Communion Of Dreams

“I said move over honey, I’m traveling on that line”*
July 18, 2010, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Music, Publishing, Writing stuff

Whew – long Skype session with my co-author today. Almost three hours. But very, very productive. We got a little less than halfway through Her Final Year, but were able to work through all the issues up to that point. This will be the last major editing that this part of the book will get before we’re ready for submission. Yeah, there will be tweaks and changes still, but this will put us on the other side of the hill. We’ll finish this tomorrow afternoon.

Interesting process, using the technology this way. Working with a document jointly, in real-time, discussing as we went – pretty cool. And those who know how much I hate telephones will take it as a real measure of just how much John (my co-author) and I are alike, that we were able to do this. That’s easily the longest phone conversation I’ve had this century, perhaps in my life.

So, a bit of a break, then see if I can finish up the tweaks needed on the proposal, so we can send that off.

Jim Downey

*oh, there’s a reason for the reference beyond the content of the post. This is post #910.

Got a proposal for you.
July 16, 2010, 1:20 pm
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Feedback, Publishing, Writing stuff

Well, if you want it, that is.

See, the query last Friday attracted some interest from an agent, who said that she wanted to see a full formal book proposal from us for Her Final Year. Between getting ready for my class (which is going great, thanks), and getting other promised projects done, I didn’t have a chance to turn my attention to the proposal until yesterday afternoon. After about 8 hours working on it, I got it done – in ‘first draft’ form. It runs some 32 pages.

Anyway, I just thought that I’d make it available, if anyone wanted to get a sense of what the book will be like. This proposal contains a synopsis of each chapter of the book, along with an excerpt from each chapter. I don’t intend this to be a public document, but am willing to share with any friends or readers on a limited basis. And no, I won’t be offended if no one else wants to see it at this time. Feedback on the proposal welcome, but isn’t a requirement to look at it.

So, if you’re interested, drop me a note, or post a comment here.

Jim Downey

Oh yeah.
July 16, 2010, 7:27 am
Filed under: Guns

Hunter S. Thompson Motivational Poster

Jim Downey

(Thanks, Jerry!)

Some more map images.
July 13, 2010, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Art, Book Conservation

Thought I would share a couple more of these from the project mentioned yesterday.

Above both this map: “Ingermanlandia seu Ingria.” [Map of St, Petersburg seen from the Gulf of Finland dedicated to Peter the Great.] Latin, 1734. Size: 22 x 19″

From this map: “Moscoviae Pars Australis,” Latin, ca. 1646 by Isaac Massa. Size 21” x 17”

And this map: “Taurica Chersones vs. Nostra aetate Przecopsca et Gazar dicitur.” Latin, ca. 1590 by Gerardo Mercator. Size: 22 x 18″

Fun, eh?

Jim Downey

Tomorrow, and yesterday.
July 12, 2010, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Art, Book Conservation

So, this afternoon prepped materials for my next class tomorrow morning – they’re going to do a longstitch binding – then started assessing the maps I picked up on Friday for Special Collections. I need to go through and do an itemized estimate for them, and the first step is just to look the items over carefully, see exactly what conservation treatment they need. And I thought that I would post a couple pictures from one of the maps:

“Les Etats du Czar ou Empereur des Russes en Europe et en Asie –Avec les Routes q’uon tient Ordinairment de Moscow a Pekim. “ French, 1772 by Nicolas de Fer (1646-1720). Size : 25.5 x 17

This is actually the youngest of the maps I picked up – the others date back to 1590 – but it will need a lot of work. You can’t see it from these photos, but it was mounted to that acidic matboard using good ol’ Scotch tape. All around the edges of the map.


People, if you have a nice map, or any other piece of art, DO NOT mount or repair the damned thing with Scotch tape.

Maybe some more pictures this week as I go through and get started on the rest of the maps.

Jim Downey

Query query.
July 9, 2010, 1:19 pm
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Preparedness, Publishing, Writing stuff

As mentioned, the care-giving book is coming together well. As with Communion of Dreams, my Good Lady Wife has taken on the task of finding an agent/publisher for it. To that end yesterday she asked me for another query letter to use for some contacts who wanted a slightly different presentation from the initial query letter we crafted. Here’s a bit I thought I would share, and see if anyone had thoughts on it:

Her Final Year is a joint memoir told using a 12-month format as an analogy for the Alzheimer’s cycle, where each ‘month’ represents one phase of the disease progression. The authors, two men caring for their respective mothers-in-law, explore the process of discovering and dealing with the decline of the family matriarch by interweaving their own thoughts and experiences with what they learned along the way from — and about — health insurance providers, medical professionals, Hospice nurses, social workers and nursing homes. The first part of the book (about two-thirds of the text) ends with the death of the Alzheimer’s patient, but then the second part of the book (subtitled His First Year) is the story of recovery of the men and their families from the care-giving experience, and how they were enriched by it.

Given that there are currently no memoirs from this POV, but that a growing number of men find themselves in the role of care provider, the authors hope that this book will fill a need and find a wide audience. Some people will want to read it straight through as a story of love and redemption, others will use it as a resource by finding which ‘month’ most fits their situation and looking there for guidance and support. It should appeal not just to care providers, but also to people who know someone in that role and wish to understand how best to help them. With the aging of our population, this includes the majority of Americans.


Jim Downey

Better to just get it over with.
July 8, 2010, 11:26 am
Filed under: Carl Zimmer, Failure, Pharyngula, PZ Myers, Science

I noted yesterday the decision from SEED Magazine/Science blogs to sell their credibility to Pepsi.

Well, word this morning that they have reconsidered, via Carl Zimmer and PZ Myers. From Pharyngula, here’s part of the statement from Adam Bly of SEED/Sb:

We have removed Food Frontiers from SB.

We apologize for what some of you viewed as a violation of your immense trust in ScienceBlogs. Although we (and many of you) believe strongly in the need to engage industry in pursuit of science-driven social change, this was clearly not the right way.

Good move. When you’ve screwed up that badly, and are taking damage for it from all sides, best to just reverse the decision and get it over with.

Jim Downey