Lazy Summer Deadlines

Kage Baker was possessed of an iron will in getting tasks done. She was a prolific writer, and almost never neglected to at least try to meet a deadline. The times she screwed up were mostly because she had the wrong deadline date recorded – the worst one, she was 6 months off. That caused a major uproar and re-organization in our household, but she managed to get the novel in limbo completed within 60 days. It was a miracle.

We started keeping a huge white board with timelines on it after that SNAFU; all her projects were marked in different colours, to keep her interest. Kage was a sucker for coloured inks … that system worked pretty well; as long as I remembered to ask her at frequent intervals just what she had recently committed to produce. As long as I found out about it, I could make sure she did it. The trick was finding out …

In Kage’s favour, she tried to do the same for me on my own deadlines. But mine involved Faire rehearsal schedules, and set building, and mundanities like paying the rent. They were easier to keep in mind. Besides, it was mainly when it came to her own things – whether they were  entire novels or promised book reviews – that Kage’s memory went on vacation … even with the fascinating polychrome Reminder Board at her elbow, she had a way of casting an eye over the items and registering a total zero in visual comprehension.

I think it had something to do with the eye becoming inured to what it sees a lot. The overly-familiar tends to blur out of focus and vanish. On the other hand, knowing Kage, she might have been seeing something, all right – the race times at the hyppogriff track, or the featured dinner menu at Mrs. Smith’s Grand Hotel Grill in Salesh-By-The-Sea. Not that that was always a bad thing, mind you. She was often inspired to try one of Mrs. Smith’s recipes after those long blank stares. I recall Bandit Beef with Tangerines with especial fondness, and a luridly striped ice cream bombe complete with fuse …

Anyway. I did my easily-distracted best to keep Kage on track. And Kimberly now tries to keep me on track in turn. Of course, she has her own household, including a husband, a son and an ever-increasing menagerie to look after; she does her very best, but usually only manages to make sure I took all my daily pills and remembered my latest doctor’s appointment. Lately we have been pursuing the renovation of the back yard and the kitchen, and so the poor girl is also occupied with reducing the acreage of skunk-friendly cover while preventing me from keeling over from too much chain-sawing. (The chain saw is my very favourite gardening tool …)

This is not to say that it’s Kimberly’s fault I haven’t been up-to-date on writing lately. It’s totally my own fault. Between getting seasonally distracted by summer afternoons and plums, and using up my thimble-full of available energy beating back the carnivorous grape vine, I have left myself little time for bloggery and composition. Which is just plain stupid.

I shall do better. It’s mostly utter laziness lately – the soft weather, the burgeoning fresh fruit, a new China Mieville novel, innovative Pop Tarts with new frosting patterns: there is always something to distract a writer, there really is. I need to put up a picture of Kage looking stern, and maybe one of those photos of the lovely lads from The Avengers (thank you, Thena!) telling me to write … yeah, that’ll get my attention.

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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4 Responses to Lazy Summer Deadlines

  1. I find that when one doesn’t go to an office every day that it is really easy not to know what day/date it is. I even use Outlook to remind me to move the cars for street sweeping.

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  2. Tom says:

    Do you really want reminders? Will the pixels truly appear sooner on-screen? We all (I think I may say) would be happy to oblige, and could even have plums shipped to your doorstep.

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  3. Jane says:

    I’d love to see that chain saw action – and I didn’t realize it was plum season already! I’m still harvesting Swiss Chard. And eating early Sweet 100’s.

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    • Kate says:

      Oh, chain saws are wonderful! And if you are cautious, you can get an electric one – they tend to be smaller and less ferocious, although you don’t have all that mechanic-juju of messing about with oil and tightening the blade chain and such. But you can slice through just about anything, and even – if you are very, very stupid – dig a small trench in grass with it! Not that I recommend anything so goofy, of course …

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