Communion Of Dreams

As Grackles do.

And then the Grackles came. As Grackles do.

* * * * * * *

Yesterday’s “Hobbit’s Birthday” Kindle promotion was something of a bust. While an appropriate eleventy-one people downloaded Communion of Dreams here in the U.S. (no, really, 111 did), that number is miniscule in comparison to previous promotions. Another 10 downloads went through the Amazon.UK portal, and 4 through Amazon.DE.

It’s hard to be sure what conclusions to draw from this. It could be to not do a promotion on a major national holiday. It could be that the market is saturated. It could be something else entirely.

But I think I’ll hold off for a couple of months before running a promotion again.

* * * * * * *

I enjoy blogging. It allows me to keep tabs on my emotional state, share bits of perspective and odd thoughts. It also keeps my writing skills sharp when I don’t have an ostensible goal I am working towards. That advice everyone hears in writing classes to “just write” really is true — writing regularly makes a huge difference.

But there are different kinds of writing. In the 5.5 years I’ve had this blog up, and through the 1324 blog posts, I’ve probably written something over half a million words. Add in some 160 articles/reviews for, the 150,000 words initially in Communion of Dreams and the 140,000 in Her Final Year (not all of which were mine, of course), along with other various articles and whatnot, and I’ve probably written/re-written a million words in the last 6 years. But all of that is a real mixed bag, written for different purposes and different audiences.

One of the things I noticed a couple months back was that I was starting to layer meaning in some of my blog posts. And I *know* what conclusion to draw from that: my subconscious is starting to practice for writing the next novel. For the most part this isn’t something that most people would notice — I’m building in these layers of meaning for my own amusement/practice. The surface of each piece needs to still communicate directly with the reader, just as the surface story of Communion of Dreams is an enjoyable tale without demanding a lot of thought. Accomplishing that while building in other stories and ideas in the subtext is what is hard, and it requires practice.

* * * * * * *

I spent part of the morning filling the bird feeders, each according to their type, and dusting the seed first with cayenne pepper powder to dissuade the squirrels and deer. Black oil sunflower seed for the cardinals and jays. Fresh syrup for the hummingbirds. Suet block for the woodpeckers. Cracked safflower for the finches (thistle is also good for them, but dealing with the damned thistle plants which result is a pain). And a “mixed songbird feed” for everyone else.

And I thoroughly scrubbed and then refilled the birdbath. With our current moderate drought conditions and high temps, it has been getting a lot of use.

I’d barely gotten back inside before all the bird varieties were populating the feeders. There was some squabbling between the sparrows, and the jays were being their usual bossy selves, but mostly everyone got along.

And then the Grackles came. As Grackles do. They’re not that much more violent than other birds. I honestly think jays are tougher. But the Grackles don’t just show up by ones and twos. They show up in a mass, making a ruckus, demanding that everyone do things their way. They eat, squawk, and shit. Until they are satisfied that everything is in a sufficient state of chaos.

And then they left, as Grackles do. Leaving the others to pick over what they didn’t want. Leaving me to clean up the mess.

Jim Downey