Kage Baker was of an indomitable character. When she had an idea, nothing stopped her. She would plan, nag, scheme and plot for as long as it took to get what she wanted accomplished. Years, sometimes.
She never forgot. She never gave up. She never compromised. Neither did she bully or throw tantrums, though, and so most other people did not notice that she always got her own way: but she usually did. And when she could not, she quietly withdrew from the competition; if Kage couldn’t get what she really wanted, she honestly did prefer nothing. It was just very, very hard to convince her that there was no way to get what she wanted …
Despite this adamantine determination making her friends and family often insane (I have driven miles in pursuit of extinct foodstuffs and out-of-print books), this was also the power source for her prolific writing. She always started a new idea because that was just what one did – one devised plots. Then she wrote and wrote and wrote until it was done. And then she started the next.
But even she sometimes hit a wall. Her determination never failed – hell, she was dictating plot details to me the day she died – but her strength sometimes did. Sometimes, too, circumstances would prevent her from accomplishing what she meant to do. She would wait, recoup her energies, wait for the waves to recede – and leap for that rope hanging from the stern. Then it was out swords, boots first through the stern windows in the Great Cabin, and on with the attack!
I was usually mooring the long boat.
I’ve been the Support Staff all this while, and it’s hard to gear up to a Kage-worthy level obstinancy. Today has been especially difficult. I made a long trip across town to see the haberdasher on Melrose but he was closed due to a water main breaking: his steam machine wouldn’t work. (What, doesn’t everyone have a regular haberdasher?) Three freight trucks in the last twelve hours have crashed at the same place on the Pomona Freeway, converting part of the eastern freeway system into a Circle of Hell. All the pets have the vapours and megrims, and I suspect the hairballs the elder cat is coughing up may be the younger cat. Though it’s probably a sock. There was an inexplicable bowl of mashed potatoes in the middle of the kitchen floor, and I stepped in it.
And while I wish this litany of woes were a comic invention – more of Kage’s famous wry wit, perhaps! – the sad fact is, they are all factual.
Consequently, this sad report has taken two hours and is all I have written today. But I owe the Fates and Kage’s Muse 3,000 words in two other places. So I must go drag that Muse of hers out of whatever metaphorical bar he is encamped in, pour us both some good strong coffee, and do what Kage would do. Write. Write like my life depends on it, write because it’s what I’ve decided to do and nothing else will suffice, write like nothing else matters.
Because nothing else does matter. Except the work.