Kage Baker celebrated Mothers Day as devotedly as any other person who had ever been a kid with a mother.
Maybe more than some; she loved her mother very much. Mrs. Baker was an amazing sort of Southern Goddess, honey on her tongue and magic in her hands. Raw foodstuffs obediently arranged themselves at her command into the food of the gods; her garden covered several terraces of a hill in Hollywood in roses, lilies, irises and fruit trees. She painted, too, landscape and portraits, and was fairly successful at it. She had seven children of her body, and most of them brought home at least one friend who was gathered into her benevolent empire on a permanent basis.
I was one of those lucky strays. I had a mother of my own, of course, but she was – of a delicate disposition, shall we say? Momma threw me out at fairly regular intervals, and Mothers Day – like every other holiday – was always fraught with wondering when something would offend her and tip her over into rage. Momma was more a Celtic goddess of war and fertility, and when she took her aspect on her, I tended to flee. Usually with a care package of excellent food, put together even as she called down dissolution and living hell on my head and cursed me out the door. A difficult lady. I loved her, though.
Neither Kage nor I had children of our own. As the eldest of six (surviving) children, Kage devoted herself to being a professional Auntie – she said she had fulfilled all her maternal duties practising on her younger siblings. Besides, she had to write. But she adored her siblings’ kids. She was a great Auntie, too, the sort who dispenses exotic presents and sweets and tells the very best stories.
Like her own mother, she also took friends’ children under her auntly wing; there a lot of kids who grew up at Faire listening to wild tales from Kage. One of them dropped me a note only a couple of days ago, fondly recalling times when she babysat for all the loose kids in the Inn Yard, usually holding them enthralled. Sometimes she tested out story ideas on them.
Me, I would have loved to have a child, but have not been so favoured. Kage knew that, and so she wrote me a character to play at Faire: Mother Bombey, Innkeeper and general maternal idol. For decades, hundreds of people called me Mother, and looked to me with trust and affection to take care of them. I fed them, clothed them and found them beds; provided beer, breakfast, rides and band aids to the best of my abilities, and listened to more lies and confidences than the principal of a girls’ school. Kage declared me Mother, and gifted me with a wider and richer – and weirder – maternity than I could ever have imagined.
She could persuade reality to do what she wanted, often. Writers do that, I am told. I don’t know if other writers’ companions have gotten to experience that fate-weaving as much as I have. It would be interesting to know, wouldn’t it?
Well. Only a brief blog tonight, Dear Readers; Mothers Day always leaves me with mixed emotions, remembering all the amazing, dreadful, joyous, mythical shit that usually accompanied it for me. So, have a Day, all you Mothers out there. I do hope it was lovely, and that someone remembered you. Motherhood is a tough gig, and you deserve all the accolades going.
hi kathleen, i want to thank you so much for writing’s about kage – and your writings about yourself. much like your sister you have a wonderful way with words that absolute transports me away with vivid mental images. i’ve been loving kage’s works for a long time now and for the past 10 years i’ve been on and off drawing art for the company series and i’d love to share it with you if possible. (you’ve spoken about answering emails and such but i’m hopeless at figuring that stuff out and i’ve tried to see if i could send them myself but oh well so i figured i’d leave my contact info instead https://www.evelynleerogers.com/contact.html) i await your next post eagerly. – evelyn 🙂