Month: June 2013

Failure

Thoughts about failure seem to be in the breeze at the moment. I came across Malcolm Gladwell’s article The Gift of Doubt recently. And only this morning Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits email was titled I Failed. You may have seen The Guardian’s article in which seven writers reflect on failure. And, of course, there’s the always galvanising advice from Chuck Wendig. In his 25 Ways to be a Happy Writer he exorts us to see failure as an instruction manual. Babauta writes: Take one step. Any step. It lightens the heart. It shows you that things aren’t insurmountable or impossible. It starts to dissolve the discouragement and sadness and pain. The single step you take is the antidote to the soul-tearing effects of failure.

Onwards and upwards. Perhaps a little wiser.

Goodbye Nemo

Our dog, Nemo, died yesterday. Three days ago he was, we thought, fine. Turning cartwheels at food time and ferociously defending his turf. Two days ago he didn’t eat. We thought it was probably a bin raid gone bad. But by yesterday morning there was obviously something wrong, and by the end of yesterday he was gone. A stomach cancer that ruptured.
Nemo was a street dog that we rescued just before he was due to be put down. A staffy cross. Beautiful to people, horrible to other animals. He was the fiercest fighter in the dog lizard wars. We only had him just over a year but the hole he has left is huge. When you came home he would come to the door and greet you with a weird dog attempt at language. His tail would thump whenever he saw you. He was terrified of thunderstorms and would curl up under the desk or in the bathroom, trembling with fear. All that remains of him now is a stinky dog bed and a doggy patch in front of the heater.
I only have an old picture to post, because our computer has just died too. Although there is some hope for its uncertain resurrection.
I hope the wheel starts its upward turn soon.
Nemo and Pipper

The Milgram experiment

Listening to psychologist Gina Perry discuss the Milgram experiment was one of the catalysts for my novel Creatures of Anise. (which exists only in ethereal form atm) io9 recently posted an article which briefly describes the controversial experiment and links to Perry’s book Behind the Shock Machine.

As interesting and as troubling as the experiment is itself, what I was really struck by was Perry’s account of the reactions of the participants, particularly those who had chosen to administer what they thought was an electric shock. (Nobody I listened to had thought that they had killed somebody as the io9 article suggests) However, the knowledge that they had made the decision to hurt someone, no matter what the context, and the damning, judgmental comments afterwards by those who had administered the experiment stayed with those participants all their lives. How quick we are to judge others. How easily we can fail, even at the tests we give ourselves.