Toe In The Water

Kage Baker was some semi-divine embodiment of determination. She won stuff. She worked at it.

She never encountered a situation that actually stopped her. If halted in her progress, or thwarted in her intent, she would plan and scheme and even connive until she got what she had originally wanted. She would patiently do without, rather than settle for second best; and she would, eventually, succeed in her aims. It was amazing – and, watching her cold-eyed, relentless determination, just a little frightening.

It was usually to my benefit as well, though, so I did not stand in the way. It would have been futile, anyway. Kage always triumphed. It took Death to stop her: and even then, she wrote up to the moment she slipped into her final coma. She narrated an entire story about Scandinavian trolls, exogamy and Founders Effect genetics to me the afternoon she died. I have the notes …

I am, of course, not Kage. The last several months have come very close to stopping me in my tracks. I nearly took up a late career as a moss-covered stone. I have nearly foundered. Breaking my right humerus seems to have cancelled all my remaining warranties, and I have decayed. But yestreday, I was released to drive again – physical therapy has begun – I am no longer on brain freezing pain killers. Since I can now type two-handed, this is my official return to blogging – shallow waters, but a start. I hope someone is still listening ….

It’s been a weird, hard, fairly dreadful time. Do not break major bones in your old age, Dear Readers, if you can avoid it; recovery is a nightmare. Several times, half-asleep in the recliner where I have been since May 22nd, I woke convinced I had died and was in my coffin … only sometimes it appeared I had been interred in various cardboard boxes or dugout canoes. I woke my sister Kimberly, attempting to watch over me from the couch, several times – to demand how I had gotten into a graham cracker box or some such. She had to convince me I was still alive once or twice; so much fun in the middle of the night!

Kimberly finally got me an electric candle for a night light. It gave a nice low, yellow, flickering light, by which I could tell I was in a recliner and not in my grave or the cedar chest. Added benefit: Ashby, our young Maine Coon cat, is apparently afraid of the dark and had just been waiting for someone to get a night light. She immediately took to sleeping next to me on my night table, with the candle, so when I wake up I get light, instant orientation, and purring. Kimberly gets more sleep.

So, like I said, I can drive again. Consequently, I have decided to go to WorldCon76 in San Jose next weekend. Mostly, I planned to just wander around; sit in the bar and knit and people-watch. But then … I got invited to the Analog/Asimov’s party by Sheila Williams (the editor of Asimov’s !!!!). I was asked to come sign books at the Tachyon Publications table. Some other Important People inquired if I would be there just in general …

Kimberly was right. I really am not dead. I am remembered, even.

So, I’m going to WorldCon. I already paid my membership, so I could vote for the Hugos; it was just a matter of renting a room and a car at the last minute and seeing how presentable I can make myself after almost 3 months as an estivating sloth. My success in that has yet to be determined – but, by golly gosh, I am indeed going to WorldCon.

Kage would shake her head and ask me what in hell took me so long to get my act together. And I really don’t know what I’d tell her.

Except that at least, at last, I have.

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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17 Responses to Toe In The Water

  1. Dear lady, this is *such* good news! Please tell Ms. Williams a fellow Paul’s Books veteran admires her work.


  2. Genevieve Baker says:

    i remember how she was exactly like that…how i wish i had even a little of that!…. and i fondly and greatfully remember you…..i have made it to 53…but not wisely…….your writing is beautiful and takes me to a place of comfort and mirth…….thank you💙💚💙💚💙💚


  3. Charles H Albrecht says:

    WONDERFUL to have you back
    I was worried I’d never here from you again


    • Kate says:

      Charles no, it’s actually quite hard to get rid of me. Though much of the credit for getting me through a vile period of time goes to my sister, Kimberly.


  4. Medrith says:

    I am so glad you’re better!


    • Kate says:

      Thanks, Medrith! How goes the painting?


      • Medrith says:

        It was going great for a while there. Keith and I went to Shenandoah National Park for our 50th wedding anniversary in June. We stayed in a bed&breakfast in the Shenandoah Valley that was built in the 1830’s and drove on the Skyline Drive, did a bit of hiking, toured Luray Caverns, etc. Keith took a bajillion beautiful photographs and I did several paintings from them, and plan to do more. However, I had to go to the hospital on Monday with a nasty colon infection from something I didn’t know I had, diverticulosis. I am home and better, but still pretty weak. But I will get back to it. You can see the paintings on my Facebook in my New Paintings album.


  5. Kara says:

    So happy to see you posting and know you are feeling better!

    And so jealous to hear you are going to World Con this year! if you have time, stop by Bob Brown’s table for B Cubed Press – he, good man, is sending all he makes these days to ACLU!


  6. Luisa Puig says:



  7. Brad Campbell says:

    Welcome back. I worried (I’m old, so it’s my right to worry).

    The man who introduced me to Kage Baker’s writing, Marc Bailey, passed on while you’ve been away. One of the last things I did was to thank him again for turning me on to the books & stories & blogs of Kage & Kate. I am richer for the knowing, though now poorer for the loss of a friend of 55 years.
    BUT, importantly, have you been able to get outside a bit a night and watch Mars rise & march? So bright & so red it leaves an after image. It’s so close. I think of Kage & Ray every single night as I walk my dog straight to wards Mars. Ahhhhhhhh.



    • Kate says:

      Brad _ I am so sorry to hear of Marc Bailey’s passing. I grieve for your loss. And yoiu can be as worried and/or curmudgeonly as you like: it’s one of the few genuine privilegaes of having to live to an advanced old age.

      Yes, I have been observing Mars with delight. The heat is such, here in LA, that I can rarely leave the house except after dark; luckily, when the smoke dims a bit, the stars are lovely. And I don’t think Mars is being much bothered by the smoke; he blazes out fiercely anyway. Though now we know he is hiding an ocean up there … we’re coming, Old Warrior. Just be patient.


  8. Lynn says:

    Dear Kathleen, I’m so very glad to hear you are two-fisted again and able to type. Please send all blessings to Kimberley for keeping you in the world and for lighting your nights. You have been missed and will never be forgotten.


    • Kate says:

      Thank you, Lynn. There have many nights the last 3 months where I have mourned what seemed to be my long-gone life: but it’s not so, and I am grateful to be back among the living and beloved. I am more like blown glass than wrought iron these days, but I am actually improving. And I hope to continue to do so. I would so muc h rather be among my friends!


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