Communion Of Dreams

Sexy, poly, or hyper?

Weird little trivia bit: I was born with six toes on my left foot.

No, really. Six toes. Which is a fairly uncommon condition known variously as polydactylism or hyperdactylism. Personally, I prefer to think of it as being sexy — from the Latin.

What’s even more unusual about this, is that in my case it wasn’t just a little fleshy lump of a toe. Nope. It was complete with bones and joints — including a complete extra metatarsal structure. Which I still have, though they removed the toe itself when I was a few weeks old. This factoid has been known to get some podiatrists entirely too excited.

So, yeah, I’m some kinda mutant. Just a weird little bit of trivia to share on this Day Six of our Countdown.

Jim Downey

Jacta alea esto.*


The Kickstarter has launched:

St. Cybi’s Well – a prequel to Communion of Dreams by Jim Downey

Prequel to the popular novel Communion of Dreams. Get an early release download or a hand-bound copy in your choice of cover material.

I was surprised a bit yesterday when one of my friends — an artist, even — asked what “Kickstarter” is. I guess I’ve been so wrapped up in paying attention to it for the last year or so that I had just assumed that it was something commonly understood. But if you’re not sure, here’s the basic description from Kickstarter:

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects.

We believe that:

• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.

• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.

Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.

There’s a lot more there on the site. But basically, it is a way to crowd-fund a creative project. In my case, I’m trying to use it as a substitute for a traditional “advance” from a conventional publisher by generating advance sales of my next novel. But since I also have a fairly unusual set of skills as a bookbinder, I’m also able to offer something fairly unique: a limited edition of hand-bound books. This edition will be printed differently, in a manner which will allow for me to fold and then sew actual signatures rather than relying on machine ‘perfect binding’ as you typically find in paperbacks. These book will also be in hardcover, with a variety of different selection of covering material and design. The full information is there on the Kickstarter page.

This is a big deal for me. I’ve been thinking about doing this since early this year, as I watched the response to Communion of Dreams. It was clear that many people enjoyed that book, and one of the most common things which showed up in reviews and discussions was when/whether my next book would be available.

There are many challenges for me here. One is just seeing what the actual level of support for my writing is, which to some extent is expressed by how successful the Kickstarter is. Another is pushing me to actually concentrate on completing St. Cybi’s Well, and proving to myself and the world that Communion of Dreams wasn’t some kind of fluke. Doing the bookbinding won’t be a problem, but it still needs to be attended to. And there are the ongoing promotional matters which require time, energy, and the willingness to engage as something of a public person — no small feat for someone who is as much an introvert as I am.

Yesterday I said thanks for helping me get to this point. And I mean that, most sincerely. Any further help you can give by sharing news of the Kickstarter would be greatly appreciated. And likewise, anyone who wants to kick in some money on the Kickstarter will earn my personal gratitude above and beyond whatever ‘rewards’ they choose.

Now we’ll  see how the game plays out.

Jim Downey

*Full explanation here. I choose this version rather than the more common one precisely because in this instance it isn’t a matter of a single roll of the dice being cast, but rather of the game being started.

Leaving pennies.

Slightly cool and breezy this morning, the light rain we’d had having just moved out of our area. The dog trotted ahead, checking all the usual places for ‘messages’ left by other dogs.

“Oh, look!” My wife paused a moment, bent over and picked up a penny. It was shiny from having been rubbed on the road surface by passing cars.

* * * * * * *

So, somewhat surprisingly, and definitely suddenly, I’m going to Rome in a couple of weeks.

Yeah, Rome. As in Italy. And to environs thereabout.

You’re right – I haven’t mentioned this before. No long lead-up, as with our trip to New Zealand last fall. That’s because it just happened. Like three days ago.

So, here’s the story: A good friend is a professor of classics at a major university. He’s well known in the field, has written books and everything. Anyway, most summers he takes one or more groups over to Italy for various seminars and teaching sessions. Sometimes it’s a bunch of students from his school, gaining some extra credit/experience. Sometimes it’s high school instructors in Latin and history. It always sounds like he has a good time, and I’ve enjoyed his stories from some of these trips.

Well, as sometimes happens, at the last minute there’s an opening in the trip he’s taking next month. Since they’re committed to having a certain number of people along . . . you can see where this is headed.

Consequently, in exchange for being a warm body and helping out with some minor ‘roadie’ duties, I get to take the open seat on the bus, as it were. Minimal cost to me (which is a good thing, given how things have gone the last couple of years). Sometimes there are advantages to being self-employed: it was easy for me to convince my boss to give me some time off at such short notice.

So, yeah, Rome. With a truly expert guide to show me (and the rest of the group) the sights. Granted, I don’t really have the knowledge base to get the most out of this particular Workshop, but hey, I’m a quick study.

And while the teachers are spending time on the hardcore history stuff, I’ll have time to explore, learn, write. Such a trip will provide plenty of fodder for me to draw on for future novels.

* * * * * * *

Slightly cool and breezy this morning, the light rain we’d had having just moved out of our area. The dog trotted ahead, checking all the usual places for ‘messages’ left by other dogs.

“Oh, look!” My wife paused a moment, bent over and picked up a penny. It was shiny from having been rubbed on the road surface by passing cars. She stuck it in her pocket.

“I still do that,” I said, nodding to her pocket where the penny had disappeared.

“Pick up pennies?”

I chuckled. “Nah. Toss them out now and then. I figure others will pick them up, and for a moment feel lucky. We all need a bright spot now and again, and I figure it helps my karma.”

The dog, turning from his latest message-spot, looked back at us as if to say “C’mon guys, let’s get going.”

Jim Downey