Slogging Through the Slough

Kage Baker didn’t have depression. Oh, she could get depressed – everyone can; everyone does. But she didn’t experience depression as a clinical pathology.

I do. It has made parts of my life extremely weird. Depression, as is well known to those who do end up exploring its shadowed vistas, is not just the grey murk intimated by all those commercials for anti-despressants – especially the ones where the victim’s depression is a sort of blue Schmoo that toddles around after them …  Abilify, that’s the crap they’re peddling in that one. Those commercial crack me up and enrage me, all at once.

Depression isn’t cute, and it’s not just a flat effect, either. It isn’t numbness. It isn’t sadness. It isn’t laziness. It isn’t anger. It isn’t pain. It includes all of those things, but hey – so does the rest of life. Depression, from the inside (at least, from inside mine) is all the dark feelings of life cranked up to the max and with the OFF switch disabled. You can function, but not well. And not for very long at a time.

Mine is caused mostly by a serotonin malfunction in my brain. Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors therefore work pretty well for me. But anti-depressants aren’t happy pills: not tranquilizers or euphoriacs. I can get depressed by ordinary things just like a normal person, as well as because my neurotranmitters are being eccentric. So, sometimes, I just can’t win …

My writing holiday in Pacific Grove was a delight and a triumph. Then I came home. I went through all the fun and excitement of the biopsy scare, and seasonal colds, and what might be a flu I wasn’t immunized against; and all the other petty annoyances to which flesh is not only heir, but a freaking collaborator. I’m tired and cranky, and I cannot write, and I miss Kage dreadfully right now. Missing her so badly comes and goes. Right now, it seems to have settled down with every intention of home-steading.

I’ve slipped off the coping of the Slough of Despond. I’m only writing this because Kimberly nobly nagged me to do it.

I’m hoping the act of crouching over my keyboard, fanning the tiny flame of creativity, will result in a nice warming conflagration. Sort of by habit, you know? At least, maybe I can manage to hack a few more sentences out of the yet-unsculpted clay of my inspiration. Such as it is.

Back to the slog.

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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11 Responses to Slogging Through the Slough

  1. djhamouris says:

    You are doing the practice. Bad practice is better than no practice. Acting “as if” can move the sludge around, at least. Good for you, Kathleen.


  2. Becky says:

    Yeah, I echo DJs comment. Practice, practice, practice! Maybe while you’re going through the motions the corgi or the parrot or the cat will do something insanely funny. Pets are somewhat helpful when one is so terribly down. Hey, I’ll jump up on my table and put a lampshade on my head to help cheer you up. Oh, wait, that’s not insanely funny, it’s been done in a thousand variation by others we know. Hrumph…


    • Kate says:

      Becky – that’s all right; I find lampshades on heads kind of funny. But something that never fails to cheer me is memories of you in the Innyard. All the Pinky and the Bean jokes, for one thing. And remember eating Jelly Belly beans in the dark, and trying to identify the flavours when we couldn’t see the beans? Man, that still makes me laugh!


  3. Miz Kizzle says:

    I hear ya. Those stupid commercials for pills that are supposed to turn that frown upside down piss me off, too. People who don’t have depression have no idea, NO IDEA how much it sucks. They’re like the idiots who say migraines are “just a headache.”
    Bad brain wiring is no fun. I plan to complain to the manufacturer at some point in the (hopefully) distant future.
    On the plus side, people with depression often have a great sense of humor. Many well-known comedians have been diagnosed with clinical depression. I suppose that’s because they appreciate that life is a farce.
    Does it cheer you to know that Richard III’s remains were found under a car park?


    • Kate says:

      Actually, I’m pleased as all get out that Richard’s remains were found at all. Despite his crimes, real and imagined, he was a better King that the previous 2 Richards. What really flabbergasted (and delighted me) was that the verbal history, long dismissed, turns out to have so much information correctly retained. He *was* buried at Grey Friars, he had wounds that matched the stories, and he really did have a quite pronounced spinal deformation. Which absolves Shakespeare of writing pure propaganda, and instead leaves him having created one of his greatest characters out of actual folk history. That is just so cool!

      But, yeah – it’s the loopiness of life that general saves me from depressive intervals. One simply must laugh.



      • Miz Kizzle says:

        Shakespeare had to make Richard out to be a baddie to stay on Liz Tudor’s good side. Richard III had scoliosis, which would have made one of his shoulders higher than the other, but he wasn’t a hunchback. You know what else is cool? You can buy Vandemecum toothpaste, the brand James Bond used, online. That means you can brush your teeth with Mister Bond’s toothpaste while humming the theme to Goldfinger.


  4. Kate says:

    Have you seen the photos of Richard’s skeleton? The spinal distortion – which extends well through the rib cage and probably into the pelvic attachment – is marked. And it’s not due to distortion in the grave; those are old distortions, deep in the bone. It may well have produced a hunch back, and certainly would have produced the uneven gait so intrinsic to Olivier’s performance. Richard lurched. He must have. Born after a two-year gestation, with shoulder-length hair and teeth? Nope. But a crooked profile and a hitching gait? Almost certainly. And it’s a testament to his stubbornness and self-discipline that he was known as a fell fighter despite what had to have been a wildly personalized fighting style.

    And he is STILL one of the best characters in Shakespeare’s plays. He gets all the best lines.


    • Miz Kizzle says:

      Yes, I saw pics of Richard III’s skeleton. He had scoliosis, in which the spine curves to the side in an S-shape. He didn’t have kyposis, which produces a hump. Scoliosis and I are old buddies. (I’m REALLY going to have to complain to the manufacturer about these design flaws.) It was while I was recovering from surgery to have my spine straightened and shorn up with titanium wedges and screws that I read The Garden of Iden and the rest of the Company series. You might say I had a small taste of what the Operatives went through.


  5. Allison says:

    Uh oh….that might have gone into the drink. Hope pirate joke posts later, or I will retry


  6. Allison says:

    One more time…
    What’s a pirates favorite letter?
    R you think? Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
    But it’s the C they love.


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