Kage Baker had a keen appreciation of the ways social media enhanced communication. You could easily corner a vast audience without ever having to hire a hall, or find someone to make decent cookies and vol au vent pastries.
You could even more easily corner a more modest audience, with just an hour or so’s work of an evening. Most important for all, for Kage, was that all the crowds of all sizes could be managed from within a safe zone. She enjoyed her audience all the more because she could control how she met her readers. She dearly loved them, and corresponded with many; she was scrupulous about answering letters – as some of you, Dear Readers, can attest. I took dictation and did research for her on those.
She was also quite keen on science fiction conventions. She spoke as much as any con would let her, and volunteered for panels bereft of their full complement of speakers. She was a courteous participant, and a stern but amiable moderator. And she got through all these meetings and confrontations because she could hand things off to me – literally, usually – without worrying whether or not I was there to grab them. I always assumed she thought I had a Bag of Holding concealed about my person.
She did the same for me at Faires, after all. She developed a hilarious and completely not obsequious persona as the cook for whatever Inn I was supposed to be running at the time. She liked to stand just behind me, ready to take my bonnet while reminding me that the Sheriff’s men had bottomed out the porter barrel or that we were entirely out of mustard for the ham and the Pickwick Club was sure to complain. She liked to observe lugubriously that the mice were getting uppity in the Parlour, or that there were tentacle marks on the steps leading down cellar – again …
That’s the way I wrote her into The Women of Nell Gwynne’s II. She was the cook with the dab hand at poisoned trifle; entirely for the right side, of course.
It’s only one of the many ways I miss her.
This coming Memorial Day weekend (May 24th through May 27th) is BayCon, up in Santa Clara. It was Kage’s favourite convention, and it’s still mine, though now I am playing her part for the crowds. I am less shy but nearly as funny, and just as likely to be confused about where I am supposed to be. I could keep track of that stuff for Kage, but somehow am a dead loss at it myself. Go figure, eh?
I will be there at the San Mateo Airport Marriott, from Friday through Monday, showing the flag and generally swanning about. It’s always such fun! I’m on all manner of panels – standing on soap boxes is my fave rave sport – and am greatly looking forward to it. The Inestimable Neassa will be with me, ready to take the things I hand off to her and generally make sure I don’t get lost or misplace my limbs.
If any of you Dear Readers are in the area, feel free to come see me. Do not buy a ticket unless you were meaning to anyway! I will be in the lobby and/or the bar a lot of the time, knitting and people watching. And I will try to print out my schedule before the Con, for those who are coming to the Con and want to come listen to me pontificate.
And in the merry meanwhile, there are these blogs. It’s good to be back at the forge, hammering out deathless pearls of hyperverbalism.