Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Wait

Due to fortuitous timing, my life is in somewhat of a holding pattern at the moment. There are three upcoming events that I can do nothing more than wait for. I will list them now in order of my increasing impotence to influence.

A week ago, I submitted a short story to a magazine. They say their average response time is five weeks, which means I have to wait another four weeks until they send me my rejection notice. With any luck, it will be a personal rejection.

This is the first story I’ve submitted for publication in several years. I think it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever written, and I know it’s decent enough to be published, but I shouldn’t fool myself into thinking that the first (or fifth, or tenth) publication I send it to will agree with me.

I was spurred into finally submitting a short story because a very good friend of mine just made her first sale. Unlike me, she’s been submitting non-stop for most of this year. Also unlike me, she’s been sending her stories to the myriad online magazines that have sprung up in recent years. I’ve sent my story, an 8,000-word behemoth, to the magazine for science fiction, because I have delusions of grandeur, apparently.

Moving on to the second item on my list, October is when I am supposed to hear back from the 4-year school I’m hoping to attend this coming spring. Their answer, unlike the magazine I’m submitting to, should be a positive one. Theoretically, I’m enrolled in a transfer program between my community college and the university that guarantees my admission so long as I keep my grades up and yada yada.

I’ve done all that, but I was still required to submit an application along with everyone else that wants to attend the school. And I’ve still been required to wait until now to receive word on my admission. All this waiting has me doubting how guaranteed my admission really is, but I’m still optimistic that the wait amounts to nothing more than a slow-moving bureaucracy. We’ll see.

Additionally, assuming I am admitted to the university, I then have to figure out how I’m paying for my schooling (community college is much cheaper) and how well my community college transcript transfers to my 4-year school. The hassle over figuring out what classes count as what could make for a whole other post. I haven’t decided yet whether I want to bore my three readers with the details.

And finally, as I hinted at in my last post, I’m a government contractor currently experiencing the joys of a government shutdown. So I’m waiting for our duly elected leaders to do their jobs and let me do my job. This is decidedly not a political blog, and I don’t want to get mired in partisan debates, but I have to say that I would much rather a system that doesn’t grind to a halt whenever opposing sides fail to reach an agreement.

There are a lot of theoretical alternatives to the system of representative democracy that we have, but I honestly don’t know enough about the subject to know which one would be better. Each system has pros and cons, and it is my limited understanding that no form of democracy is capable of perfectly representing the will of the people. If that’s the case, what hope is there for the future of civilization? Well, we can hope for an increasingly less imperfect future, I suppose. Or, to return to the SF side of things, we could just ask Hari Seldon to plan out the future for us.

The one political statement I’ll make here is that I never got over the wonder of Asimov’s psychohistory. I am a firm proponent of technocracy and the idea that, sometimes, it’s better to let experts make decisions about complex topics. Where I think democracy has its place is in ensuring that people are allowed to choose the type of society they want to live in. But if they really do want to live in society X, then they should let capable experts create society X first.

Okay, I think that’s enough pontificating for now. Is there some deeper connection between the three things I’m waiting for? Some thread that ties it all together? A concept from physics or mathematics that I can clumsily wield as an analogy? Nope. Sorry. Not this time.

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