Kage Baker always said, if she could sit up – she could write. And that she used as the rule of her life, until the last year of it. Then she discovered that even if she couldn’t sit, writing was still within her reach. She wrote on the little keyboard of her Buke until she couldn’t manage it; after that, she simply dictated.
She dictated her work for 4 or 5 months, ultimately. And it worked, too. Pages and pages of notes and scraps, of course, that are stored for eventual incorporation into new stories – but also literal dictation, from her lips to the computer screen via my fingers. The years of brain-storming were useful yet again: she already had the habit of verbal storytelling, and was able to recite line after line with ease.
I can’t do that. Not yet. Bits of lines show up new-forged and complete in my emails and in my conversation – I am an irrepressible improvisor – but then I have to pry them out of the conversational matrix into which they were born, and transpose them into a storyline. And for that, I do need to be able to sit up. The dance between my hands and the keyboard is the impetus I need, the sensation that sets off the creative flood.
I have been a bit unwell the last couple of days, which has interfered seriously with sitting up. I’m getting used to diabetes, which entails fussing more over meals that I like: the days of carefree fasting, or living on bagels and cream cheese, or making a swift lunch off gummy Life Savers … alas, such youthful insanities are past me now. I find it necessary to make sure I eat at regular intervals, and in sensible amounts, and a lot of things that take more effort to prepare than a handful of raisins and digestive biscuits. When I ignore these rules, my body makes it wrath known at once – which is unpleasant, time consuming, and not conducive to creativity.
Then yestreday I had an appointment with my cardiologist. Good news – my heart is working. Bad news – my veins are too narrow, and my heart doesn’t empty completely. Its down-stroke is defective, I suppose; it fills well, but then the lees of every heart beat stay behind, sloshing round in the chambers of my heart.
There’s a nice metaphor here – my heart does not empty, it clings to what fills it – but under the romantic word play is the fact that it means I am always running short on oxygen. And my blood pressure tends to bottom out; after a life time of high blood pressure caused by eccentric kidneys, the kidneys are finally under control and now my circulatory system is running on perpetual low … there ain’t no justice.
And I can still catch a stomach bug and get heat sick. Which is what I’ve been doing the last couple of days. I just can’t buy this – if I’m fighting off big problems, the little crap ought to sit this out! I shouldn’t be susceptible to heat and gastroenteritis! But Fate feels differently about it, and so I have been laying about uselessly swooning.
Maybe I can get accustomed to using something like Dragon … recite composition to my computer while I loll about like a gutted rag doll. Then all I’ll have to do is go through afterwards and remove the background noise … the Corgi singing. The washer playing The Bear Went Over The Mountains when the cycle ends. The cats having velvet slipper fights under my desk (Paff! Paff! Paff!). Harry talking right along with me, word for word and syllable for syllable, in English-cadenced gibberish that lasts just as long as every sentence I speak. It’s enough to make one go sit in a Starbucks and work on a screenplay. Almost.
Though not even Kage ever resorted to that …