The Nadir of the Year

Kage Baker said that the darkest part of the year was the stretch between January 6th and February 14th – the long haul between 12th Night and Valentine’s Day, where there are no holidays, no celebrations, no real festivals. And Valentine’s Day doesn’t really fill the gap, she said: but at least it includes candy, so there’s that.

With 12th Night past, the Ghost of Christmas Present can no longer be persuaded to loll around eating leftovers. The lights are down, the decorations put away; we’ve left the blue and white frost lights in the bare mulberry tree, in token of the winter nights, but the jewels and gems of the holiday are back asleep in their boxes.

This time of year, it’s tempting for anyone to sleep away the shortened days. It’s the time of  year when Kage was always most likely to toss the latest manuscript in a corner, and devote herself to playing computer games. Monkey Island never failed to charm, and she’d just work her way methodically through the entire series. For variety, there was also the weird as hell adventures of Manny Calveros in Grim Fandango. Those games saw Kage through the dark depths of the year.

Me, I’ve never really gotten into computer games, except the weenie sort that are really just mechanized board and card games. I’ll play Hearts for hours, or crossword puzzles; the closest I’ve ever gotten to a shooter game, though, is Plants Vs. Zombies – to which, I have to admit, I am intermittently and totally addicted. Sadly, I only found that game -which Kage would have appreciated as she never did my puzzle games – in the last few months of her life. So we never got to share it. I just don’t have Kage’s honed gunner instincts …

But I do have her manuscripts. There was always a manuscript in need of proofing and review in January; this year is no different, and in fact I have two. The Best of Kage Baker is nearly 500 pages, and I just finished it this afternoon. Nell Gwynne II is less hefty, and it went off with its corrections on Friday. So I am managing as well as Kage usually did, at this low point of the rolling year.

The only thing that has managed to distract me seriously has been the narcolepsy – this morning I woke up and found I have slept the clock around. Twelve hours! Man, I used to sleep less than that during an entire weekend at Faire! This constantly sleeping thing is an unmitigated drag, and I cannot wait to heal into a better Arcadian rhythm. Sleep is boring. I am not enjoying it. I could really get into having lots of free time to read and knit and write, but this silly business of being unconscious every 3 or 4 hours has got to stop.

I am putting lots of hope into the lengthening of the days. Spring will get here eventually, and I’ll be feeling better; I plan on blooming with the early bulbs. Kage would expect it.

Tomorrow I must go in for pre-surgical tests. Tuesday I must keep a brace of doctor’s appointments to satisfy requirements from Social Security – I guess to ascertain that I am, yes indeed, sick enough to warrant being considered disabled for a while. One of them is a psychiatric exam, which worries me slightly: I’m not sure if I should try to convince the Feds I am sane, or otherwise. One never knows what they might want. I don’t know why they’ve scheduled this exam anyway, as I haven’t claimed any psychological difficulties … perhaps I just sound like someone who might have a few screws loose.

And probably I am. But I think I have good explanations for why my gaskets may be slightly loose. If nothing else, the low point of the year can help me; I’ll plead my constant sleepiness, and hint that I might have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I don’t have SAD, but it’s a trendy disease right now. It might be fun to have a trendy disease for once. I usually have to settle for just weird.

Anyway, the long winter holidays are over for good and all, and it’s time to renew the fight. Duties galore await me. Time to hobble back in to the fray.

And good luck and wishes to all of you, Dear Readers, who are also slinking off unenthusiastically to your jobs. Be of good cheer – chocolate hearts, at least, will soon be in the offing! Those should see us all through to Spring.

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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8 Responses to The Nadir of the Year

  1. Other people have Circadian rhythms. Yours would be Arcadian, and no surprise. Only you, Kathleen Bartholomew. Only you. 😀

    I’ve always said sleep is a terrible waste of four hours. Sadly, I no longer seem to be able to do that more than once in, say, a month. After which I spend at least two days making up for it. Besides, you need your strength. Maybe one side affect of all this will be that your body can give up the narcolepsy!

    As for the psych evaluation, just answer the questions. Don’t analyse them. “It depends” is not an option. “Do I often think people are talking about me?” Just say no, even though you know you are the sole topic of everyone’s conversation. 😉 Only because we love you.


  2. Kate says:

    Oh, for … I meant Circadian! I did! But it looked funny and spell check underlined it in red, and when I changed it to Arcadian, the wretched program accepted it.

    My brain, it is leaking out my ears. Luckily, the Feds aren’t testing my intelligence, so I should be fine. I can stifle my inner smart ass that long, I’m sure – just pretend it’s a job interview.

  3. Carolyne says:

    For the intrepid, there are any number of joyous, recognized celebrations twixt now and Valentines Day: National Popcorn Day January 19 (with butter, of course); Chinese New Year January 23 (dumplings and oranges, firecrackers, dancing dragons…what more do you need?); Robert Burns’ Birthday January 25 (what more? why, single-malt whiskey, bagpipes, and haggis!); which will hold you until Kite Flying Day February 8 (bits of string and wood and paper flying through the air, which of course demand sparkling wine and strawberries). Get your joy on, startle your psychiatrist, expel the demons that invade…and become well and whole and happy.

  4. Kate says:

    Thank you Carolyn. Lots of good things to celebrate! Harry especially likes Popcorn Day; it’s one of his favourite snacks. His very favourite kind is Kettle Corn – which the little black cat also eats. I must make a point of celebrating this year!

  5. Widdershins says:

    Candlemas – 1st February … Welcoming the sun back to the Earth

    For the 10 years it took for the idiot truck driver’s (who smashed me and my motorcycle) insurance company to come up with some money they would send me to an orthopedic surgeon every six months to see if – 1) I was malingering, or 2) they could wear me down. Neither happened. I mean, how can you fake having half your knee scraped off! … So I can see why they would send you to see a psychiatrist – sheer stupidity!

  6. Kate says:

    Widdershins – I shall resist the very real temptation to gibber and talk to my imaginary playmates.

  7. Tom says:

    Trucks and insurance companies certainly changed our lives, Widdershins; hope you wore THEM down.
    ML had cataract surgery today, complicated by bad quality implants (which happily was discovered before they went into her eye).
    Why is this stuff never simple???

  8. Kate says:

    Best wishes to ML for a speedy and complete recovery! Alas, few things are so subject to Murphy’s Laws as health care … maybe theatre productions. Note to everyone: do not have surgery on stage.

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