Kage Baker … where do I go from here today? I honestly don’t know. I need to write, because I must finish Who We Did On Our Summer Holidays and send it to Kage’s agent by the end of Monday next.
And I ought to see to some mundanities like laundry, dishes, parrot maintenance, retrieving the rawhide chew thrown into the top of the bookshelf by the projectile-talented corgi.
But I have a headache … whine, whine, whine.
Kage got bad headaches, migraines – much more so than me. Her own solution for a migraine headache always started with “I will do nothing and see if it goes away spontaneously.” (For the record, this never worked and I don’t recommend it.) Things would then segue into copious amounts of real Coke, then black coffee, then an eventual lie down. Note the absence of pain killers? She hated taking pain pills – seemed to think it was wimpy or something. Her last week of life, I still had to argue with her about this …
Once I finally got her to take something and she had slept a bit, the pain would usually withdraw to the point where she was bored, but also still visually challenged. Her therapy for this stage was to watch cartoons. She claimed that sitting still and watching certain kinds of animation provided a soothing rhythm for her recovering optic nerves without placing strain on her eye muscles. Not anime! She preferred classic Disney or Warner Brothers, but in later years Samurai Jack, Spongebob Squarepants and Invader Zim did the trick, too.
Was this total nonsense? No idea. My first instinct was always to chalk it up to reverse hypochondria, or faith healing: Kage was better than anyone else I ever knew at sinking herself into an alternate reality, so maybe it was a form of trance. It seemed to work for her, I can attest to that.
It does nothing for me, though. But then, not much does – I can’t take NSAIDS right now, and Tylenol might as well be artificial sweetener for all the good it does me. So I am going to glug a cup of Don Brown’s coffee (world-famed headache killer) move the carton full of The Scarlet Spy copies off my bed, and pull the covers up. Harry will sing me to sleep for a while.
Then I can get back to planning night maneuvers in the English Channel.
Is ‘Who We Did On Our Summer Holidays’ going to be the actual title for the next book, or is it just a place holder? Either way, it makes me smile every time you mention it.
Kara – it’s the title Kage claimed she wanted, and it makes me laugh, too. Which is why I use it. I doubt I can get it past the publisher, though. But maybe as a subtitle … Kage’s other suggestions were not much better: Sex On The Beach, Whores On Holiday; or Bobbsey Twin style pastiches like The Ladies Go To The Seashore! Complete with exclamation point.
She usually went through this goofy phase with a title before she settled on one. The original Ladies story never even had a real title, and ended up as The Women of Nell Gwynne’s by default. Personally, Kage always referred to it as TWONG …
I am sitting here in the library where I work, with tears in my eyes, because I have just learned of Kage Bakers death, and just discovered her as a writer through the Company novels, which I am drinking like wine. And I am so happy that, as a writer, she is an Immortal, and with us always.
I hope your headache has fled – beastly incpacitating things that they are.
I wondered whether the Ladies might need some small, easily concealed fiendish weapons; I bought a 1997 Sotheby’s catalog at a thrift store today, and it includes a few they might like, as well as lots of statuary, furniture, and tapestries:
A rare Chicago Firearms Co. revolving seven-shot palm pistol ‘The Protector’, circa 1895-1900, 5 & 1/4″ long, that doesn’t look like a firearm at all: a small disc-shaped center with a short, flower-engraved barrel on one side and a flimsy-looking grip/trigger mechanism on the other. There’s an even smaller one made by the Minneapolis Firearms Co., about 1892 (4 & 1/4 ” long), so it must have been a popular idea at the time.
The prize, however, is the Belgian ‘Apache’ combined pepperbox six-shot revolver, knife and knuckleduster, circa 1860-1865, all out of German silver, blued and engraved with panels of flowerheads hither and yon, 4 & 1/8″ long when folded.
I could send you copies of the relevant pages if you’d find them useful.
Margaret – thank you both for kind thoughts and firearms information. I have notes on these tiny elegant guns as well – pinfire guns, they are sometimes called, as some of them fired small incendiary or explosive pins instead of balls or bullets. Wonderful things! Wearable as brooches or charms. One is described in The Women of Nell Gwynne, in fact, where Lady Beatrice conjectures that the best use of it might be to fire int directly into the victim’s ear.
“pinfire guns” refer not to the projectiles…..but the peculiar cartridges that fit within the guns which had horizontally projecting pins in their bases, which when driven into the cartridge via a hammer ignited a primer and fired the powder. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinfire
While some 19th century whore’s pistols could fire tiny projectiles (I’ve seen some as small as 3 mm or roughly .12 caliber), they were not “pinfire” guns unless their ammunition used pinfire cartridges….which frankly were only briefly popular (roughly 1850-1870) because they were slower to load because they had to be keyed into the breach, and had a disconcerting habit of igniting in one’s pocket if you banged the pin against some random object.
…oh, and if you are interested in the palm pistols mentioned by Margaret, there’s an interesting webpage here: http://aowreview.com/Articles.php?action=detail&g=content1238711067 that goes into the peculiar history of these odd little 19th century toys. In .32 extra-short black-powder rimfire and centerfire they doubtless had less range and hitting power than a well thrown baseball, and accurate range measured in a handful of feet with that sub 2″ barrel…
Thank you for the extra details, Mark.
The one Kage referenced in TWONG was based on a little circular job that looked like a brooch. The merely very little guns were not as interesting; she was intrigued by being able to wear one of these in plain sight, with no one knowing it was a gun. And she was rather enchanted with the little explosive pins, honestly – and took the liberty of having her model “upgraded” by the GSS so that the ammunition was less likely to go off spontaneously in one’s reticule or when banged by one’s pearls.
Thanks, Kate, for reminding me of the tiny, insidious gun in TWONG, which had apprently slipped my porous mind, but which was probably what inspired me to write you when I saw the ones in the Sotheby’s catalog. I should have known that you and Kage would know about them already.
Thanks, Mark, for the link to the article – now I can find out more without doing my own research. ;-} I was sort-of pining for one to carry around in case assaulted by Persons of Evil Intent, but it sounds s if I could do them more damage by giving them a good thwack with my purse.
Margaret – yeah, Kage figured she’s blow a hole in her leg if she carried one. She really wanted one, though – they are such cunning little things!