Just over a year ago, on October 28, 2008, I had a dream that is still changing my life.
My first publisher, Jim Baen, who died on June 28, 2006, paid me a visit.
Now, I’m not pagan, Christian, or otherwise religious in any way, shape, or form. I’m not a believer in things. I’m not a fan of faith, which to me is the denial of the provable and rational in favor of the unprovable and irrational.
I do NOT, however, think that humans are just animated meat. I think that we are creatures of energy AND flesh, and that when the flesh falls apart, the energy goes on.
In what form this energy that we were goes on, I don’t know. I have some speculations based on areas of science I follow, but they’re only that, and worthless beyond my own personal interest.
However, while I’m waiting for scientific proof in either direction, I’m willing to play with my theory, and consider it as rationally possible as the theory of oblivion at the moment of death, which does not deal in any fashion with what happens to the energy of life.
I’m willing to consider that, along with the possibility that my subconscious had a brilliant idea while I was sleeping and found a way to make it unforgettable, I also could have experienced something real on October 28th of last year.
Either way, it’s Halloween, traditionally time to acknowledge the dead, and I would like to take this moment to set out a metaphorical place at the table for Jim Baen.
I’m still writing the book that came from that dream. The idea I got that night is still something that at times leaves me trembling with the potential power of the story, if I can only find the craft within myself to realize that potential.
And whether the idea came from Jim, or whether my subconscious used him as a highly effective attention-getter, he is in my thoughts today. And whether the experience was real or metaphorical, I offer my thanks for it.
And I miss you, Jim.
Interesting! You mentioned the afterlife as a form of energy. I have given this idea a lot of after-thought over the years. The spirit is somehow connected to breath of life and our ability of thinking. Perhaps this could be considered in a sphere of supernatural energy. We are a life-form in the physical aspect of existence, where our bodies are constantly generating energy. Life is energy! For example, the heart produces enough energy in a 24-hour day to lift your body mass to the top of the Empire State Building. That stat certainly astonished me years ago.
Back in the 1920’s this man (I cannot recall his name) had done some unlawful experiments on the brains of living people. He came to the conclusion, after many experiments, there was something living outside the brain. He was amazed by his findings, though he never understood it. Yeah, this is creepy stuff.
I’ve always loved your writing. The idea that you and Jim thought up a new book is something I will look eagerly forward to being published.
Jim was a major force in the world of science fiction and fantasy publishing and I thank you for sharing again this story.
I remember when you first posted your dream, and it’s really inspiring to see how much you still love it. My dearest respect goes out to Jim.