Kage Baker was an artist as well as a writer. She painted in water colours and inks, often illuminating manuscript pages – sometimes her own, sometimes poems and songs that caught her fancy. It was something she did for fun, in her spare time. In recent years, she did it less and less, as she had less and less spare time.
She also cooked, having a great interest in period historical recipes as well as good old everyday food. She did most of the cooking in our household, in fact. (I did most of the baking.) And of course, she acted in historical recreations. In the same years that cut back on her painting but expanded her writing time, she managed to hang on to the other two recreations by combining them. She cooked for the historical recreation events we attended – weird and fanciful stuff like Spotted Dick ( a surprisingly innocent boiled pudding) and ice cream bombes (molded in the shapes of bombs, no less, fuses and all).
I could claim I did what I did today to honor Kage’s other interests, but the fact of the matter is: I just got distracted. I watched The League of Extraotdinary Gentlemen, which is a fairly ghastly movie but with wonderful steampunk props. I helped clean the kitchen for the triumphant arrival of *A*BRAND*NEW*STOVE* tomorrow morning – all four burners will work! It has an enormous oven!! It has a freaking timer!!! Also it is a modern but nicely retro-styled white enamel Kenmore – cooking deluxe galore will now begin.
Then I went out to a cocktail party and private showing for the art of a friend, the amazing Mr. Charles Kovacik, who does exquisite plein air paintings; I was privileged to be invited to view the fruits of a trip to Tuscany – they were gorgeous. The glorious heat from the wheat fields and tender apricot-coloured plaster village walls beat palpably out of the canvases.
And his wife, my dear old friend Athene, fed all us hungry art appreciators cheese and bread and hummus and pesto and nifty little elegant crackers and wine and beer and champagne AND ….(drumroll, please): the best cookies I have tasted all year. Made with hazelnut flour. Served with self-serve enormous dollops of real whipped cream. They should require a prescription as a Schedule 1 drug. Some of us (Mostly actors. Never leave actors near free food.) unabashedly staked out the desserts and stood about eating and moaning happily and telling outrageous stories …
I had fun. Actual fun. I have been living like a nun, chained to my keyboard and mourning Kage, and tonight – I had fun. Consequently, I didn’t write at all. But I will, and I’ll be better for the good time tonight.
You have to be alive to write, I think. And I think I may be finding my way back to being alive.
Tomorrow: God knows. The stove arrives – there will be bacon …