Kage Baker was invited several times to write a blog – and once ordered to, by some cocky little prig – and she always refused. She said it was hard enough to keep up with what she had to do by working on her novels and stories all the freakin’ time; she had no way to sit about and self-indulgently talk to herself and still get things done.
Truth was, she was just very unwilling to expose herself this way. Kage got no kick at all from being blatantly visible. She had to screw her courage to the sticking point to do promotional events, and hated live interviews. She’d answer all the questions you wanted if you were willing to send them in writing – but she could barely bring herself to sit down with an interviewer and talk. She preferred to be invisible.
She maintained that she was writing fiction, not biography. Mind you, any fiction writer does pour a lot of their real life and real self into what they write – but they don’t come right out and identify it, you know? There’s no obligation to label the ingredients of a story. Kage might do so after the fact, if it proved to be interesting to a successful tale; but she never gave the information up front. And some things she never did reveal. No more have I, nor will I even here – not if Kage ever made it plain to me she didn’t want it said.
Of course, my own reasons for writing this blog are very different than hers would have been. Even if she had done it for the little prig who insisted she owed her readers a bigger window into to her soul than she was already providing … but I don’t write to reveal the strings (or amazing lack of them, sometimes) behind the marionettes of Kage’s imagination.
I write to say the things Kage wanted to say and ran out of time to explain. I write to share the memories of life with a truly unique person. I write to try to frame – for myself as much as anyone else – the construction of the stories I am under geas to write. And I write to keep Kage alive.
No, that’s wrong. I write because she is alive in my mind and won’t stop being so. Because she is singing a strange new harmony in my head, and I have to learn the melody she is implying. Because she still has so very much to say, and even if I were to take dictation 24/7 I wouldn’t be able to get it all down the first time. So I have to keep on trying, and writing down all I hear. When I’m late or forgetful, I get the feeling she’s writing on the inside of my skull …
So, despite the extreme narcolepsies today; despite the rising wind that has turned my sinuses to cement vats and my joints to broken glass; despite the little black cat sprawled adoringly across my desk, watching the letter dance on the computer screen and interjecting eccentric paragraph breaks; despite the parrot singing the Jeopardy theme song and the Corgi singing what sounds like Men of Harlech in Klingonese … I’m dashing off this bit for all you Dear Readers, and then running off to write down more of Kage’s ideas.
All I have to do is read them off – upside down and backwards – from my own eyelids …
Some people are bloggers, some aren’t. I doubt any of the really good Dead White Male writers would have blogged had it been an option for them (with the possible exception of Dickens) but the Mitford sisters definitely would have and a couple of them (Nancy and Jessica, most likely) would probably have Tweeted.
I’ll bet Virginia Woolf would have blogged but Shirley Jackson wouldn’t.
Anyway, I’m glad your blog exists and I’m looking forward to reading about the holiday adventures of the Nell Gwynn gals.
And again, thank you for helping me through my own personal grieving process. “All” I ever knew of Kage was her books, but they truly kept me company in some dark times.
Grief is universal, Brad. If any of my out-loud ponderings are of use to anyone else, I am glad. Besides, life with kage was too much fun to be sad forever!