Summer Lightning

Kage Baker was often struck down by migraines in hot weather. Especially during Northern Faire, in Marin – when we ran into late August and September, the heat would often reach triple digits in the late afternoon. A demon wind would begin to blow in the from cow-pasture parking lots, laden with dessicated wild oats and peat dust, and Kage’s brain would red-line and short circuit.

They always struck her speech first, and her eyes. Either she would go helplessly mute or begin to speak in total nonsense: then go mute. No glossolalia, per se – she spoke English words– but they were disconnected and unattached to the present situation. When she suddenly commented that the clouds were too sharp or my voice blue; if I looked up to see both her frightened eyes looking straight at me – I knew she was having a migraine. The strabismus vanished when Kage had a migraine. I have no idea why; nothing she saw then made sense to her, which drove her mad with frustration.

However, pain and nausea would also attend these brain storms, and the only real treatment was as much caffeine and painkillers as she could keep down. And then putting her to bed. She’d sleep for hours and ultimately wake up feeling clear and hollow as a bone flute (she said) and furious at being once more struck by lightning.

She was convinced that wearing crystalline stones made it worse. I don’t know – many crystals have strange EM effects, especially quartz: of which Kage was, perversely, very fond. After a month wearing a necklace of amethyst, rose and smoky quartz – and being crippled with migraines over and over – she eschewed wearing them ever again. The migraines diminished. Real EM interference? Psychosomatic TIAs? Maybe Kage was simply unable to tune her brain waves in properly with all that rock crystal around her spinal cord. It hardly matters – she put the stones away and got better.

I don’t have the interesting disorders of the speech centers poor Kage did. I don’t even always have a lot of pain with a migraine. What I have is that total visual distortion effect, the masking of the world by a scrim of metal lace. Steel and chrome patterns drift over everything I see, shining thorns twining and expanding. Like Kage, though, the heat makes it worse.

Today it’s in the 90’s here in Los Angeles. It’s also astoundingly clear, a hot wind blowing and everything limned and lined with searing white light. I can feel lightning bouncing off my skull, and the black thorns are rising in front of my eyes like a fast forward from Sleeping Beauty.

Time to have a big cup of Mullah Nasrudin’s coffee (got fresh beans just yestreday!) and go lie down. I’ll get up when the moon does, and go bathe my eyes in her light. Kage always swore that helped.

Tomorrow: some more of The Fog King, if anyone wants some.

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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7 Responses to Summer Lightning

  1. Margaret says:

    I hope your migraine can be persuaded to bugger off. Have you tried valerian capsules to augment the caffeine? Sometimes that works for me.

    Yes, please – more of The Fog King, when you’ve recovered. Or Wenakla.

  2. Kate says:

    Feverfew works wonderfully for me, I have found. Especially at clearing up the Steampunk Lace Effect. Which would be kind of cool, if it would just keep still or let me see through it!

  3. Widdershins says:

    Must be something in the ethers. I’ve had four in the last week … YUK …I agree with you about the steampunk lace. What are they trying to hide fro us?

  4. Carol Light says:

    Sorry, can’t help on the migraine advice but do wish yours would go away promptly — and not return until, say, never.

    Yes, some more Fog King when you’re up to it. It’s lovely.


  5. trapunto says:

    Want some! Yes! Moonlight does many strange things, I would not be at all surprised if it helps migraines. Feel better.

  6. Kate says:

    Kage claimed that when she saw patterns with a migraine, it was because the surface of reality was dissolving, and she/we were seeing what was *really* there. Whatever it was …

  7. Tom says:

    Feel better, Kate; hold off on Fog King if the rest does you good.

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