And The New Year Rolls On

Kage Baker, believing as she firmly did that any good thing was worth over-doing, actually observed several New Years during a single calendar span.

There was the birthday year, of course. That diminished a little in importance with every annular marker past childhood. On the other hand, celebrations usually lasted a week, so as to get everything in. Kage liked to mark them with chara trips.

There was the deep-dyed-in-your-chromosomes seasonal New Year – usually noticed around April, when in Southern California Spring finally wins its battle with Winter; up until then, it might yet rain for a month and wash little towns away. It’s done it before.

Then there was the astronomical New Year, which she considered began at the Winter Solstice. The Longest Night, the Shortest Day – then it was off on the merry-go-round once more.

There was the classical New Year in January, of course. Kage was apt to comment, though, that this was only the recent, Justinian version; if one needed extra time, one could default to the old Gregorian calendar. She liked options.

Kage never got the school year out of her system, not after “12 years in the navy blue, aaaar”: as she put it. The neat thing about the school year is that it has two New Years. The first was in September, when one was compelled back into blue uniforms, 5-pound saddle shoes and stuffy classrooms. That one was only redeemed by new crayons, new books, and the immediate proximity of the winter holidays. The second New Year, of course, was in June – when all the horizons of the earth expanded to infinity in one deep, gold-rimmed breath, and Summer came.

There were fiscal years, only noted because the IRS got stinky about self-employment tax payments. There was the New Year of royalties, which is usually in March – except in lean years, when it begins and ends with some piddling amount in December. There was the New Year of beginning a new book; and that one could start anywhere, on no notice whatsoever, and then twist and telescope itself into weird, non-Euclidian geometry.

And there was Samhain, the Celtic New Year. That one fit neatly into the celebrations for Halloween; in our household it was a three-day festival, marked with feasts, honouring the dead, and running around in the dark with pockets full of chocolate. That last bit was imperative even as grownups. In fact, maybe more so – it was grownups, said Kage, who could really benefit by a nocturnal stroll by the sounding sea, eating Snickers bars by moonlight and the eldritch green algae-glow of the waves.

I still keep most of these observances. Even the school year, which has been recently reinforced by moving into Kimberly’s household, full of teachers, ex-teachers, and teachers yet-to-come. But for me, in these strange days – half epilogue, half new life – the year begins on January 31st. Each new year of my life will begin on that day.

This lets me off the hook, too, for falling into a slough of exhaustion post January 1st. Freezing cold, flue shot reactions and all the other detritus of last year have knocked me flat on my ass the last three weeks. My deepest apologies, Dear Readers. My newest New Year is now upon the horizon and I will return to Do-Bee industry.

This coming January 31st – first day of, as Hallmark cards so annoyingly insist, the rest of my life – I shall celebrate by recovering from a little out-patient surgery, and carrying the phone with me from room to room. I’ll be waiting for the results of the needle biopsy scheduled for January 30th, which is being done to determine the exact nature of the weird little spots in my left breast, that showed up on my recent mammogram. They showed up even better on the more detailed one done today; hence, the biopsy.

I intend to blog my way through this, Dear Readers, with the enthusiasm due the New Year. I shall once more be venturing into the aquarium-haunted environs of Cedar-Sinai, where who knows what adventures await? Odds are this whole current mess is a false alarm, and I shall emerge scatheless. But there are bound  to be some giggles and good stories along the way ….

And in the meantime: hey, whadda ya think of Nell Gwynne II?

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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9 Responses to And The New Year Rolls On

  1. Lynn says:

    I will drink a drink and pray a prayer tonight for false alarums.

    In the meantime, I loved Nell Gwynne II. While I read it, Terry read NG I and will have NG II tonight while Wonderful Boyfriend works this evening. I kept hearing your voice, then Kage’s, then yours again telling the story. Thank you, thank you! I have #18 signed copy; I’m so excited!


  2. Sue says:

    I’d love to tell you, but I’m still waiting for my copy, ordered through Barnes and Noble, ordered back in August. Sigh. Patience, I am exercising patience.

    I had one of those needle biopsies some years go, and the results were – nothing to worry about. I’ll say a prayer for the same resutls for you.


  3. Tom B. says:

    I’ll be warming up the prayer wheels again, just in time for another run of the Daytona 24 Hours.


  4. Mike Young says:

    I have yet to see the new Nell Gwynne but I just called Borderland Books and the have just opened the box with them and are holding a copy for me. Happy Dance, Happy Dance, Happy Dance.
    A small rum libation shall be lifted to the odd Gods of the Galaxy to ensure a false alarm.

    Thanks again for your support at the start of this New Year.
    Hugs to you dear writer.


  5. Love Nell Gwynne II. Got signed edition # 45. I let my darling wife read it first, but loved it when it was my turn. Please ,Mother, may we have another?


  6. johnbrownson says:

    Ah, the Pagan Dilemma: when DOES the year start, anyway? Given the fact that there is, as the saying goes, no end to The Circle, nor any beginning, either, it pretty much boils down to whatever a body wants. As you know, Kate, the Winter Solstice is my choice, but an argument (not that it’s anything to argue about) can be made for Imbolc or Beltaine. September is certainly a sentimental choice, evoking, as it does, the smell of Crayolas and freshly sharpened pencils, but I can’t quite see the logic (not that there’s much logic to any of it) of setting the winding down of things as a beginning- except, maybe, the beginning of the end of the year. Seems perverse, to me but, then, most of my friends are perverse, in one way or another, and it’s probably too late to do anything about that, even if I wanted to.


  7. Thoroughly enjoyed NGII! Wonderful, spot on and a jolly good romp!
    Hoping for all the best for you in this New Year.


  8. Jane says:

    Will think good thoughts – you got through the diagnostic exray which I found the worst. I went through this in Jan last year, and while the experience has more of the ludicrous to it, taking valium and cough suppresents got me through. I go for more exrays and ultra sounds every 6 months to keep a watchful eye, but all is negative. Hope it’s no more than that for you too. And may you have a calm, helpful RN running the show! Have masses of soft gel freezer paks on standby…


  9. Allison says:

    Just received Nell Gwynne’s On Land and at Sea in the mail today. #400. It is a gorgeous looking book. Great dust jacket! Nicely made book with pretty pretty purple end papers. Lovely inside, really wonderful illustrations. Looks very handsome sitting next to Not Less Than Gods. Started tonight late, and am completely captivated. Charmed. Laughed out loud at the seagull divebombing the hat. Enjoying this tremendously, so far. Sweet dedication to your sister Kage, made me sad but very proud of your work here…. what talent, you two.


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