Kage Baker always said that she enjoyed Faire partly because it was where she recharged her batteries as a writer. Ideas. characters, plot, landscapes, insane problems and demented solutions – Faire handed them all to her on a plate. All she had to do was file off the serial numbers and polish out a few dents …
Of course, it was a lot more complicated than that. Stories need to make rather more sense than days at either Renaissance or Dickens Fair, where unreality is king, fantasy is queen, and we all cling so hard to eccentric authenticity that the result might as well be an opium dream for the average customer. We work hard at what we do. It wears us out.
Kage survived to tell another tale while doing this because she did not drive – the ride home could be spent in a boneless doze, sorting through the images in memory. She rarely worked the Bar (though she was one hell of a fine bartender) and seldom waited tables – we found that her black-eyed glare at those guilty of making a mess on her nice clean table cloths was bad for business. And she didn’t play the Innkeeper – that was me; she wrote me into that position, carefully tailored the role for me and sat back to let it run on its own for 30-odd years. And then Kage wrote about what it presented her.
The only problem this has left is that – while I am still running on her script of the Innkeeper – I am also still doing the driving, bouncing, table setting, table clearing, wrestling with beer suppliers and tap supplies and ice deliveries and drunken customers and under or over enthusiastic actors … plus doing the writing.
This last weekend was our Opening. It was grand, Dear Readers, and I do hope some of you make it out to see us in the Cow Palace. But it was three days of total immersion insanity, with a thin lacing of dementia and lightly glazed with hot and cold running hallucinations … and I left it Sunday night falling down tired.
I’ve spent the last two night sleeping round the clock. I spend the days wading through the cubic tons of laundry produced by a weekend at Fair (bar towels don’t wash themselves, you know) and trying to manage some of the exigencies of real life – like, you know, eating meals and knitting and getting gas in the car …
So bear with me, Dear Readers. I have at least made my way back to this, our little story-telling corner, and I shall regale you with tales of life in the eternal tinselled twilight of Dickens Faire. Stories of how my gloves ate my fingers; of Harry the Parrot’s all girl fan club; of the characters in Dickens’ stories wandering through my Parlour in search of food, drink, aspirin and band-aides … tales of absinthe and rum sauce and beer.
But tonight I am just too tired. One more night of uninterrupted sleep and I shall be fine!
Until tomorrow, Dear Readers. May visions of sugar plums dance in your heads – a nice mazourka polka, maybe, or the venerable Sir Roger de Coverly.