Kage Baker seldom explained herself.
In part that was because she seldom felt that she needed to explain anything. She was a very private person, and abhorred drawing attention to herself – she always felt that being noticed was an imposition on her privacy. Being invisible, she said, was always the most elegant fashion choice.
So if you witnessed something you didn’t understand, you probably weren’t meant to see it. And if you were meant to see it, Kage would have put it in a book or done it at a convention. Those were the times and places where she was officially Visible, and her actions invited analysis and required explanation. Some of the time, anyway. It was only the week before her cancer surgery that she consented to reveal to the world that she was ill at all: and that was mostly because she spent her final Convention in a wheel chair, and felt she ought to explain our roaring madly about the halls at full speed …
I know for certain that some folks didn’t figure it out, what with the laughing and carrying on and side-swiping doorjambs and Kage majestically flinging Halloween chocolate to all and sundry as we ran around. Those folks were very surprised when she died three months later. But Kage felt she’d explained all she needed to back in October …
Of course, part of her not explaining was that she could leave it to me. That was part of my responsibility in the Writing Enterprise of Kage Baker. But Kage took it on herself to explain to Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego, the time she was scheduled to do a signing and never showed up … she confused the date and we were off adventuring out of reach of all phones while people from the Mexican border to the Canadian one, and from West Coast to East Coast, exchanged frantic phone calls. We got back to Pismo Beach in the middle of the night to find a note from the Pismo Beach Police Department pinned to our door: Call Your Agent. She Doesn’t Know Where You Are.
Mucho hysteria, mucho apologies, mucho penitential boxes of doughnuts taken to the Police Department. Kage apologized to Mysterious Galaxy for the rest of her life, and many readers got a giggle out of the entire incident. I did, too.
And now: what a lot of new responsibilities are mine, and what bizarre things are getting in the way of my achieving them! I didn’t expect my health to collapse when Kage died – I figured a lot of things would happen, but not that – and so I’ve been fighting all sorts of odd impediments these last almost 4 years. I still tend to be awake all night and sleep all day, which is not convenient; I have the stamina of a wet Kleenex. My heart is being annoying. Diabetes has handed me a whole new universe of Brand! New! Problems!, all of which impact trying to write. Old friends keep dying.
Right now … I’m supposed to go see my doctor for mandatory flu shots and a weird pain in my leg. My blood sugar refuses to stabilize. I sleep too much and at the wrong times. I have Dickens Fair rehearsals beginning next weekend, and National Novel Writing Month beginning 2 days before that. Halloween is in a week, and I can’t have candy. I have a new Dan Simmons book, but I’m supposed to be doing research on the Tharsis Bulge and the Eselene Indians. And I am not being regular at all, Dear Readers, with this blog. Now you know why. Sort of.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! – as we used to sing out in three-part harmony from the loft, while the priest and altar boys prostrated themselves on the sacristy carpet. I always felt like an avenging angel, smugly calling for repentance from on high.
Not nearly so much fun when it’s you who are pushing that culpable max, though. But in a day or six, that Night of All Souls will be upon us, and I can abandon the religious memories of childhood for some other, more topical faith. My Celtic ancestors celebrated the New Year at this time; they lit lights and wore masks to confuse the angry dead, and offered goodies to the rest to start over again in blessing and plenty.
Farewell to guilt, then, and welcome in you newest year of sacred nights! That’s all the explanation I need to give or get.