Writers Never Forget

Kage Baker was as susceptible to Spring fever as anyone else. She was just as likely to stare a soft silver spring day in the eye and surrender at 50 years old, as she had been at a dreamy 15. The difference was that she wrote more around episodes of Spring Fever at 50 that at 15 – though even then, she did indeed write.

Not me, at least not today. I have been lazing about reading and tending to correspondence, and just in general being boneless.

Though regarding correspondence – those were some interesting comments about the big blonde thugs from the Ephesian Church in Empress of Mars. I had to double-check the Mitfords myself, as I had (perhaps understandably) put them out of mind.

And yeah, the Mitfords were a piece of work. There was an inexplicable (but loud) minority of Nazi-enthusiasts among the British aristocracy in the 1930’s – one of which was the Prince of Wales and subsequently the King. Which was awkward. And it was one of the main reasons Elizabeth II’s dad George got the throne, when his elder brother King Edward was more or less politely told to take his American divorcee and go far, far away. So as badly as some of the Windsors have behaved recently, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

Fascinating as the Mitfords are, though, they weren’t the inspiration for the Goddess’s enforcers: who are, after all, a type. Even a stereotype, except that they really happened, unfortunately. No, those big blonde bullies were drawn from life – Kage’s and mine, long ago in our adolescence. Recall, Dear Readers, that we went to an all-girls’ high school: Immaculate Heart High School, a bastion of clever young women. However, not every girl who went there was clever; some got in because of endowments, being legacies, having rich parents – and to keep the alumni happy, even IHHS fronted sports teams.

The girls of the GAA – The Girls Athletic  Association – were the models for the Ephesian storm troops. The girls who played sports were universally large, broad, loud, and usually blonde. They all wore white socks that were too short on their thick sun-burned athletic legs, and both bit and painted their nails. They were jocks – and if you think jocks don’t come in a female morph, you are so, so wrong. They were the ones tagged as hall monitors and crowd control at school events; they were the local muscle, the pony-tailed gunsels, thoughtlessly pious and conservative, invariably trustees  in the amiable battle between the teachers and the students.

And like all jocks, they detested the brains and nerds. Kage and I were brains; I was a nerd, though she was too peculiar even for that label … she was also shy and usually in another dimension, so she was natural prey for the goons of the GAA. She was always getting braced in the halls for loitering, or being late, or fumbling with her locker, or putting her books down for a moment where she shouldn’t: pink tickets resulted, which had to be explained later to the Vice-Principal. And the GAA bullies were rude and mean, and Kage got tongue-tied easily, and I wasn’t usually to hand to be embarrassingly rabid in defense, and so she was inevitably victimized.

You know that saying about being rude to writers? That if you are, you may end up in a novel? Well, it’s absolutely true. The entire GAA – teenaged Valkyries with Passion Pink toenails and the social grace of rabid Rottweilers – was remembered and immortalized by Kage in Empress of Mars. Where they were also tragically targeted by the protective spirit of Mars, and vaporized by his stony wrath.

Don’t mess with writers, even in their inarticulate youth. Or the the beloveds of gods, either.

Because, you know – SPLATT.

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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2 Responses to Writers Never Forget

  1. kathy allen says:

    My gracious, I never knew that Kage was picked on by the powers that be. I hadn’t even connected the fact that yes, most of the girls who did traffic control in the halls did in fact wear their class numbers or varsity letter and so cool White Sweaters while on the lookout for illicit chewing gum. I think I was a Brain, but an oblivious brain, and I couldn’t chew gum anyway because it would stick up my braces. Also, having been much more bullied in grade school, IHHS seemed the height of safety to me. I guess it was the feral thing that happens inside seagulls, that if you put a ribbon on one, the others tear it to pieces. I guess Kage’s cream and red scarf tweaked something like that in the long ago cloistered halls. One hopes that the perps have repented.


    • Kate says:

      Oh, it wasn’t the Powers That Be – just the GAA. And I must agree, those white sweaters were cool. But some of them did indeed pick on girls who looked lost or confused or shy – and Kage was often all three. You’re cheerful obliviousness would have made you invisible to them. I think the fact that I was often poker-faced or scowly probably protected me – and anyway, I was argumentative and a smart ass. Remember Sister Callista?


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