A Nightmare and A Dream
The criticisms that seem to stay with you are the ones that don't necessarily line up with the ones you can always improve. For example, one reviewer called me out on the fact that I'm working on a timeless research problem. An age old question. This is the one that stuck with me.
This review and research grant application was almost tactical in nature - to be honest. I had filed it by mistake, having only prepared the 75 pages needed - the week previous. The majority of the work I wrote into this application came from the first phase of the work that we did, and the critiques were all about that work. It was filed under the wrong grant number, in the wrong department - and to be honest, I knew that I was in a den of snakes. Well, they bit me. And the poison worked its way to my heart.
Last night I had a nightmare. It was a very scary dream. In it the CIA were trying to track me down. They confronted me with letters that I'd sent, that came back to me - that I had been so careless as to have sent without a return address or stamp or even an address on some of them. They cross examined me. Why was I sending them? Was this some kind of code. To be cross examined by the CIA in your dream - is not a pleasant dream. They are not very nice. I woke in terror at 2 am and could not fall back asleep until 3.
In fact, it was a bit well past three. My wife and I stayed up and spoke of a society I had recently joined. She cross examined me about it. She has an intuitive way about her - she was curious about this new organization that I had recently joined. It is a very old organization, and it has very old rules. I was very proud of joining it. She kept asking questions about what type of men are in it - and what happens to men , who break the rules? They were very probing questions and deserved good answers. I enjoyed talking to someone about the organization, without - at the same time, revealing what the organization was really all about. A book.. "The Lost Symbol".. sat on our bedside table.
She finally seemed satisfied with my answers, and around 3:30 am , I fell back asleep again. Fitfully. And I dreamt of Golf. I was on the first tee. It was a hard dogleg left , the fairway stretching far out and then back to a green guarded at the front with undulation and the back, by a bunker. A rocky creek lined the left side of the fairway. The dogleg was acute. I read the yardage and then noticed , below - a club suggestion. It said. Use the putter.
I looked across the tee box (which was elevated) and noticed if I hit the ball hard enough it would launch out over the rock creek and land on the green - and so steep was the grade it would roll on. A very risky shot.
At this point, I was either Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. Phil, no question - would go with the putter. I smiled. And hit the putter off the tee. It rolled down the steel hill, up and over the rocky creek, and cut the dogleg (which really folded back on itself) and then rolled up onto the green, past the cup and into the undulation behind the cup. But the undulation was so odd and steep that the ball slowly backed up. And went in.
I awoke this morning with a smile on my face.
I am ready to fix the errors in my research grant and file it in the right place. I am playing it like Phil Mickelson.. I'm not leaving anything for myself. It's all going to be out there on the course, or in the track.
Since I failed in my first round here - the funding won't be there this summer to get started on any of that work - but my idea is that if I can take another job I can fund it myself. That will mean a change in how this blog is written. I've printed out my 75 page grant and the 16 pages of critique and I'm going to be marking that up and playing around with that, instead of working here.
If you need something from this blog - just hit the donate button. I'm not hacking you - its a donate button that will go from here, to a C-class corporation that will disburse its funds into a non profit I'm steering. I would consider it one less thing to worry about - and I would be more than happy to write, and continue the work here. If you enjoy it, consider dropping whatever you would have otherwise paid for a bottle of wine, a cup of coffee and some nosh - whatever. Just drop something on the button and we'll meet you halfway and the blog will light up for a while. Someone from Texas , and another person from France - dropped about 30 each on the button and the blog ran for a week and a half off that. It should be pretty obvious by now I'm not writing this blog for personal gain. It's a form of communication between you, and me.
Make yourself something other than expendable to me, and I will make myself useful to you. My way of respecting you - as an audience, is to stop writing. This blog won't ever go private, or disappear. It just needs someone to be able to help it - like a motherless kitten - it needs food, and water. Colorless grocery money. No ads, no banners, no sponsored posts. I will be like a cat. And wait. And if there is no prey. I will sleep with one eye open.