Karma and a tale of trees


I was recently down about missing out on the uni course I applied for. My whole year was planned and then all mussed up, bro. I had dropped down to only one unit (instead of four) in my existing degree, so any study-related income vanished with my change to part time status. Eek!

Then I did that job interview the other day, the one with the writing and editing tests. I applied for it on a Friday, was called in the very next Friday to do an interview for it (same day), then did the test on the Saturday.

I started the job on Tuesday. I’m now the Managing Editor of a WA medical journal.

Still finding my feet in the position as there is a fair component of organisational stuff, as well as a heavy journalism aspect. Things are looking up, though, as I settle in.

So, karma: 1, Shane’s plans: 0.

With working full time and still studying part time, I’m not sure what this will do to my writing, but I’m sure I’ll eventually find a balance.

A metaphor: Not seeing the forest for the trees.

In more spec fic related matters, I notice everyone’s getting their last minute Ditmar nominations in. I’m seeing the process this year as a bit of an experiment, or perhaps more of a gauge of who recognises what. One thing that concerns me is the Best New Talent category. I’ve seen some names put forward by others in this category which seem very worthy to me – but I feel the need to explain a theory of mine.

People I’ve seen mentioned have come up with a good first novel or one or two good short stories which have received attention. Power to them. I see these achievements as individual trees – sleek-trunked things, always drawing the eye, some breathtaking to watch, as they reach for their patch of sunshine. A good tree is a thing of beauty, and certainly worth attention.

Now, consider those hard-working souls who have planted not one or two trees, but a whole forest. Some of these trees are just as spectacular to the eye, or at least close in quality and beauty to those individual trees standing out there basking in the sunshine, but there are just so damn many of them it’s hard to focus on one or two specific trees. The people who plant this forest have laboured long and hard to cultivate their crop.

So, given the context of something like the Best New Talent Ditmar, what should constitute a suitable nominee (or eventual winner)? The achievement of growing one or two great trees, set aside and exposing their glory to the world; or the forest which is vastly more complex and encompassing?

Now, to my specific itch. I’ve seen a comment that there are no obvious Best New Talent contenders. A forest has been grown, and many of its fruits will appear this year. It seems to me that comments like this confirm that people can really miss the forest for the trees.

The world traveller returns:

Hayley returned from her epic holiday through the UK and Europe last night. Well, this morning – about 2.30am to be precise. She and her best friend Lauren were gone for a goodly while (especially Lauren, who’d been on student exchange in Germany for a year prior to Hayley’s trip). In true household style, Hayley had prearranged to host a surprise party here for their return. So lo and behold, we’ve had twenty-odd teenagers crammed into the house since midnight. There were party poppers, streamers, and everything party-related barring the kitchen sink. The kids degenerated into loud and noisy, with every man and his dog plugging their dang i-pods and PDAs (does every kid have one of these nowadays?) into the speakers. The kids stuck around till after dawn, so we’re all looking like worn-out shags on rocks. It’s a good thing my new employers allowed me the day off (part of my conditions, you see – good ole workplace agreements!), otherwise I’d be stuffed.