Having A Good Time In A Bad Place

Kage Baker was possessed of a will of iron, and an adamantine determination. She set her goals and she stuck to them until they were accomplished. Some of them took years to accomplish – but she did it.

One of her tricks was to make her home a fortress. Nothing was allowed in if it upset or distracted her: at least, as much as possible. Not even Kage could hold off reality all the time, but she succeeded a lot more than most of us do. When the fortifications fell, she lit out for the Territories – running, hiding, seeking quiet hidden places in which to do her work. Also her reading, her drinking, her research, and her life in general … she really hated being forced to partake of the world.

I’ve tried to do the same, because it works. Kimberly has given me a place where I can get away with this lifestyle, too, and has been my steadfast doorward for the past 5 years. Without her kindly sheltering me, I’d be living somewhere in Griffith Park in a shanty made of boxes of books, running my computer off a solar cell and leaving out Friskies for the pumas.

But … reality does sneak in. Worse, it’s nothing I acknowledge to be real; it’s outside crap, slithering in like emotional kudzu to block out the light and leach nitrogen from my nurturing soil.

For reasons I do not understand, this 5th year since Kage’s death has been an especially hard one for me, emotionally. I miss her more than I have since the first year. It’s harder than ever to get through a day without something stabbing me in the heart. And the world in general has been handing me burning bags of shit at regular intervals – most of them are only the burning bags of shit the world hands everyone, but enough customized crap has been added to completely blow all my circuit breakers: over and over and over.

I’ve been dumped by old friends, and castigated by relatives. My agent isn’t talking to me. A prior agent isn’t talking to me either, but is attempting to talk for me on the sly. (Anybody have a spare agent they want to give away to a good home?) My cataracts are growing but are not yet correctable: so the world is literally growing darker and blurrier and there is as yet no recourse. I’m cranky, depressed, unproductive and feeling guilty because of being cranky, depressed, and unproductive. It’s a Mobius strip of desolation, drawn in black ink by the dead hand of Escher.

Still, the list of good things in my life is enormous.  I’ve had more successes than I deserve. I have tulips on my desk, hot and cold running kitties, a supportive family and you, Dear Readers. I know all that, but I have this dreadful fear that all the miracles are just barely offsetting the disasters – I’m running as fast as I can to stay in one place, and still I have the dreadful panic terror of the landscape slowly leaving me behind …

Thus my long silence; and thus the use, today, of this blog for a much less important and more mundane purpose than originally intended. I’m just whining and bitching, Dear Readers. I’m throwing my griefs around like a tantrum in a second hand store; before you know it, I’ll be blogging my meals in detailed increments and posting selfies.

Well. Probably not. I have to return a contract to my agent’s assistant for a sale to a publishing house in Italy. And I have to write. And I have a new book on parasites, which suddenly seems to be of dreadful relevance to me. Do I have one? Do I need one?  Am I one?

The answer is probably NO, to all of those questions. I just need more coffee, and a hit of nicotine. My life has always been a 3-pipe problem.

See, I don’t have to stay in the bad place. I’m having a good time. I’ve spent the morning shutting windows, opening doors, patching leaks, packing suitcases – I think I can see the way out of the Slough of Despond and back into that Wood Outside Athens.

Thanks for listening, Dear Readers. See you tomorrow.

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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8 Responses to Having A Good Time In A Bad Place

  1. Tom says:

    Lot of this going around, and it’s like dragging a boat anchor along with a ball-and-chain trying to move forward, isn’t it? Sorry, vieux belle, the world is waaaaaay too much with us sometimes. Perhaps a Peterson System pipe would help.


    • Kate says:

      Peterson pipes are lovely! I have one or two … but my first allegiance goes to the old-fashioned dudeen; the white clay pipe smoked in Ireland and the UK. Both my grandmothers smoked ’em during WWII (when clay pipes were available in pastel glazes for the ladies); my mother and her sister tried them, and I took it up for a character part in my mid-20s. Yes, it’s a bad habit and I have decreased it a great deal – but sometimes, I just need to have a quiet pipe.

      Oddly enough, I detest cigarettes …


  2. mizkizzle says:

    You’ll be amazed by how bright and crisp the world looks after you have your cataracts removed. The only thing is, they might make you watch an absolutely disgusting film about how the operation is done first. I’m fine with blood and innards, but anything involving eye surgery makes me squeamish. Avoid watching the film if at all possible, unless you enjoy that sort of thing.


    • Kate says:

      I gotta admit, I DO like that kind of thing – surgery is fascinating, and I shall enjoy whatever they require me to watch. It’ll be a lot more entertaining than “Blood On The Pavement” or “Reefer Madness”!
      What makes me nuts right now is that when I first open my eyes after sleep, I can see the damned cataracts. Then my eye focus changes and they vanish, but my first impression is always that there is a huge spider on my pillow.


      • mizkizzle says:

        If you can see your cataracts upon arising in the morning, then isn’t it time to have those bad boys removed? Then you’ll have the vision of an exceptionally keen-eyed hawk and you’ll get to watch the fun film.


  3. Kate says:

    To date, my cataracts have not been deemed “ripe” for surgery. But, as a matter of fact, I am seeing my eye doctor on Monday, so perhaps the time has come.


  4. jenfullmoon says:

    Your agent refuses to talk to you? What the fuuuuck? I don’t know jack about agents, but that sounds way unprofessional.

    Anyway, I’m sorry you’re having a shittastic time.


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