Communion Of Dreams


Encouragement.

I got a note from a friend earlier this week. She had just started reading Communion of Dreams, and was really impressed with it, and took the time to let me know. I thanked her for telling me.

And I was thankful — getting feedback from people like that is very affirming. Every author, every artist, likes it when their work is well received.

But I was also a bit bemused.

Why?

Well, because she seemed so *surprised*.

I can’t tell you how often this happens. You wouldn’t believe me. But it’s true. People who know me — friends, family — seem to be completely caught off guard by the fact that I’ve written a book which is actually quite good.

* * * * * * *

One of my relatives is pretty “old school” in the sense that he thinks that he should be parsimonious with praise. When I told him that I was going to grad school in order to study writing and literature, he said something along the lines of “what, weren’t you paying attention in college?”

When told that I was involved in the Ballistics By The Inch project, his reaction was that it was a waste of time, because “everyone knows the answer, it’s just 25-50 feet per second.”

I haven’t talked to him in years. I would bet that he considered the care-giving “woman’s work.” No idea what he would’ve made of the subsequent memoir. And Communion of Dreams?

Who knows.

* * * * * * *

A friend of mine used to always say: “It ain’t bragging if you can actually do it.”

* * * * * * *

There’s a new review up. Here it is:

As an avid reader, I go through many books quickly. I’ve read so much sci-fi stuff over the years, I have forgotten most or all of it. This book, however, is so wonderful and complex that I am certain it will stay with me. It brings in “hard” sci-fi in the Arthur C. Clarke tradition, marries it to cultural anthropology, sociology, psychology and all the other things I love. I was lucky to get this one for free for the Kindle during a promotion. However, it is well worth obtaining at full price. Downey has a flair for story telling and a firm grasp on even the deepest, most esoteric science and theoretical underpinnings. “Communion of Dreams” has been a joy to read. Highly recommended.

* * * * * * *

I got a note from a friend earlier this week. She had just started reading Communion of Dreams, and was really impressed with it, and took the time to let me know. I thanked her for telling me.

And I was thankful — getting feedback from people like that is very affirming. Every author, every artist, likes it when their work is well received.

But I was also a bit bemused.

Why?

Well, because she seemed so *surprised*.

I can’t tell you how often this happens. You wouldn’t believe me. But it’s true. People who know me — friends, family — seem to be completely caught off guard by the fact that I’ve written a book which is actually quite good.

This isn’t just about me. To some extent we all experience this. Hell, we all do this. A friend or a relative tells us that they’re writing a book, or a play, or a movie. Or that they are creating a work of art. Or that they are going back to school. Or that they are trying to lose weight. Or whatever. If we’re decent sorts of people, we make encouraging noises.

But when was the last time you actually considered engaging with that person? Actually *encouraging* them? I’m not talking about some bullshit “work hard, and anything is possible” line. I’m talking about asking about their project, their goal, their plans to bring it into reality?

I’m old enough, crusty enough, that I have pushed on to do things even in spite of lack of encouragement. Maybe that’s just because I’m a self-centered bastard who cares more about meeting my own goals than meeting the goals of others.

But think about how much better a world it could be if we really listened to one another’s dreams & plans, shared our enthusiasm, and our encouragement.

Jim Downey

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