Kage Baker, while one of those people who could not read or follow a clock to save her soul, nonetheless had a weirdly accurate innate calender function. I think it was like the directions thing – she couldn’t tell left from right, but she always knew the directions of the compass.
So while she usually interpreted “10 minutes” as closer to half an hour, Kage always knew what day of the week it was (at which I have always been pretty bad …) She knew the seasons, and how long it was to the next major holiday, and how many weekend we had at liberty before some fair or other completely ate our free time. That was always pretty much a surprise to me.
So I am somewhat appalled to discover it’s October 30th. My personal sense of time passing tells me it’s, like, somewhere around the 18th – but no, it’s only one day before Halloween. Which means it’s only two days before it’s time to change the outside lights from orange to red and gold, and to replace the bat garland with the autumn leaves one.
In only three days, I’ll be leaving on the first of the North-bound Dickens drives. In only four days, Dickens rehearsals start, and the long, tinselled mania of Extreme Christmas begins to build momentum. And in only five days, I’ll be making the first drive home through the night-bound dimension of I-5, and beginning the Season of Never Having Enough Sleep or Time To Do All My Laundry …
Also, in 4 days I am attending a wedding – huzzah! But … will the outfit I ordered arrive here in time? Will the wedding present arrive there in time? What vital portion of my gear will I forget to bring this first weekend? How soon will my dear and urgently clever Kelly be shipped off to New York in her role as insurance relief field agent? (She goes to all the big disasters … and we miss her dreadfully.)
I should have realized all this was on the way; even the hurricane, because it was obvious Sandy-cleanup was going to require our Kelly days ago. And I’d have been better prepared, if I’d known what day it was. The lack of Kage continues to blindside me at the oddest times.
On top of all this, midnight on October 31st marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo. This is a lovely stretch of insanity whereby one writes a novel (or 50,000 words, whichever happens first) during the month of November. Traditionally, one begins at the very first moment of November 1st – hence, one starts in a drift of Halloween candy, guttering candles, lit pumpkins and such like otherworldly accoutrements. It’s really a grand time, and I’ve done it before; this year, I have several friends doing it at the same time, and it should be wonderful. Last time, I made my 50,000 words but it turned out to be only 2/3 of a novel – this year, I am going to finish the last third.
But, man, it’s gonna be a busy November. By the first week or so I will be running on auto-pilot, and things will be easier to handle: you reach a certain pitch of creative dementia, and the sheer magnitude of 24/7 creativity carries you along for quite a ways. But these next 5 days are gonna be pretty wild.
Still: this is the time of year to get caught up in mania and celebratory madness; the season for phantoms and walking dreams, and the old, cold gods knocking at the front door and asking for a hot drink.One of the most dreadful lacks in my post-Kage life has been losing the rushing high tide of magic that kept pace with her. This time of year, it comes pouring back in and everything is brighter and darker, hotter and colder, larger and louder than the rest of the year.
And I can hardly wait.