The Day The Buzzards Return To Hinkley, Ohio

Kage Baker, like all writers, was often asked where she got her ideas. Had she been sure of their provenance, I suspect she’d have lied – they were her ideas, after all. Instead, like several other science fiction writers, she told inquirers that she got them from a PO box in New Jersey, to which she regularly sent self-addressed stamped return envelopes.

I think she got that idea from Roger Zelazny.

The moving finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it. — Omar Khayyam.

The above stanza from the Rubaiyat is a pertinent example – while nothing ever comes back around precisely the same way, everything is remembered. All and any days can be be recalled and celebrated (or rued, as the fit takes you). Nothing is lost, anything can be memorialized; but in the long run, none of that is up to you or me. Time keeps everything, and nothing we do can change that.

Approaching, as I am, the Large Life Marker of open heart surgery, I am paying attention to what the recent days mean or will mean to me. St. Patrick’s is coming, of course – I shall spend that day sleeping determinedly, I suspect, only roused to sit up and try to remind my body that it has functions to resume … I never actually enjoy the strain of coaxing my aging flesh to remember to cycle waste and process nutrients after surgery – but it is much preferable to the alternative. The most I have to look forward to is seeing Kimberly, and pressing the button on my morphine pump. Those are both pretty cool, though.

Kimberly will only be allowed to see me for 10 minutes a day, at least until I am moved out of Cardiac ICU and into a more ordinary room. I mean to cherish those 10 minutes. The rest of the time I shall spend happily blurred out, until I can get my eyes to focus on my Kindle tablet.

And in the meantime: tomorrow is the Day the Buzzards Return to Hinkley, Ohio! Every March 15th, they return to mate, nest and lovingly feed bits of dead dog to their fuzzy little offspring. Baby buzzards are cute; like many baby birds, they have white bunny suits of fluff before they fledge.Kimberly and I have celebrated this for years. I need a stuffed baby buzzard …

Also on the topic of really specific memorialization, today is PI Day! March 14th; or, 3.14. Having no especial fondness for mathematics, in my household we celebrate this date with actual, tangible PIE. In this specific case, we have blueberry, lemon meringue and classic custard on hand for our family delectation. The blueberry is calling my name tonight … especially with several weeks of TOTALLY BORING FOOD waiting for me in hospital. No sugar, no caffeine, no salt, no fat, no carbohydrates. I think I get beige protein spun out of liver.

Yestreday, I spent several hours at Glendale Memorial doing pre-registration things. This will spare me doing it on Monday at 5:30 in the morning. It took 3 hours of repeating my DOB and the spelling of my name – which is a tough one for most people, I must admit – but it seemed to stymie everyone even while reading it off my ID bracelet. I have become exotic in my old age. I think its the multi-syllabic nature of my name, and the plethora of digraphs and diphthongs it possesses. Especially since in both my first and last names, the digraphs are followed by alveolar lateral approximates, and then by the inevitable diphthongs …

But I babble. Or I will. This should be interesting, as waking from anesthesia usually leaves me with perfectly astonishing hallucinations. Kimberly always tells the recovery room staff to just assume that no matter how lucid I sound or how readily I agree with their instructions, I don’t mean it. Nor will I remember anything they tell me. They need to just save all their instructions for her, because I will be amiably convinced I am on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise with an aquarium bolted onto my head …

And this leads us back, in a cheerily circular fashion, to where do a writer’s ideas come from? Because every insane factoid, injudicious memorial and cock-eyed holiday yields them, actually. The trick is not to find out the secret P.O. Box in New Jersey (although the  efficacy of it cannot be denied), but to pay attention to all the bizarre and charming things that happen to you along the way. Like the buzzards. And pie. And parts of speech.

Or, as my dear friend Tom Westlake said, when asked where he got his ideas, replied: “What doesn’t give you ideas?”

Right on, Tom. Right the hell on. And not a single line of it all will be unwritten.





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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9 Responses to The Day The Buzzards Return To Hinkley, Ohio

  1. buggybite says:

    This is the beginning of the end of the bad stuff. Recovery, and return to a more normal physical state is what’s on the horizon now.

    My friend, who lives in Glasgow, had this surgery done a few years ago …and she’s a tad older than you. She is now happily walking a lively dog every day, up and down some pretty steep Glasgow streets on the South Side, and regularly climbs three long, steep flights of stairs to her vintage tenement apartment without bother. It really does make a difference. A huge difference.

    So …see you on the other side. All the best.


  2. gerryccarroll says:

    I wish you all the very best for tomorrow, I had a heart “procedure” 8 years ago and I’ve been really well ever since, I hope it works like that for you.


  3. debraji says:

    I hope everything goes smoothly and this spring will be a time of healing and steady improvement.


  4. Sending you all good wishes for tomorrow, and for the recovery after!


  5. athene says:

    I have actually experienced the madness that is Buzzard Day in Hinckley, Ohio! It is all that you might imagine it to be…


  6. Beth says:

    Does anyone know if Kate is okay? It would be so great to hear that she made it through surgery & is recuperating . . .


  7. Lara says:

    I just recently found Kathleen’s wonderful postings. Is there anyone reading this who has an update on the surgery and her recovery? An address where we can send cards?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerryccarroll says:

      Kathleen posted on her Facebook in mid October to say that she has at last returned home and is continuing her recovery. Which is very welcome news.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kate says:

      Hello, Lara – this is Kathleen, only recently returned to the land of the living. Thank you for your kind comments.

      Thanks as well to all of you who have inquired as to my health over the last long, 7 months. I’ve only been home for a week, but I am working on resuming my blogs as soon as I can stay awake for more an hour or two at a stretch.

      My health is poor, but improving. My heart is, oddly, in tip-top condition – I have been laid low instead by the aftereffects of a surprise tracheotomy. Anyone with an urge to send me a card will be thanked and blessed. And in order to put less stress on our overworked Post Office during election, I welcome e-cards.

      Liked by 1 person

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