Kage Baker absolutely loved classical British music hall. Especially Pantomime: a panto horse or a flouncing dame with 5 0’clock shadow could reduce her to hysterics. British clowns are rather different from the demon tricksters in American circuses, and Kage actually liked the red noses, possessed ladders and buckets of whitewash common to British music hall.
But she hated ordinary clowns.
The venerable cry originally attributed to Joseph Grimaldi when he appeared at Drury Lane in 1799 – And here we are again! – struck Kage as simultaneously both the most hilarious and most sinister introduction for clowns ever uttered. She would have found the recent plague of menacing clowns reported all over the UK (as well as select portions of the US) right in character for Panto clowns. Giggles with just a soupcon of shudders.
However, what she really loved were Sir Terry Pratchett’s portrayals of the mournful purveyers of mandated mirth who graduated from the Ankh Morpork Fools Guild. From the smallest, most miserable apprentice with pineapple cream dripping from his painted eyebrows, to the perfect, icy menace of the Dr. Whiteface, the albino clown: Kage hated them on the loose, and loved them between the pages of Sir Terry’s books.
She refused to read anything by one of my favourite authors, Stephen King, on general principles. It was bad enough that references permeated popular culture, and that I kept telling her the plots. Of course, she did keep asking what the plots were, since Mr. King’s genius was undeniable and Kage held all such talent in high regard … but she would be disapproving of the current film of IT, Part Two of which is now finally in theatres.
Kage would have no trouble with me over this. I have no desire at all to have seen this in a darkened theatre. Besides, as I am now of an elderly pursausion and can no longer sit for 3 hours in a movie palace, I shall have to wait until the whole thing is out on DVD. I already have Part One. Then I can watch it in one long, carefully punctuated session in my living room. Just like I did with Avengers: End Game … twice, so far.
What is tiding me over the wait this summer has been reading. I have worked my way through most of Pratchett – I weep at the heroics and the losses more than I used to; on the other hand, I also laugh harder at the Fools Guild and similar antics, and consequently have to stay very close to the bathroom … I am safer tonight, as the very newest novel by Stephen King appeared on my Kindle late last night and I am not laughing near as much while reading that.
However, what I have been doing for the last 2 months has still not been condusive to writing. Today it is 2 months to the day since my dear brother-in-law Ray died; I have spent most of that time reading, binging on cozy mysteries on BritBox, and helping Kimberly and Michael with the necessary changes to the household. We have been keeping very close to home and to one another; things are – not improving, but stabilizing. We are coming along. Nobody’s new normal is very good these days …
Still, we soldier on. I have actually written 4 new paragraphs of “The Misses Take and Treat” today, and will soon be able to share more. Various stories are still leaping frantically around the inside of my skull, and it’s time to corner the damn things and put them back to work.
But for now … time for another reboot, another weary start, another attempt to get life to settle down into some sort of rhyme and rhythm. I mean, for heaven’s sake! This nonsense is getting old. So am I. Time for some peace!
And yet, nonetheless: here we are again.