Kage Baker always sort of shrugged off September.
In our day, of course, it began with the last precious days of summer vacation – then, across the yawning and demon-haunted abyss of Labour Day, school began. That pretty much soured the entire month for Kage. No amount of new lunch pails, pencil boxes or coloured pens could ever reconcile her to the return to school. Especially since we wore wool uniforms, and saddle oxfords as heavily confining as shackles; we always went back in a heat wave, too.
Kage shambled back like a zombie. And she stayed that way for the duration of September.
But September does finally wear away, and by its end it’s usually recognizably Autumn. Leaves are turning, the air is clear, the heat is being defeated, and …AND! October is next!
Kage loved October. It’s the month of bonfires and Halloween, chocolates and monsters. The seasonal candy alone could have sent her over the edge in delighted delirium – candy corn! Wax bottles and oranges and skulls full of deadly sweet sugar syrup! Chocolate-shelled pumpkins with orange-flavoured marshmallow fillings! As October finally hove on the horizon, hull down and warping for land, Kage emerged from her September ennui and went straight into a sugar-fueled frenzy.
I’m remembering her full face-about particularly today, because my September has been pretty much a dead loss. The heat has kept me pent indoors most days, until after dark: and even when I revived after sunset, I’ve been a wrung-out rag as far as energy goes. I’ve read a lot, I’ve slept a lot but at weird hours out of synch with my household, I’ve discovered that the real reason for 700 TV channels is to improve your chances of finding something to watch at 3 in the morning.
(It’s no guarantee, mind you. We’ve got 700 channels but 699 of them are usually showing crap. Half of those are all showing the same crap. Shows on Nazis, aliens and deadly animals predominate. If something interesting is broadcast, it turns out ultimately to have been destroyed by Nazis, accomplished by space aliens, or eaten by something from Australia. Endless footage of tanks. Or trenches. Or tanks in trenches… on fire. DIY Mothballs. The History of Granite.)
But back to my point, such as it is. September, which I usually enjoy, has instead lived up to all Kage’s worst expectations. It’s been too hot. I am not adapting to humidity. Most of the news from the world has been vile. I have been writing at a glacial pace, on days when I can write at all – mostly, I’ve been reading. I thought a new Steven King would be out this month, but I screwed up the date and it won’t be out until November! I am a desperate addict …
So to assuage my reading jones, I’ve been re-reading King novels. It’s effective, because it takes even me a couple of days to get through one of those humungous tomes – on the other hand, it is not conducive to peaceful sleep. On the other other hand, Mr. King’s stories do offset the everyday horrors of the world capering and gibbering on the news – as I have observed before, things may be bad but at least there are no vampires in my cellar. The zombie apocalypse has not downloaded on to my cell phone. My car is not possessed.
My problems have been small, really. There were 73 (!!!) pieces of spam on this blog this morning – all of which questioned either the length of my penis or my marketing strategy on this blog. Having no stake in either of these problems, the spam was easy to dismiss.
The story I submitted to F&SF was, alas, rejected yestreday – but I got a personal note from the editor telling me why, which is the best kind of rejection notice to get. I was able to make some changes and send it out again to another magazine today – back on the horse!
And I also learned that “Pareidolia” will appear in the March 2015 issue of Asimov’s. So there’s that, Dear Readers: I know when it is coming. I got the contract, and everything.
And tomorrow is, at last, October, decked with coloured lights and blazing leaves, sanctified with the incense of burnt sugar and pumpkins. The month of spirits and candy overload. Not to mention the run up to National Novel Writing Month beginning at midnight on November 1st, which will give me something to do with those nights when I can’t sleep. I need to prepare.
I need candy corn and Halloween Peeps. I need Russell Stover marshmallow pumpkins. I need to get my notes together and ready. It’s all right to feel sorry for yourself in September, but – October is another month entirely. Time to get back to work.