Resuming A Skin

Kage Baker did not like change. She didn’t approve of most of the change she was obliged to experience, and whenever possible she refused to participate in it.

She spent a lot of time online, finding pieces of her life that had gone missing through the careless years. Lost candies, exotic foods, eccentric pastimes – EBay was only the first stop for Kage, who would spend days tracking down some fondly remembered portion of her childhood or adolescence. Amazingly, she found most of what she sought. The internet was made for people with good memories, determination, and a touch of OCD – almost nothing can hide from them.

By the time she died, our house and habits were rich with things Kage had lost, but never reconciled herself to leaving behind. She also stocked her life with things she had desired, but never attained: some of which had not yet existed when she was 8 or 10 or 14, but that had been embodied sometime since. Forgotten books, old movies, even an original game of Cooties! with the good old horrifying bugs instead of the modern cutesie ones.

The children of our acquaintance loved that. But we played it even when no children were around.

Kage said she forced them into being; or that a kindly deity did it, in sympathy for her desires. And maybe she/he/it/them did. I do know that whenever we moved – to a new house or apartment or even city – Kage always found exactly what we needed. It was usually a place she passed on the street, then went back for when the necessity arose: and nailed it. I don’t know anyone else who has managed this trick. I benefited enormously from it, too.

But I did learn that persistence always pays off in some way, if you can just keep it up long enough. Also, returning to some habit of the past can be astonishingly rewarding. My skills in this area have been most successful in finding dear old foodstuffs that have gone MIA; but being able to lay my hands on weird sodas, rare spices and reportedly-extinct sauces has been a comfort to everyone in my household.

The last eight years have been a horror of change, loss and alteration for me. I have soldiered stubbornly on, telling myself that – like Samwise Gamgee – I could do without hope as long as I could avoid despair. Sadly for that tactic, despair is apparently smarter than I am, and can certainly hold its breath longer … I’ve lost Kage, then a string of vital organs, several important hormones,then an agent; and more friends than I intend to count. Dickens Fair is closed to me; temporarily, I hope, and I mean to get it back if my health allows.

My hair refuses to go decently grey. (Yeah, that bothers what’s left of my vanity.)  My face has pretty much resisted most wrinkles, but everywhere else I am withering into an apple doll: I suddenly have the hands of a crone. My feet are going numb. My breath has flown away with the extinct California parakeet, and evidently intends never to return; my heart is full of metal, my veins are full of clots.

No cholesterol, though.And  I passed my 5-year anniversary for lack of cancer. There am I happy! I have gotten 6,000+ words in so far on this year’s NaNoWriMo. I continue to maintain this blog. I’ve discovered that there are decent candy bars with no more carbs than a slice of toast. Tomorrow, I am going to write a stern letter to me agent – all right, a pleading, abject letter – and ask her why she never writes to me anymore and are my stories still alive?

I am trying with all my might and main, Dear Readers, to draw the tattered remnants of past skins around me, and resume the habiliments of joy. ‘Tis the season, I think. And if it’s not, I’ll wait until it is, and loose all this stored-up joy on it at once. Winter is not death.

Kage believed that nothing really died, anyway. So will I.

REAL Cooties

FAKE Cooties


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 Resuming A Skin

  1. buggybite says:

    Fake cooties? Oh, dear. They are disgustingly twee, aren’t they? Give me the clean-lined expressionless ones from my own childhood, please.

    I was always amazed that, in our house, where ‘parts’ of toys always went missing, our cootie parts never did. We always had four full cooties, probosci, legs, eyes, antennae and all. And we played with them all the time. Our favourite game, till we discovered Parcheesi.


  2. Medrith says:

    I got fake cooties for my younger grandson. We would play until we got them put together, give them names, then act out goofy stories with them. A lot of these stories involved the cooties attacking Richie’s bear, Bear Bear, who would then slaughter and eat them.


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