Communion Of Dreams

Heinlein Centennial

I don’t get out much – being a full time caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s is very demanding, and my wife and I are both careful not to leave all the responsibilities in the other’s lap for any real length of time (like over a weekend). If this was just a short-time thing, it wouldn’t be much of an issue. But we’ve been caregivers in this capacity for four years now, and we could easily have several more years ahead of us. You have to think long-term. This is the reason why I ignore the advice given to all unpublished authors to attend conventions – getting away is almost impossible for me at this time.

But as it happens, she has a concert scheduled with the North American Welsh Choir the weekend of July 7th in Kansas City, and made arrangements some months back to have her sister in from California to take care of my mother-in-law, in order that I could also attend the concert if I wanted. Otherwise, she would be here to help make sure that I didn’t carry an undue burden for the several days my wife would be away.

Then I heard about the Robert A. Heinlein Centennial celebration occuring at the same time – also in Kansas City!

Heinlein hasn’t really been a direct influence on my writing; I haven’t tried to emulate any of his style, or pay homage to his ideas. But few can deny that he was a huge influence in Science Fiction last century. And I certainly read a lot of his stuff when I was young – it helped shape and inform my world view, to some extent. Even to this day, I consider him to have been visionary on a number of points, and going back and rereading some of his classics is a good exercise for any writer – his stuff holds up surprisingly well, even 40 – 50 years after it was published.

Besides, this will be about more than just Heinlein’s legacy. A number of luminaries from the history of space exploration will be there, not to mention lots of science fiction writers and people involved in the publishing industry (check out the list of attendees!). It will be interesting, and a phenomenal opportunity to do some serious networking.

So, I’m going. Given that the big Gala Dinner is being held at the same time as my wife’s concert, I’ll be missing the concert altogether. I’m lucky to have such an understanding spouse.

See you there?

Jim Downey

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