special once they get checked out, folks must steal them, they are gone. I was talking with one of the librarians about this and she said it’s a compliment to the author when they rip off all their books, ha.

    Well, I ‘m a reader, not a writer. Thank you for the opportunity to share about what Kage’s writing means to me. Almost time to read all about the Company again, such pleasure !
    Wishing you and the rest of your family well and healing for your loss . . . Dana

  2. DJ Hamouris says:

    Ah — a song! Would you like a tune?

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