Communion Of Dreams

January 25, 2007, 10:31 pm
Filed under: Promotion, Writing stuff

Let’s talk art. I was a gallery owner for 8 years, after all. And an arts columnist for the local paper for a couple of years following that.

The image at the top of this page, and on the Communion website, is titled “Burr Oak at Twilight”, by Columbia, MO artist Peter Haigh. That’s pronounced “Haig”, by the way.

I sold photographs for Peter at my gallery for pretty much the entire time we were there, and that image of the champion Burr Oak for MO (and perhaps the nation) was always a big seller for us. The tree, known locally as the “Williamson Oak”, is about a dozen miles south of Columbia on the Katy Trail, is about 350 years old and has a circumference of about 300 inches, and stands some 85 feet tall.

Anyway, I always enjoyed looking at that photo. And over time, in the many hours I spent working at the gallery, it slowly became associated in my mind with images from my novel. Because I spent probably three or four years just thinking through the storyline, the tech, the history, before I started really writing the book (which took about two years). In a very real way, I grew to equate the image with my novel.

It’s funny what inspires an author, or an artist. Seldom is there a direct one-to-one correlation between a work and the source of inspiration, based on my own experience and from discussion with countless artists I represented over the years. Usually, you’re responding to a comment, an image, an experience, but it is filtered through dozens of other thoughts and leaps of creative faith. But in this one instance, I can honestly say that when I describe the tree in the book, I am talking about this image of this spectacular tree, with all the associated baggage.

Anyway, I am thankful that Peter has allowed me to use this image, and would encourage you to go look at all of his other stunning landscape photography. I know people who own a dozen of his prints, and when you see his stuff you’ll understand why.

Jim Downey

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[…] written before (even recently) about the tree in the image at the top of this page. It’s locally […]

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