Communion Of Dreams


“If you build it . . . “

“Vir, do you believe in fate?”

“Well, actually, I believe there are currents in the universe, eddies and tides that pull us one away or the other. Some we have to fight, and some we have to embrace. Unfortunately, the currents we have to fight look exactly like the currents we have to embrace.”

Recently, I came up with an audacious idea. This is something which happens to me now and again. Most of the time, I chuckle over it, consider the possibilities, then let it slide back into the creative froth. But every now and again I get an idea I take somewhat seriously, and consider practically – not so much on whether I think it will work, but on whether I think I can convince enough other people that it will work.

Through the last couple of decades I’ve done better at this than you might think, batting about .500. Here’s a list of the big ones, along with a synopsis:

  • Opening an art gallery. This *almost* worked, but remains my most expensive failure to date. It’s very sobering to lose money that belongs to family and friends who trust your judgment, not to mention all the work of yourself, your partner, spouses and employees.
  • Writing a novel, and getting it published. Looks like this one will actually work.
  • Paint the Moon. My biggest artistic success to date.
  • Glass Canopy. This caught the imagination of a number of people, and generated a lot of discussion locally. Now such structures are used elsewhere for exactly this purpose. A failure, but not a total one.
  • Nobel Prize for JK Rowling. A debacle, in that so many people hated the idea. But perhaps I was just premature.
  • Ballistics By The Inch.  A huge success. This was in no way just my idea, and I only did part of the work, but I think the vision I had for how the project would be received was largely mine.
  • Co-authoring a care-giving memoir. Still early in the evaluation period on this, so can’t say whether it is a success or not.

And looking over that list, thinking about it, one of the clear things I see which helps make something a success is the amount of work I (and others) put into it. When presented with a zany idea, most people will be amused, say why they think it is crazy, and then more or less forget about it. But if confronted with the fact of an idea made manifest, a lot of that skepticism disappears (or never occurs to people in the first place.)

This isn’t very profound, of course, and certainly isn’t at all new. But I am still somewhat surprised to see how much it actually operates in the real world. It’s like imagination is so difficult for people that they just can’t get past their initial dismissal. I asked for comments on my latest idea, and so far have only heard from one person, who pointed out potential problems with it (this was actually a very helpful response). I can only guess that most other people consider it too nutty an idea to even bother with – but in my gut I’m pretty certain that if this resource existed it would be hugely popular and widely used.

But who knows? Was the voice a ghost or just hallucination? Do you embrace the current or fight it? Failure is real – both due to risk as well as inaction.

Jim Downey

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4 Comments so far
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I asked for comments on my latest idea, and so far have only heard from one person, who pointed out potential problems with it (this was actually a very helpful response). I can only guess that most other people consider it too nutty an idea to even bother with –

…..or maybe we have been thinking and not ready to articulate our comments, or we’ve been busy and haven’t had time to focus, or think we wouldn’t have something intelligent to say on the topic and do not wish to “remove all doubt“.

Comment by ML

Well, all legitimate points, ML, but based on a lot of previous such exercises, I can honestly say that the (lack of) response is pretty typical.

I know how to elicit comments from people, thanks to doing a fair amount of blogging over the years – it’s easy to take a position and provoke, or challenge conventional wisdom, et cetera. Setting forth an idea like this, however, is a different matter.

Comment by James Downey

So why just ballistics?

Why not pick some other hot shot topics…….. 🙂

Comment by Craig Brown

[…] I have a new book brewing. Other projects I am considering. It’s time to concentrate interests a bit – to find what is […]

Pingback by Finding the essence. « Communion Of Dreams




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