Kage Baker was a superstitious person. It was a deliberate cultural choice on her part. I think the trappings appealed to her aesthetically. Also, she felt superstition was a way to influence inevitable fortune. It was a thumb on the scales of Fate.
So was religion, in Kage’s opinion. But superstition paid off more frequently and dependably.
So she had lucky clothes, and special rituals that had to be followed when the sun rose a certain colour, or the salt spilled, or it was time to start a new story; when specific birds were seen, when a payment came in, when an orange or a bear or a white horse or a classic car appeared by the road. Also, you could never put a hat on the bed, which was the one I forgot most consistently – now, I can’t ever put a hat on a bed without hearing Kage swear at me and imagine her snatching it up and throwing it …
Did she actually mean any of these things? I have no idea, Dear Readers. Honestly, I just never figured it out for certain sure. The fact that all these rites and rituals so obviously amused as well as soothed Kage left me forever puzzled about what she really believed. Discerning her motivation was also rendered difficult by her vigorous enjoyment of her mild OCD – are people supposed to enjoy that? Kage would say it depended on how they permitted it to manifest.
And after all, if it helps you win the poker game to wear green socks or turn your hat backwards: bring on the green socks and twirl that hat, you know?
Anyway, though I am as given to personal habits as any other person, most of them have been due to laziness or appetite. I do things because I’m too slothful to change my routine, or because it feels good. Since I have begun trying to write on specific topics at specific times, at specific lengths and for specific reasons … I’ve grown more inclined to ritual garments and the propitiation of Fate. It soothes me, now, too. (And somewhere, Kage is laughing her ass off.)
Thus, I have my writing hat. I got the idea from author Maggie Secara, who favours a writing tiara; I went instead for a tasseled smoking cap. And it works – I put it on, I write.
Recently, a friend of mine opened an Etsy shop, with (among other lovelinesses) wonderful necklaces with vintage bits and semi-precious stones. One with a snake goddess and oodles of amber caught me in its gravitation pull, and I acquired it yestreday:
I cannot recommend this lady’s work highly enough. Not only is it beautiful in its own right, she mailed it to me with all sorts of nifty little toys and playthings in the package. But best of all is the fact that it works!
I thought all night about the story I outlined in yestreday’s post; in my sleep, as I often do. (This may be the legacy of 12 years of intense parochial education, wherein one was often asleep in a pew. Kage did it too.) This morning I awoke with the clear image in my mind and most of the dialogue. Two hours later, a bit of flash fiction (story less than 1,000 words) was completed. Two more hours polishing and it had been submitted. Whoo hoo!
As always, it may come to nothing. I am dancing with glee because I wrote the damned thing and sent it off! Completing even something tiny is a huge joy. It’s also the first short short story I’ve ever managed. I am usually the Queen of Verbosity.
So now, my necklace has become vitally necessary. It will live on my desk, in the exquisite copper-embossed black velvet bag in which it arrived. I will wear it when I write – around my throat, pinned to my bodice, arranged on my hat with the Serpent Goddess front and center like the Crown of the Two Lands. Because it’s a generous handful of amber with the Goddess on it. And because it works.
Now Kimberly wants me to get writing slippers – I think she has a certain commendable concern for my feet, in our household full of model parts, sewing pins and Corgis with dwarf boots for feet … but I suspect she also wants me to get pointy-toed slippers just for the fun of it. Which is also cool.
When/if the story sells, I will dance the Dance of Inordinate Glee in them. Disaba, dingir!