Writing In Washington

Kage Baker – like every writer – went on every single trip she ever took with the firm intention of writing in her spare time. Unlike most, she actually sometimes succeeded – resulting in sections of stories scribbled hastily on scraps of paper from everywhere.

I have notes on the adventures of Gard (some that did not make the final cut to House of the Stag) on cocktail napkins with little monkeys swinging all over them. They’re flirting their tails and looking sarcastic, apparently doing acrobatics on Kage’s distinctively horrible cursive script. Whenever I look at these, I always see Gard in my mind looking bemused at the habits of his amanuensis.

It’s harder for me to keep to this vow. I’m newer to this gig, and am still developing habits and virtues of my own. And I also just do not possess Kage’s molybdenum-steel focus; I’m pretty good, mind you, but I cannot help noticing that – for example – an Australian terrier with Veronica Lake bangs is grinning up at me. Kage internalized all her senses at will when she wrote, and became a closed circuit between her imagination and the page.

Nonetheless, I try. Yestreday I tried writing before I got a blog entry done, though, and discovered that it’s not a good idea to switch regimens in mid-narrative. I got my Martian heroine’s adventures rather confused with my own and had to start all over, before I lost track of who was dealing with magma flows and who was trying to find a yarn store. Though the hybrid, if I had had the time and energy, might have been amusing …

Anyway, today I have begun with the blog. The point of this is to convince my brain that a logical, professional, disciplined sequence of events is actually taking place, and therefore can be effortlessly continued. That was Kage’s theory, anyway; and I know it works, because I saw her do it again and again and again.

I must admit, I had a snivelling hope that I could lay off some of my lack of direction on my agent. Sitting and writing in her living room, under her gimlet eye, I was hoping I could achieve a sort of study hall effect: you know, where you must work, because Sister Percepta can see very clearly whether you are writing on the economy of Zaire or detailing the DIY funerary practices of Martian colonists.

However, my very entrance into the Agency has interrupted the normal course of everyone’s habits and affairs. It’s all very Schroedinger-esque. I present, unfortunately, a major distraction – one that quite enjoys being plied with amusing sushi and trips through the Wilderness of Berries, but is aware that she is slowing down the local energy economy. I am a Schwarzchild Radius of distraction, wherein all the normal moving bodies of the Agency come to a total halt, smeared out helplessly over the terrible gravitational drag of a guest in the office.

Also, Linn made the mistake of watching the Republican Convention last night. Between Anne Romney, Chris Christie and the constant updates on the current tragic drowning of New Orleans, today she is flitting round the office in a state of low-level hysterical outrage. Cracking a whip over me is pretty much the least of her worries.

So I must resist the lure of the green wilderness just outside the windows, and the sure knowledge that there are small waves singing out on the lake. I must reassure Wiley (the charming Australian terrier) that no, he actually will not crumble to dust if I don’t take him for a walk. I must resist, for a while at least, the urge to go knit kitty hats (thank you, DJ!) for my grandbabies down the road in Redmond.

It’s exquisitely cool and damp here, and my brain has come back online. Gotta write.

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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3 Responses to Writing In Washington

  1. Tom B. says:

    Glad this is a respite for you. You needed a cool-down break.
    I’m back from Maryland, where Esteemed Spouse continues the home search. Two trailers are possibilities – we’ll call it ‘Indian Tony’s’ if we wind up there!
    Now get back to work!


    • Kate says:

      Trailers can be nice. We spent two years living in a trailer in an oak grove in Northern California; two of the best years ever. Learned how to plant gardens in pots, and also that deer will eat cotton and linen right off the clothesline … they scorned our tiny lawn, though. It was kept clipped short by the hares.

      Nature is very peculiar, when you find yourself living close to it.

      Are you still flirting with your ex-employer? Through a pseudonym, perhaps?

      Anyway, luck with the hunting! And now, back to work …


      Kathleen kbco.wordpress.com


  2. Tom B. says:

    Trying for a different job with a different branch of the corporation, yes. Same name, same me, potentially a better match for the work needs. My former director told me his IT operation needed no writers – perhaps true, since his people appear unable to read.


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