Kage Baker truly loved to read. She was a self-taught reader, which was discovered by Mamma when Kage started correcting her on stories read aloud. Kage spent her childhood seeking safety and freedom in books – as many of us do.
But she was not only sheltered by books, she was inspired by them. The urge to tell stories herself could never have been far below the surface: it first arose in response to wanting favourite stories to go on beyond The End. Before long, Kage was altering plots so they came out better – then coming up with entirely new ones. She sort of learned to tell stories backwards and inside out.
She still loved other people’s stories, though. One of the odder regrets attendent on becoming a successful writer was that her time to read recreationally was much reduced. She had her firm favourites that she never relinquished and read over and over – and she tried to do research for stories on topics that already interested her, so she could enjoy the research a bit.
Kage’s last couple of months, I read to her all the time. I’m glad, now.
But there are story notes safe in my files about stained glass, and pottery glazes, and old faerie lore, and Neanderthal culture, and abacuses, and abyssal oceanic life – all things that interested her, and that she read up on with the excuse that a story could come out of it … and some will. A couple of these projects went into the Nell Gwynne sequel already.
Today is, apparently, Read Across America and World Book Day. I’ve been therefore reading most of the day, instead of doing freaking anything else at all, and I am going back to it as soon as I get this entry dutifully posted.
I’m reading for two, now.
PS and Update: the universal reaction to that brilliant article on Lord Howe Island stick insects was loathing. I am astounded! Those bugs – while, yes, inarguably loathly – are so weird they are ubercool. The world needs them, just to balance out the elevator music and blancmange and parking lots that typify mundanity. However, I am very pleased to note that everyone liked Bell’s Pyramid. Shows your innate good taste.
Now, go read something amazing.