Kage Baker, as I have frequently observed, was fond of heat. What she preferred was a dry, moderate heat; mid-90’s, maybe a breeze off the sea, low humidity. The exhalation of the desert, as a dear friend once called it – the particular hot weather that means Southern California to the natives.
Humidity was bad; Kage wilted like a tissue paper rose under a mister. Austin, Texas – where we sojourned a couple of times – appalled her. She said she’d need gills to survive there for more than a few days, and I think that estimate was generous … New Orleans, although a city of delight and amazement, should require habituation training, like climbing Everest – the best thing about the atmosphere there was that it smelled like the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Kage never made it to Florida, but I did – and the only reason I survived was that I stayed on the coast. I know how to survive next to an ocean …
Whether it’s climate change or just weather cycles, the weather has being unusually improvisational these last few years in Los Angeles. We had a dry winter, though it got cold enough for night after night of frost. Frost! In LA! Last week it rained, with thunder and lightning: unheard of in May. We’ve already had several big fires on the hillsides, and the temperature keeps spiking into triple digits from the more normal 70’s.
That last bit is what has largely laid me by my heels, Dear Readers. My internal thermostat has grown eccentric over the years; when it gets over 80, pertinent portions of my central nervous system start breaking down. My feet swell like pallid loaves of Bridgeford bread and my ankles lose all mobility: I walk like a duck because vital joints won’t function. I am enervated and exhausted. I can’t walk more than 10 feet without panting. Which is not nearly as attractive on me as it is on the Corgi. My only hope of survival is to stay indoors with the fans and the AC on, all the curtains drawn, subsisting ascetically on ice water and Fudgesickles … hard times, Dear Readers, hard times.
I am Writer; hear me whine.
However, while I have been lax about blogging, I have been writing. The good people at Tachyon accepted the story (now called “Hollywood Ikons”) on which I have been labouring! A real copy editor is going over the stories – and, joy to relate, it’s an old friend of Kage’s and mine, the inestimable Marty Halpern. He is already going over the older stories. And since I returned the penultimate edit to Tachyon today, that will soon be in his hands as well!
The collection is called (at the moment, anyway) In The Company of Thieves. It will be the host for the first new Company story since Kage died. That sounds weird – although not as weird for something involving Kage Baker as it might sound for other writers
Also, I just received news that Kage Baker is up for a Locus Award, for the posthumous collection “Best of Kage Baker.” Which is grand. I’ll be heading to Seattle with a small entourage at the end of June to bite my nails and see if she makes it. At the very least, it will be a change in weather, which will be divine. As long as we don’t drive through the portions of Washington State where they have Tsunami Warning signs nailed to the trees, or get lost on a military base … both of which we did the last time Kage won a Locus, 3 years ago.
Kage’s spirit was with us. That always makes things interesting. Sometimes you get lost on an Army base – sometimes you finish one of her own stories. Sometimes you drive 1,000 miles never being sure what dimension you are in, or headed to.
Summer fun is here, Dear Readers. Summer fun is definitely here.