And Fill the Wall Up

Kage Baker did not countenance giving up. She could be defeated, of course, like anyone (which was always the fault of her opponent, and none of hers); she could be thwarted for years, but never forget her goals. She would plan for quite inhuman lengths of time to get what she wanted, and rarely failed. The main thing was, she never gave up.

When Kage died, she was still dictating stories and plans to me. Literally. She had a calculated plan for what I was to do with her literary legacy, and she made sure I got every detail straight. We made a lot of Mozart and Salieri jokes, and giggled like teenagers. But I knew that, despite the snickering and even the attempts at singing the Requiem (we were pretty fair, actually), that Kage was deadly serious and meant even her amiable threats of retaliation if I failed.

Then my health began its slow collapse. It’s been as cruel and inexorable as a tsunami – a slow, mounting, hideously motile wall sweeping forward, carrying drowned bodies and burning houses on the crest of the wave. Even the survivors are left damaged. The world ends up covered in mud.

Just as I began to realize I was sinking in the muck, I got a cruel email on this blog. Some self-righteous critic read me a long list of the things I said of which he disapproved. He gave me to understand I was weak, uninteresting, contemptible; he suggested I shut up, one way or another. He caught me at a vulnerable moment.

I struggled on for a ways – and you, my Dear Readers, if any of you are still out there, you were a major factor in my staying even marginally afloat. But I got sicker, and more tired, and more discouraged. I’ve spent the latter half of 2018 asleep and/or cocooned in my recliner, concentrating all my strength on breathing.

To tell the utmost truth, I am sure some part of me was nurturing a black hope that I could irritate Kage into haunting me. But as I am fairly sure she’s busy slow-dancing with God and drinking divine nectar with cocktail umbrellas in, there’s been no luck on that score. Besides, I’m pretty sure she could out-stubborn me anyway.

So here I am. I am starting, not over but definitely again. There’s more to say, more to write, and if my explaining life through the streaky lens of my cataclysmic health offends anyone – too bad for you. Go read someone else’s blog. Which is about as much obscenity I am willing to spend on you, if you already dislike me that much.

I know, though, that I still have good, good friends out there in the aether. A Happy New Year to you, then, dear hearts. Here we are again! Once more into the breach! The show must go on!

As Kage once said, giving up is for people with no resources. And I have so, so many of those!





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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32 Responses to And Fill the Wall Up

  1. Mike Bennett / Zimiamvian Night says:


    Haters hate, that’s what they do. The best advice I ever heard was this: “Fuck ’em!”

    I have loved your work, continue to do so and I will listen and follow you until one of us cannot. I’m sure I’m not alone, but don’t do it for me, do it for you. But I’ll still be listening, however quietly…

    Peace, ma soeur, pacem…

    Mike Bennett / Zimiamvian Night

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Shirley says:

    So good to hear from you again. Ignore ugly words sent your way by unhappy people who need to share their misery. I enjoy reading your posts and I’m sure there are many out there who would agree with me when I say….missed you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kate says:

      Thank you, Shirley. Ordinarily, people don’t bother me – but the whole world had a bad 2018, and I was caught off-balance. I cannot honestly claim to be less wobbly now, heh heh heh, but I am in a much better mood.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Elizabeth Howell says:

    I was so happy to see you this year at DCF. Keep on as you can, in your style and know we are here to support and cheer you on. Elizabeth

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sue says:

    Hello Kate,
    This is one of your dedicated readers. I very rarely comment, but subscribe to be sure I know when you update. I’m very glad to hear you are still among us, and will be taking up the pen once again. Here’s to a healthy 2019.


  5. It is so very good to hear this from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cora says:

    NEVER give up writing! You have so much more to say, and I want to read it! Health issues are a bitch, but I have faith you will find a work around .

    Liked by 2 people

  7. buggybite says:

    Thank goodness you’re back. I actually checked all over the internet a few days ago, trying to find a trace of your presence. At least there was no information to the contrary.

    Relief. But take a break whenever you like. You may feel you owe Kage Baker, but you don’t owe us. When people say ‘take care of yourself,’ that’s what they mean.

    Pay no rational attention to people who try to derail your train. They are everywhere on the internet these days, and that’s how they get their jollies. If somebody truly felt the way that person claimed to feel, he would just walk away and stop reading the blog, wouldn’t he? Instead, angled for exactly the reaction he got, and is probably sitting somewhere right now, feeling powerful and delighted that he made you miserable, at least for a time. Ach well. He’s the one with the limited life, not you.

    Happy New Year, and welcome back.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. debraji says:

    I’m so glad you’re back. I’ve missed your voice.

    I don’t understand people who delight in spreading poison–the Iago’s of this world–but the internet gives them an amplifier and makes them seem larger than they are. They have shriveled little souls.

    Looking forward to whatever you want to share with us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kate says:

      Thank you, Debra. People are entitled to dislike me, of course. But – and this is what it took me a while to realize – some people don’t even want to be pleased. And them, I can consign to the outer darkness, where will be weeping and gnashing of dentures.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Medrith says:

    Kathleen, I love you and your writing, through which I can see the wonderful person you are. I have missed your blogs, but was reassured to see that you were still with us through your Facebook posts. You have said that Kage didn’t read bad reviews; the personal attacks are an even-worse version. I don’t know how you can avoid them altogether, and I know how hard it is to keep them from affecting you. I’ve just come out of a 2-year stretch where every painting I entered in a juried competition was rejected- even the competition of my own art association. It is wretched to be hanging a show and be asked “where’s yours” and have to say that it didn’t get in. I kept reminding myself that it was one person’s opinion and that helped. It also helped to remember that I, as Exhibits Chair, could reject those jurors if they applied for a show with us. It would be petty, and I wouldn’t, but I COULD and no one would even question my decision. Bwa ha ha! Anyway, there are very, very many more of us who love and esteem you than there are jerks who don’t have the sense to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kate says:

      Thank you, Medrith. But I am so sorry to hear of your own doldrums. Don’t give up! Even if you encounter purblind idiots, you’re still making art for art’s sake. And for yourself.


      • Medrith says:

        I won’t give up, and in fact i just got an acceptance to a new competition. And I have a number of ideas to work up; we took 2 trips to 2 different beautiful areas in the mountains and I got a LOT of inspiration. Plus I need to paint my new mascot, a piebald fawn who visits our yard regularly. And I will be adopting a kitten soon now that I’m out of full mourning for Vincent.


  10. ssfrerking says:

    Kathleen, you come first. When we don’t care for ourselves, it’s impossible to create and send art out into the world. We will be here when you are ready.


  11. Lynn says:

    Kathleen, it’s very, very good to hear your voice again. Seeing you at the DCF was a joy; it took all I could do to keep from jumping on you and hugging you. We who love you are pleased to know you’re well and ready to pick up your pen again. Buggybite is right, you may owe Kate but we’re happy to have you whenever we can – on your own time. Your health comes first. Welcome home.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. atheneatllos says:

    The next time something like this hateful email happens, I hope you will do civilization a service and publish the loathsome troll’s name and address so that people of good will can encourage him to rethink his bad manners. And this isn’t just about you – people who do things like this do it to other people, too. This is why you have a tribe, my dear. An attack against one is attack against all. I am more than happy to smite this creature and send him back to his nasty circle of h*ll. I do not take kindly to those who attack the people I love. Please, do not suffer alone next time. As we used to say in my misspent youth: His @ss is grass… Onward to the new year, dear one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kate says:

      Thank you, Athene. You are always wise, and fierce in defense of the feckless. It never occurred to me to out the bugger. I just blocked him. And then I sat and fermented in self-pity like a short, fat soy bean of dubious provenance. Should it ever happen again, I will abandon the high road at once. It just gave me nose bleeds, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Pamela Duncan says:

    My dear friend..I am horrified that some dirt bag was able to hurt you so damnably…sending love hugs good wishes and healing your way. And as for the gross excuse for a human who attacked you….well karma will probably serve him a nasty dish. BLESSINGS!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. J. S. Laughter says:

    I am so glad you are back at the keyboard. I treasure your (and Kage’s) stories. Stay determined to take care of yourself, in heart, body and mind!


  15. Brad Campbell says:

    Just yesterday as I walked my dog in the cold San Diego night, I wondered once more where you’ve been. I’ve missed hearing from you. Can you block the Troll (both electronically and mentally would be perfect)! I can’t understand why, if he didn’t like what you said, he wouldn’t simply NOT read your blog…
    The man who first turned me on to Kage’s books, Marc Bailey, won’t be responding any longer…My fondest hope is that he’s sitting at her knee, listening to her spin new tales. He loved you both.
    Welcome back…Hope we’re Troll-less at last.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Kate says:

    I am so sorry about Marc. But I, too, hope he has found Kage’s particular version of Valhalla, and is taking a warrior’s ease. With a plastic monkey and a paper umbrella in his mead.

    We have been amazingly free of trolls here, considering my big mouth and insistence on pontificating. And now I am forewarned, and will not fall prey so easily again.


  17. Allison Hansen says:

    Happy New Year Kathleen! Mr Critic can go suck eggs, he sounds sicker than you have been feeling – no one needs to be kicked when they are down. Please keep writing, and talking about Kage. Kage was the only author I ever collected from the very very start. From the moment I read In the Garden of Iden was enthralled with her brilliant writing and stories. I bought every first edition as they came out, got every ARCs off of ebay. Had every single book of hers in hard and paperback, and ebook when available too. All the beautiful novellas. Empress of Mars signed and with CD
    .Anything she wrote I treasured and loved.
    On November 8 they all burned up in a fire.
    I lived in Paradise, Ca.
    Losing those hurt.
    Now we are living in Chico, Ca.
    It is a college town, so there some good used bookstores here. I have found In the Garden of Iden in hardback, and a paperback of The Machines Child.
    Starting again, just like you.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. jenfullmoon says:

    I’m so sorry someone was shitting on you. He can go read other things, for fuck’s sake, if he don’t like it.


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