Friday, March 24, 2006

The Agony of Success, the Thrill of Defeat

My fantasy short "A Time to Every Purpose" made the quarter-finals in L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future contest. According to the e-mail from the Contest Administrator, that means it placed in the top 10-15% of all entries received for that quarter. The judges were Anne McCaffrey, Robert Silverberg, Yoji Kondo, Algis Budrys and K.D. Wentworth, so I feel pretty good about that. Now I'm off to research markets and see who's accepting fantasy right now. This one needs a good home.

I never cease to be puzzled by the way we writers get so much pleasure from "good" failures like this, yet our successes leave us afraid that we will never be able to equal them again. There's a really interesting psychology at work there. I think it really is a case of the journey meaning more than the destination.

Maybe it's just me, though. Anybody that's been around here very long know what a complete weirdo I am. Well, I'm off to celebrate my failure and stress about the possibility of success. What a life.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Past Life Experiences

Your past life diagnosis:
I don't know how you feel about it, but you were female in your last earthly incarnation.
You were born somewhere in the territory of modern USA North-East around the year 1125.
Your profession was that of a farmer, weaver or tailor.

Your brief psychological profile in your past life:
Seeker of truth and wisdom. You could have seen your future lives. Others perceived you as an idealist illuminating path to future.

The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:
Your lesson is the development and expansion of your mental consciousness. Find a good teacher and spend a good part of your time and energy on learning from his wisdom.

Do you remember now?

Interesting. Lots here for me to like. Only question: if I saw this life coming, could I have left a message for myself? Sounds like a good excuse to go to Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine and wander around seeking truth and wisdom. Or a good teacher, whichever.

Link from PBW.

Sleeping With Strangers

I had my sleep study done last night, though how much study they got done is questionable given the amount of sleep I got. I don't do well in a strange environment with all kinds of electrodes and other dingleberries attached to me. The final total of hardware that I had to wear was:

  • 5 EEG leads on my scalp. During the 4 hours or so I did manage to sleep, I had some awfully funky dreams. That readout should be interesting.

  • 2 sensors attached behind my ears so they could listen to my snoring. I'm sure they got an earful of that.

  • 2 sensors (1 on each side) to detect and measure jaw clenching and teeth grinding.

  • 2 ECG sensors on my upper back

  • 2 sensors on each leg below the knee to see how much I thrash around

  • 1 belt around my chest to measure heartbeat

  • 1 belt around my abdomen to measure breathing rate and volume

  • 1 sensor stuck in my nose so they could tell when and how long I might stop breathing. This one was similar to those oxygen tubes with the elastic band that goes around your head. Damned aggravating.

  • 1 pulse-ox sensor taped to the index finger of my left hand

When I got out of bed this morning, I expected to hear a mad scientist crying "It's alive! It's alive!". I sure had the personality of a monster. I don't do mornings well as it is. At 5am this morning, I was not a happy camper. And the glue from the EEG sensors left me the worst case of pillow-hair in history. And I forgot to bring a cap, so I had to walk through the hospital like that. I could practically see the townspeople scurrying for cover as I stalked out.

On top of all that, there was a closed-circuit video camera recording every sound and movement. Hope they at least got some good movies.

Now I wait and let the doctors try to figure out if they can do anything to help me sleep. I sure hope so. I don't even remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed and rested. I know it's been a lot of years.

That's one Damoclean sword out of the way, anyway. Onward.