Seeing Time II

Kage Baker, as I described yestreday, apparently saw Time as a rotating vertical cylinder. At least, that’s how she visualized it in order to write about it. And over the last 24 hours, Dear Readers, I’ve been pleased and surprised at how many people seem to share that vision, and to understand it completely.

Kage would be delighted with you all.

She had to visualize things to write about them; she was a thoroughly visual thinker. It’s why we travelled so often and so far to find concrete images of the burgeoning images in her head: she needed to have a picture to write. What she wrote often varied a great deal from what she saw – but she had to see it first. Then she could adapt, remodel, combine; modernize a building or reduce it to rubble. She could do anything once she knew how it looked.

Kage said she got the idea from Alfred Hitchcock movies, especially The Birds.  Hitchcock combined places and buildings all over Bodega Bay, and essentially remodelled the geography of the entire area. He made his own version of Bodega Bay, and that really impressed Kage.

Also, she loved that movie. She and Harry watched it often. She’d prop her feet on the coffee table, and Harry would run up and down her legs, watching it too. He’d go down and perch on her very toes when the scenes were getting tense, muttering to himself in alarm – then when the big birds attacked, he’d scream  Oh no! And run back up Kage’s legs to her lap. But he never stopped watching. It was exactly like a little kid peeking at the monsters on the screen through his fingers, both horrified and fascinated.

(It was watching to see just what upset Harry that helped Kage figure out the trick Hitchcock had used. Also, Harry was just plain hilarious.)

The passage of time both horrified and fascinated Kage, too. She firmly rejected the whole Arrow of Time idea – if it was an accident of the way our sensory organs were pointed, she said, she was going to look in a different direction. Up and down, apparently, rather then side to side. Thus, she could travel through time without losing her place, if the place was important; or she could skip the bad places altogether, and just slide on by to a better time.

At least, I think that was what she was doing. It’s why she used her 1966 Yellow Submarine calendar over and over and over – every few years it was actually correct, and in the meantime it meant a year that she had loved was still going on somewhere. And if more people could reach accommodations like that, I suspect it would provide a considerable uptick in happiness and mental health.

Me, I just don’t have a concept of the overall structure of Time. I don’t know why, and it doesn’t bother me – although I wonder sometimes if it should. Perhaps  I’m as adrift as Kage seemed to be, and am obviously just about as worried about it … but it doesn’t seem to be causing any dangerous lacunae in my perceptions.

Kage always patted my head and told me not to fret. “You can read a clock and tell left from right,” she said. “I’ll take care of the dates, and point the way North.”

That still sounds good to me.

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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