Monday Got Me

Kage Baker, like so many people, hated Mondays.Unless they were the third day of a 3-day weekend; in which case, they were to be used for excursions, extra writing, and other gleeful pursuits of self-selected delights.

Even after she retired from 9-5 drudgery to work and write from home, she hated Mondays. This was largely because I still had an office job, and wasn’t especially noble about having to get up and go in. I’d drag around the house on Monday morning, whinging and moaning and making those threshold-of-hearing noises that the room mates of sleeping people make to drive them nuts …

“Can’t you leave quietly?” she’d hiss from her bedroom.

“I don’t want you to take sleeping in for granted,” I’d say virtuously, trying to find two matching shoes.

“Oh, screw you!”

So, today is a Monday. We had hot and cold running raccoons all night, and the Corgi had to repel boarders at least once. Despite the hideous wrath of God weather in the Midwest – where it is currently snowing on the tornado damage – it’s muggy and in the 80’s here in Los Angeles: our least attractive weather pattern, hot fog. I resent it and feel guilty about it, since my roof is intact and the only noticeable earthquake we had to day was in Berkeley; and frankly, Berkeley on a Monday tends to spasm a little naturally.

Mondays was further horror-enhanced by my entering a phase of mourning not mentioned in the formal lists. It’s sort of … uber sensitivity. That is, a sudden excrutiating  awareness of a thousand little reminders of loss, long after the larger realities have settled into place. I feel like I’ve forgotten things, things that mattered enormously while Kage was alive; and now all those things are awake and standing by the road as I pass by, making rude gestures … Suddenly there a tons of small things popping up, and every one of them feels like a glass shard  of memory in my heart.

See’s Chocolate’s damned Irish Potatoes, the weirdest seasonal candy ever: Kage loved them. Lawn flamingos. John Carter of Mars, whose Tars Tarkis looks to be properly sardonic but too skinny. Neanderthal art discovered. The positive flood of new and re-discovered animals in Malaysia; the insane new pterosaur fossil in China; the re-hybridization of the Sonoran red wolf.

Bacon and egg burritos at Los Burritos. KFC’s chicken pot pie coming back. Yucca spires on the hills, the tall spoked plants she called “wheel trees.” Finding Mr. Krabbs in a desk drawer. The first daffodil blooming in the pot where she planted them. All the weird and lovely things I see as I drive through the city every day, that make me think automatically: Oh, must tell Kage when I get home! And then remembering again that I never will …

Memory is sometimes like a malignant hedgehog, running out of the shadows to stab you with a thousand ridiculous little needles. The metaphor is absurd, but that’s what it feels like. All those tiny pains, nothing that can stop me but nothing that will stop  cutting into me, either.

Man, I hate Mondays.

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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11 Responses to Monday Got Me

  1. I’m not delighted to hip you to the fact that these “events” do not go away. Some of the worst and most profound are olfactory. Its amazing how staggering the smell of a brewery or the odor of eucalyptus trees cracking bark on a hot day can be. I have however found it helpful to do what you are doing here on a somewhat smaller scale. I rush out to “Recite the story” to my grandchildren, or tell my Clan children “the story”. you and I have got to do it now. Time and Memory are a finite commodity . Come to think on it these daily events you write about here dear friend seem to provoke our memories of “those stories.”


    • Catharine says:

      I cannot open the cabinet where my mom kept her perfume. Family posted a note on the door to it “do not open” so that I wouldn’t smell it. absolutely breaks me down. Peace to you Steve, and Kathleen. Glory in the memories. You are not forgetting.


  2. Oh, my dear. There are no words. Oh, my very dear.


  3. pamela duncan says:

    You describe grief beautifully., I just wish you didn’t have to.




    • Kate says:

      I am very blessed in my auditors. Anyone who yells loudly enough can pull an audience – not everyone is so privileged as I am, to have an audience that understands. Thank you all for genuinely healing words.

      I think often on your statement, Steven, that we’ve entered that phase of life where how we handle loss becomes of prime importance. You are, as ever, a good example and a dear friend to me in that.

      Thanks, folks. We all need to keep passing the stories on ….



  4. Margaret says:

    Yes, they don’t ever seem to go away entirely – just get a bit less like a stab to the heart. My mother says she still thinks of things she should tell her sister (the best aunt in the universe) who died back in the 1970s – 15 years younger than I am now. I’m always wanting to recommend books to a good friend who died in 2004, to be brought up short with that shock of ‘can’t do that any more.’.
    But sometimes they show up in our dreams, maybe just passing through, or sometimes with some conversation, and that’s always pleasant to wake from. I am so grateful that you are carrying on with Kage’s stories – and that she apparently comes and tells you to get on with it.

    P.S. Mondays are unpleasant even if you have the house to yourself. I’ve been retired for years and still, if I’m going to have a glum day, it’ll be a Monday. Must be something like race-memory that all those old novels were on about.


  5. Elaine says:

    Oh, how I understand. My father, who was my movie buddy, my fishing buddy and my science fiction enabler, died in 1978, when I was 20 and he was 54. To this day, I see or hear things that automatically send me to “I’ve got to tell Daddy about that.” Followed by, “Oh. Damn.”


  6. PJ says:

    Yes, you have rendered that absurd, malignant hedgehog eloquently and with great accuracy. Hugs to you.


  7. Tom says:

    It always feels like glass slivers from broken ornaments and bottles to me.
    But even so, I fear the day I stop feeling these tiny deep cuts.


  8. Lynn Downward says:

    Today I’m not sure which is more poignant: what you’ve beautifully written or what your auditors have done. Either way, I’ve been brought to tears remembering others who are gone. My father-in-law and Andrew are the two people with whom I most often want to share experiences.


  9. Chris says:

    Sometimes, only somtimes over the years, there is also a tinly, tender joy along with the pain. The joy for what you did have, that so many others have never had. Sometimes it is a comfort, however small.


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