Kage Baker did, occasionally, get bored.
How, I never could figure out. Most of the time she had a dozen projects going on at once, and was loudly pressed for time. She always claimed there were not enough hours in the day, resented the time needed for sleep – and she wasn’t like me, she had to sleep. After a while, all internal systems just shut down and she’d fall asleep no matter where she was.
But somehow, when not racing the clock and shouting outrage at the time, she managed to get bored. Especially in the summer, on long warm comfortable afternoons. Although those afternoons it’s almost nice to be bored; to loll about with a cold drink and something retro on the CD player, lazily discussing Whammo Toys and defunct flavours of Otter Pops. Whenever she got really into the indolence, though, something would happen – a story would insist on being born, a manuscript would come back from the editor all marked up. And Kage would lay aside her plantation past-times, and leap back into the multi-tasking fray happily.
Sometimes what happened were signing sheets. Smaller houses often include a special run in their publication of a book – 1,500 volumes already signed by the author, on special pages sumptuously decorated and numbered. Subterranean Press – which just generally produces exquisite books anyway – habitually does this. And whenever the box of signing sheets arrived, there was 3 or 4 days of careful business right there: because the book juju, Kage maintained, would not be satisfied with a stamp.
They all had to be signed.
Well, I now have my own very first batch. Looks like, oh, 500 of them – really lovely, too, with a beach study in warm mauve-pink-copper tones centered on each page. Looks like a warm grey day heading for twilight, just perfect for The Women of Nell Gwynne’s II.
It’s terribly exciting – one of the last pre-publication steps, and it means the book is real! It makes my head swim, being the first with my name on it – and even Kage never stopped being thrilled when things like this arrived. She’d do her dance of Authorial Glee at having made it to the fun bits of writing.
It’s certainly not boring.
In the meantime, today I have been working on similar finishing touches for the front lawn. Mostly, I drive – Kimberly and Michael won’t let me do anything even faintly strenuous. But I did get to pick out the fence panels now beginning to go in: we went with iron, sturdy iron with classic iron pointy bits: only waist-high, but an incontrovertible symbol of Private Property. Right now, they’re black – but we’re painting them green to match the trim on the house. I expect Mount Neighbor to blow his lava plug at that …
However, beginning tomorrow, the signing must be begun. I have to wash my hands really well (because mulch … clings), and set up a nice tidy cat-proof place to sign pages. Which task itself beggars imagination. I’ll need a pot of coffee and a pitcher of ice water, with as little of them as possible within arm’s reach: for fear of dreadful spillage. I shall have to give some thought to the best ink with which to sign these, too … does anyone make 6-packs of pens in sepia?
Final touches are the most important.