And Back Again

Kage Baker blessedly lacked a few of the classic problems of the writer. She seldom got writer’s block, and never for very long. She was seldom depressed. She dodged, resisted and/or ignored comments from her audience, and thus was untroubled by them. She never read her reviews unless they were vetted by another person, and so was untroubled by most of them, too. She didn’t smoke or do drugs, and could write coherently at quite inhuman levels of inebriation.

I’m not  like that. I’m not like any of that.

It’s been more than 2 months since I wrote a blog entry. I am sincerely and honestly apologetic, Dear Readers,; but really, there was nothing I could think of to do about it. Couldn’t write sober or drunk or done up on painkillers. Couldn’t write sunk in black depression. Couldn’t write in my sleep, or in what passed for wakefulness; which was usually in my sleep, as I have spent inordinate amounts of time asleep lately. Wherein, by the way, I didn’t even dream, except for nightmares where I woke myself up talking and yelling in my sleep.

At least, I guess they were nightmares. The ones I remember best were mostly just weird: dodging zombies while carrying a Siamese cat around in my arms. Hitching rides on driverless fire engines through dark and deserted urban streets, where strange black dust spilled over the curbs in dunes. Searching constantly for bathrooms, and only finding wrecked public restrooms with broken sinks, holes in the floors, and no doors on the stalls. Usually flooded, too: major grossness.

I would guess these were anxiety dreams. Certainly, being unable to locate a single restroom that had not apparently endured a surgical nuclear strike is enough to inspire anxiety: especially when you wake up and realize you really to need to go to the bathroom and frantically leap out of bed. I’m proud to have, so far, always woken up when the toilets have been just too horrible to use. Someday, though, I am sure, I’m going to fall over the damned cat, or fail to wake up before I realize I’m still asleep. Either way, I’m going to wet myself.

The starting point for this intellectual desert was a troll in my comments section. I’ve had them before, and I am sure I will have them again. This one, however, just gutted me. I had a panic attack when someone sent me a kind note from this site – just seeing that it came from WordPress was enough to produce nausea and flop-sweat. That’s when I realized how badly the wretch had hurt me. It was just a lucky blow that landed on a weak place, but it did for me for the longest time … it was complete despair. I felt like Kage was newly dead, I hadn’t mourned her or healed at all, and the entire last 8 years was just one huge sucking morass of wasted time.

So what have I done instead of writing? I’ve read. I’ve slept. I’ve taken up modest exercise, and can now walk short distances without recourse to my cane. I’ve battled diabetic nerve complications – not in my feet, of course, where most people get them; I have less-common symptoms, like gastroparesis. That means that one’s stomach muscles stop moving. It’s due to damage to the vagus nerve, and is a bitch to treat. You are simultaneously hungry and painfully full, constantly nauseated and afraid to eat. Soft foods  are recommended, and that really makes one feel like an adult …

However: one of the things the troll emphasized was that I complained about my health far too much, which is probably true. Sometimes, to plead my case, I do like to pass on the weird things that happen to me, just on general principles. Did any of you, Dear Readers, even know that anything short of a stroke or curare could even stop peristalsis? I sure wasn’t …

Anyway, all that is in the past. I am physically better than I was. I am emotionally better than I was. And Kimberly (who has never stopped nagging me to write through all this dark time) pretty much gave me an ultimatum today. I’m afraid she’ll stop feeding me, or – worse! – stop making me morning coffee. And my dear friend Steve Skold also gently reminded me today that I really need to get back to writing. And since Steve also often feeds me and makes me morning coffee, I figured the pair of them warning me simultaneously constituted a serious poke from Fate.

So, if anyone enjoys the ensuing blogs, you may thank Kimberly and Steve. And yourselves, all of you who sent me gentle notes and made me feel safer about sticking my head up again. Any obnoxious crap is, of course, entirely my own fault.

Anyway. Here I am again. Time to pick up the pieces, my shield and sword and my dropped big-girl pants, and get back to work.



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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20 Responses to And Back Again

  1. Shirley says:

    Missed your blog posts. Happy to see you’re back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mark says:

    Thank both of them. And add a “I know you got this,” you are tougher than any troll…
    …besides, you have people with blunt and pointy objects who would be happy to make a friggin’ road for you through any *army* of trolls. Just as an interest payment for the blessing you have been to us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Margie Adams says:

    Been there – understand ohsowell…
    I don’t have the words, except – I understand.


  4. tom barclay says:

    You have been on the Road Of Trials, and survived. Great doings are imminent.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Luisa Puig says:

    Sending virtual {{{ Hugs }}} and plenty of psychic armour to shield you from the nasty “Troll-a-dikes.” (That pun probably be better if I actually knew how to spell … er … the actual real word … oh well)

    Welcome Back, Kathleen! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dina says:

    Oh Kathleen, I’m so sorry that you’ve had such dark challenges. I thought that you were just healing and getting your health back. Nasty Trolls be banished! It has been a rough road since Yule.for many of us. Your’s sounds like an especially rotten, dark & painful case of “Job’s Syndrome”. *reaches out a hand up, with hugs* You have been missed, glad you’ve surfaced; welcome back.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. buggybite says:

    I have been worried that all was not well. Writers’ block is annoying, but not as bad as other stuff that can prevent a person from writing. I am so very glad you are back.

    I’m so sorry about the troll. Some of them are brainless and can’t spell, but some can be quite polished and cruel. However literate they are, however, their goal is always to upset you. If one appears, block ‘it’—and then forget ‘it’ ever existed. Pay no further attention to what ‘it’ said. Trolls will forget you, as soon as you deny them access. So …just emit a war cry as you punch the ‘block’ button. Another one DOWN. Look upon troll elimination as a slow, but personally satisfying computer game.


  8. Charles Albrecht says:

    i responded to the email rather than commenting
    Please have someone let us know if you’ll be gone for a while: I worry.
    I’m sure you have a good Elizabethan term for the nasty piece of work who did the best he(or she or it) could do to get you down
    How could you avoid talking about your health when it interferes with your writing so often? You don’t whine and serve as a role model to others with chronic illnesses.

    You are a devoted sister.

    Chuck A


  9. greenmtngrrl says:

    So glad to see you back. So glad you let us know how your health is going. Thank you for making the effort and finding the courage to post. I have been worried and today is a happier day!


  10. Lynn says:

    Three months without you; it’s been hard but not as hard as what you’ve been going through. We are here for you as much as you are here for us. You were missed greatly.

    Trolls are called a nasty name for a reason. Sometimes I feel some sorrow for them because their lives must be really awful to have to feel better by making someone else feel that bad. Take that troll boggart and make something ridiculous of him.

    We love you and do actually want to hear about your health. Your way with words, both modern and Basic Faire, are unique and the world needs more of your special phrases. Welcome back.


  11. Brad Campbell says:

    I was deeply, sadly worried, but had no real way to contact you…As I’ve mentioned before, I’m ‘just a fan’ of the writing (Kage’s & yours, books & blogs). Another blog follower of yours, Marc, has had horrible health problems that have landed him in a N…N..n..nursing home, yet our conversations always contained one of asking the other, “Have you heard anything about Kate?” He very well could be on his death bed, yet one of his primary worries was you,
    If only there was some way to wish all trolls into the corn field…Glad you’re back. I missed the words & thoughts behind them. ALL the words. (& I STILL miss Kage, though I only met her on the page…)


  12. Tim Cadell says:

    So glad to hear that you are walking around and, in general, feeling better. I have nothing good to say about trolls, and having nothing good to say, will say nothing. (See? That’s how you do it, trolls!)


  13. GWENDOLYN CONE says:

    You will likely not remember me (which is absolutely fine) – but I worked Northern back in the day, from 1982 to 1991 (mongers, washerwomen, puritans). You and Kage both made a *huge* impression on me, and when Kage started getting published I was over the moon and have read, and re-read, all of her novels multiple times. I love your writing. I love the way you write about Kage in your blog entries – it is such a clear and beautifully unfurled banner of love – the kind of love that means that we never die as long as we have someone remembering us.

    I am deeply sorry that some idiot got to you this way – and there is a very uncivilized part of me that would like to go stand on that person’s neck. Instead, I will content myself with saying what I have said here and to add that I love your writing, I have never felt that you complained about your health issues, and I hope that you are able to thrive, carry on, and live your life.

    Thank you for what you are (and have been) doing.


  14. Kara says:

    So glad to see you posting again and so a big thanks to Kimberly and Steve! Please continue with your rants on the state of health and medicine today – you put everything so eloquently, while still conveying that basic rage modern medical “care” will do to anyone. And if you need a laugh, check out NEIGHBOR STEVE!


  15. Roger says:

    But we old Folks *like*to hear about Maladies, and comparative symptoms and trading remedies (both received and counter-cultural). And this is just the observe of the coin we traded when we were younger, were we regaled ourselves with plans for, and consequences of, wretched excess and Debauchery. Lay on!


    • Kate says:

      We no longer have to wonder about the results of debauchery and wretched excess – we have verified the results over many years. But life can still pull some fast ones on us! That’s half the fun!


  16. Kate says:

    I love it! The statue, the story, everything. Thank you!


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