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1001. Try, Try Again

So this week I sent out six new agent queries. I'll do more next week; it takes a lot of time to explore agents and pick those who you think will connect with your writing. I feel good about it, even though statistically speaking I likely won't end up with any of them as my agent. I am pretty sure I'm not the only one who gets frustrated by this merry-go-round of submissions and rejections. Why do we keep doing it?

I'll tell you why I keep doing it. I am not interested in self publishing. I have nothing against it, per se. It gains more and more credibility every year as a viable path. But I want to write. I don't want to negotiate contracts, pay for my books to be printed, market all by myself. I just want to write my books. So I keep doing it. (I will say that most of the self-pubbed books I've read have not been of the same caliber as traditionally pubbed books. This isn't to say it's not possible, but traditional publishers have teams of people who work on your book. It's bound to improve the quality of the thing. I should also add that I edit for self-publishing authors, and I think those who hire an editor end up with a much better book.)

I have several friends who were almost at the end of their proverbial ropes when they finally signed with an agent and sold one or more books to traditional publishers. Their stories lift my spirits when I want to give up.

Here are a few of things I've learned over my many long years of writing, submitting, being rejected, and trying again.

1. If the same work keeps getting rejected, maybe it's time to set it aside and work on something new. I know for a fact that each book I write is better than the last. And every time, I think this one is it, until it's not. Each one teaches me something I didn't understand before. So don't put all your eggs in that one basket.

2. I am confident that I am a good writer. Maybe even a great writer. I know this because I go to a lot of workshops, conferences, retreats, and critique groups with professionals, and they tell me this. Also because I've been practicing for a very long time. Also because I read by the ton, and I know what's out there. Also, because I have no ego left, so I can assess my own writing in a fairly unbiased way.

3. It's a good thing that some of the agents and editors I've submitted to have rejected me. As mentioned, I been in this rodeo quite a long time, and I've seen the big stall that can happen to a writer with an agent who isn't right for them. Inevitably, that partnership ends, and one has to start all over. As I have gotten to know some of the agents I once thought would be perfect for me, I cry happy tears that they didn't sign me.

4. Agents are just people. Very fallible people. Very nice people. Professional people. But there is nothing to be afraid of. I have given up the role of sweet little author who needs the help of an agent (if that ever was me), and I have started being completely myself when I query and submit. I tell people straight out what I want, what I'm willing to do, and what my vision for a particular book is. I am too old to tiptoe around, hoping my good behavior will get me in the door. You know that saying about well behaved women rarely making history? That.

5. Even when nothing happens, something is happening. I spent the last year hoping to nail down a particular agent. She asked for fulls of two manuscripts, read them, sent back copious editorial notes. I spent two months revising one manuscript per her notes, resubmitted at her request, and waited. For six months. Nothing. All my writing friends said to move on, which I am doing. But that was a good experience, because it gave me more confidence, revision notes to work with, and some good revisions came out of it.

6. Never, ever sit around and wait for that reply. Be working on new things and revising old things and researching and everything else. It gives me so much energy to be working on the next, new, shiny manuscript that I can forget there is ever one making the rounds out there. It keeps me from obsessing or worrying. It keeps me moving forward and writing better books.

I wish us all the best luck this year in achieving our writing and publishing dreams.




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1002. Julia's House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

Ben Hatke has written a picture book! Julia's House of Lost Creatures has all that makes his graphic novel trilogy, Zita the Spacegirl, Legends of Zita and The Return of Zita, absolutely winning - strong girl character, cute (and sometimes creepy) creatures and a strong sense of family - and more. Hatke begins Julia's House of Lost Creatures with the sentence, "Julia's house came to

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1003. '3-a-day' Sketch Challenge


There is a fun game going round at the moment on Facebook, where people are nominating sketchers whose work they admire to take part in a posting project. You have to choose 3 sketches to post each day for 5 days. Every day you also choose a favourite sketcher of your own to nominate.


I was nominated by an Urban Sketchers friend, Beliza Mendes, from Luxembourg, who did the sketch above. I'm a bit busy right now (you have probably noticed that I am blogging a little less often than usual), but luckily I have so many pre-scanned sketches that it wasn't a problem to take part. 


I started the challenge on Sunday, with my favourite 3 sketches from the SketchCrawl at the Hat Works. I nominated a member of our Usk Yorkshire group, Paul Gent, who does really beautiful sketches, mostly of the Derbyshire area, where he lives: 



Unfortunately, there was a bit of a hiccough the very next day and I didn't get my 2nd set of sketches posted. John and I had a horrendous drive to and from a school in Telford - over 3 hours each way. Because of the traffic, I was late, so I worked half my lunch break to catch up. Then I signed books for an hour before the long drive back and was simply too shattered to go near the computer when we got home. Not a good start!


I did two posts on Tuesday to make up for it. I thought it would be fun to compare 3 of my older train sketches, from when I used to draw with just a 3B pencil (no colour at all, which seems incredible now) with 3 more recent train sketches, after colour became really important to me and I got so excited by my Inktense watercolour pencils: 


Tuesday's nomination from my fellow sketchers was Rolf Schroeter, from Berlin. He's someone else who often draws people and in a really exciting and dynamic way:



Next up for my 3-a-day: my passion for landscape sketching. A few years ago, when I began exploring all different media, I discovered that I love applying the same kind of expressive mark-making to hills, valleys and skies. There are so many interesting shapes and patterns to explore:


On Wednesday I was delighted to nominate Melanie Riem, who does wonderfully evocative landscapes, but can draw pretty much anything and make it equally enticing: 



For the final day, I decided to feature sketches of architecture. I used to draw buildings years ago, before I felt confident about sketching people. I went off them and avoided architecture for years, but got back into it a couple of years ago, when I realised that I could bring the same expressive style to bear and didn't have to worry about accurate measuring and perspective. Now I forget all that and just have fun:



On my final day, I nominated Nina Johansson from Sweden, who does the most exquisite drawings and paintings, often in very cold conditions. It might have been her that once told me that Vodka stops your watercolours freezing (!):


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1004. Self-Talking Yourself Into Being a Better Writer, A Better Marketer

I’ve long believed the benefits of positive thinking and positive projection. Now, in line with these philosophies, there is positive self-talk. In an article at NPR.com, “Why Saying is Believing,” it explains the importance of not only talking to yourself, but how you talk to yourself. Researchers delved into the influence that referring to the ‘self’ has on how the individual thinks, feels,

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1005. An Ember in the Ashes, by Sabaa Tahir | Advanced Reader Copy Giveaway

The Children’s Book Review | January 16 Enter to win an autographed advance reader copy of An Ember in the Ashes (Razorbill, April 28, 2015), by Sabaa Tahir, and a T-shirt. One (1) winner receives  An advanced reader copy of An Ember in the Ashes autographed by Sabaa Tahir. An Ember in the Ashes T-shirt. Age Range: 12 and up Giveaway begins January 16, […]

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1006. pick up an object & write




I liked
Amy's idea and Hope's spoon
so much last Friday
that it carried me
like a weebling egg
to this:




Scoop

scoop of my heart
in a crude wooden spoon
scoop of my heart
soured and soon there

will be nothing left
no sweetness or cream
bowl will be empty
empty will dream of

scoops of white foam
spoonfuls of fizz
filling my heartbowl
where yearning is

HM 2015
all rights reserved


Go live at Live Your Poem today with Irene and the rest of the Poetry Friday crowd.  How I miss you all between Fridays!

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1007. The Paper Samurai, by Rebecca Lippa | Press Release

The Children’s Book Review | January 16, 2015 Author Showcase The Paper Samurai By Rebecca Lippa Reading Age: 6-10 Paperback: 148 pages Publisher: Old Line Publishing, LLC (March 20, 2014) ISBN-13: 978-1939928085 When Hana and Akio discover that their hideout is being used for a heist, by a former caretaker of the local archive, they uncover mysteries from their families’ […]

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1008. Call For Volunteers: Will You Help?

Can you believe the March SOLSC is just over a month away? We hope you will join us and if you are feeling extra adventurous consider being a volunteer to help with this endeavor!

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1009. Pick of the Week for NEFARIOUS and This Week’s Topic

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Happy Friday!

We’re excited to announce this week’s topic, but first please enjoy the illustration above by Adam Munoa, our Pick of the Week for last week’s topic of ‘NEFARIOUS’. Thanks to everyone else for participating. We hope it was inspiring!

You can also see a gallery of all the other entries here.

And of course, you can now participate in this week’s topic:

TOY

Here’s how:

Step 1: Illustrate your interpretation of the current week’s topic (always viewable on the homepage).

Step 2: Post your image onto your blog / flickr / facebook, etc.

Step 3: Come back to Illustration Friday and submit your illustration (see big “Submit your illustration” button on the homepage).

Step 4: Your illustration will then be added to the participant gallery where it will be viewable along with everyone else’s from the IF community!

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to our weekly email newsletter to keep up with our exciting community updates!

HAPPY ILLUSTRATING!

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1010. As You Wish: Review Haiku

Pointless fluff in its
most charming form.
Anybody want a peanut?

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes and Joe Layden. Touchstone, 2014, 272 pages.

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1011. SPRING SUMMER 2015 - tesco

Tesco will also be going for geometric designs this spring summer and in one collection teaming them up with stylised bird illustrations. Here is a sneak preview of some of their forthcoming designs which will be in stores and online soon.

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1012. Winnie: the true story of the bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker

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1013. Akutagawa and Naoki prizes

       They've announced the winners of the Akutagawa and Naoki prizes -- two of the leading Japanese literary prizes --; see, for example, the Kyodo report, Ono wins Akutagawa literary award; Nishi wins Naoki Prize, at The Japan Times.

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1014. A Motown music playlist

On 12 January 1959, Berry Gordy, Jr. founded Tamla Records in Detroit, Michigan. A year later it would be incorporated with a new name that became synonymous with a sound, style, and generation of music: Motown. All this week we’re looking the great artists and tracks that emerged from those recording studios. Previously, we spoke to Charles Randolph-Wright, the Director of Broadway’s Motown the Musical, which closes on Sunday, 18 January 2015; Larvester Gaither examined the role of Duets, Girl Groups, and Solo artists in Motown.

More than half a century after its founding, Motown is still remembered by fans, musicians, and historians as the mover and shaker of its generation. From The Temptations’ “My Girl” to Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine,” its reverberating influence is recognized even today, echoed in modern hits like Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ wildly popular “Uptown Funk.” Revisit the soulful croons, hypnotic hooks, and infectious beats that kickstarted not only a record label, but a revolutionary musical movement. Get on up and move your feet to these funky grooves and classic Motown beats!

 

Headline image credit: 1960s music studio. CC0 via Pixabay.

The post A Motown music playlist appeared first on OUPblog.

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1015. SPRING SUMMER 2015 - bhs

And finally today we have an advanced look at a new SS2015 collection for BHS. 'Colombia Road', named after the famous London flower market, is a colourful range of homewares with a vintage feel. Large Folky blooms and birds feature across bedding, kitchen and decor.

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1016. ‘Flow’ by Mathijs Demaeght

A mourning girl makes an unexpected friend when a white wolf takes her through a mysterious portal on a journey to confront her grief. A journey about loneliness, grief, friendship and love all in one big flow.

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1017. Book Blogger Hop - 1/16 - 1/21

 Question of the Week:


Do you feel comfortable enough approaching a stranger when you see he/she is reading a book to ask what they are reading?

My Answer:

Oh yes....I do that all the time. :)

I think readers are flattered when you ask what they are reading, and it definitely starts a wonderful conversation.

I love finding new titles and new book lovers to talk to.  I have yet to find one with a blog, though.  

What about you?  Have you found a reader on the train, on a plane, in the airport, or anywhere that you talked to?







 



















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1018. Poetry Friday -- Languages



I'm between audio books right now, so I'm catching up on podcasts of the NPR TED Radio Hour. Earlier in the week, I was listening to the program, "Playing with Perceptions." One segment features academic activist and poet Jamila Lyiscott. She's a first-generation American. Her parents are from Trinidad and she grew up in Crown Heights in Brooklyn. She's working on her PhD in Literature and Race at Columbia and describes herself as a "tri-tongued orator."

When she was about 19, she was asked to be a guest on an academic panel. After participating in her very best, most polished Academic English, a woman came up to her and told her she was very "articulate."

This is the poem she wrote in response to that experience.



The transcript is here if you'd rather read the poem.

I'm thinking hard about checking my perceptions at the door, especially when it comes to the languages my students speak.


Irene has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at Live Your Poem.




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1019. Jerusalem Prize to Ismail Kadare

       The biennial Jerusalem Prize, awarded at the Jerusalem Book Fair (8 to 12 February this year), will go to Ismail Kadare (Twilight of the Eastern Gods, etc.) this year; see, for example the reports in the Times of Israel and Haaretz.

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1020. ‘Persia’ and the western imagination

Iran has long had a difficult relationship with the West. Ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 overthrew the monarchy and established an Islamic Republic, Iran has been associated in the popular consciousness with militant Islam and radical anti-Westernism. ‘Persia’ by contrast has long been a source of fascination in the Western imagination eliciting both awe and contempt that only familiarity can bring. Indeed if ‘Iran’ seems altogether alien to us, ‘Persia’ seems strangely familiar. There are few cultural icons or aspirations that we would associate with Iran; there are by contrast quite a few we would relate to Persia, most obviously carpets, the occasional cat and for the truly affluent, caviar. That these two words would elicit such dramatically different associations is all the more striking because they are describing the same place. Persia is simply the name inherited from the Greeks and the Romans for the great empire to the East that its inhabitants came to know as ‘Iran’. Persia, from the province of Pars, was not unknown to the Iranians but they would not have used it to apply to the entirety of their state.

Yet Persia reminds us that Iran is not as unfamiliar to us as we might imagine. Quite the contrary. The Persians serve an almost unique function in the Western narrative, being present at the birth and some might argue, the creation of a distinctly Western civilisation. If the Greeks under the influence of Herodotus, first defined history as a conflict between ‘East’ and ‘West’, identified as the Persian and the Greeks, it was a model reinforced with some vigour by the Romans whose own political expediency ensured that many nuances in the relationship were smoothed out to provide a reassuring narrative of confrontation between an increasingly civilised West and barbaric East. Yet if the Romans held up the Persians as a mirror upon which to reflect their own glories, the mirror was never quite as untarnished as its proponents would have liked to believe: the Persians were never quite the antithesis of the West that some sought to portray. The relationship, as the Greeks might have protested, was a good deal more subtle and a great deal more intimate.

This is perhaps best exemplified by the attitude towards the Persian king Cyrus the Great, widely admired in the Greek world as the ideal king whose political wisdom was fictionalised for posterity by Xenophon in his Cyropaedia, or ‘Education of Cyrus’. Cyrus, real or imagined was to have a profound influence on the political elites of the Western world from the renaissance through to the Enlightenment, while his role as a ‘messiah’ in the Old Testament has ensured an enduring affection among Christians, intriguingly among the Protestant variety that populated North America where the name remains popular.

Charles_Montesquieu
Charles Montesquieu, by After Jacques-Antoine Dassier (1715–1759). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Indeed the ancient Persians, for all their antagonism retained nobility that made them attractive to their Western protagonists. So much so, that when Montesquieu sought ‘discussants’ to critique the condition of Western – in this case French – state and society, he produced his ‘Persian Letters’. The Persians in the Western imagination were sufficiently ‘civilised’ to perform this role. They were educated and had good ‘manners’; were proficient in poetry to the highest standard and, as Cyrus himself exemplified, were masters of the art of landscape gardening, indicative of man’s power over and connection with nature. Indeed the Old Persian word for walled garden has given us our word for ‘paradise’.

It is striking how many Renaissance princes sought to emulate these characteristics and achievements. Yet by the end of the Enlightenment, as Western power grew to surpass that of the Persians, and travellers became reacquainted with the country and its people, old prejudices were redefined for the modern era. The Iranians were not quite like the Persians of their imagination but there was a convenient explanation to hand. The Persians of old were undoubtedly civilised but they had succumbed to decadence and hence decay. They had in sum become excessively civilised and indulgent; exotic yet effete. This explained their predicament and reconciled the apparent contradiction of being both civilised and barbarous at the same time.

Gibbon, perhaps like Herodotus before him, had found a means of reconciling contradictory tendencies, not only in defining the Persians but in explaining the Western relationship with them. A relationship that has been far from confrontational and much more symbiotic than some might suspect. Persia represents at once an ideal and the dangers ever-present in the corruption of that ideal. Persia – and by extension Iran – has been part of the grand narrative of the ‘West’ since its inception: it is neither as alien, nor indeed as foreign, as we may like to think.

Featured image credit: Apadana of Persepolis, by F. Ameli A Persian. CC BY-SA-2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

The post ‘Persia’ and the western imagination appeared first on OUPblog.

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1021. Morning Mailbag: Changes, Rarities, and Surprises

In a given day I dive through gobs of mail.  Boxes of books from publishers for myself, my current co-workers, my former co-workers, this blog, you name it.  And since I pay attention to what’s being buzzed, I notice oddities.  In this new series I’ll show you some of the more interesting fare.  The items being published for kids that it’s possible you haven’t heard about yet.

I keep this book on my desk at all times.  It amuses me.  Deeply.  If ever I am feeling down or out, all I need to do is to look at this “boyfriend” flip-a-book where you construct “the perfect guy” ala Frankenstein by flipping through different eyes and hair and smiles.  It’s so shameless that it perks me up instantly.

I wouldn’t have recognized her if I hadn’t read the titles.  Oh, Leila Roy, whatever will you think?

Latino heroine in a middle grade fantasy novel.  Honestly, is there any more you need me to say? This I took home.

And just in case my kids need to experience magic mushrooms without any real chemical influence . . . .

Voila!  New Herve Tullet board books from Phaidon!  My daughter is addicted to this series.  She “reads” them to herself all the time.  When she finds out that there are more, I expect her to do the three-year-old equivalent of a happy freak out.

And finally . . .

It’s a good thing I’m not going to ALA Midwinter later this month.  I’d probably just lollygag around the Eerdmans booth next to this book asking passersby “Don’t YOU think this looks like Roger Sutton?”  The truth of the matter is that the book is a Belgian import, so if Roger really was the inspiration then his influence is far vaster than we ever suspected.

That was fun!  I’ll try to keep it up regularly.  Just a spot of color on a dreary Friday for you.

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1022. Perfect Picture Book Friday - Blue On Blue

Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!

There's nothing like days on end of temperatures in the single digits to make me think about summer :)  So today's book is about a summer thunderstorm which clears off into a starry night.  I hope you'll enjoy this pretty, pretty book!

Title: Blue On Blue
Written By: Dianne White
Illustrated By: Beth Krommes
Beach Lane Books, December 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: publisher says 5-8, I think younger would enjoy too.

Themes/Topics: poetry, weather (thunderstorms), nature, colors

Opening: "Cotton clouds.  Morning light.  Blue on blue.  White on white.  Singing, swinging outdoor play.  White on blue on sunny day."

Brief Synopsis: This lovely book shows both the course of a family's day on a New England farm from morning through bedtime, and the change of weather from a sunny morning, through darkening clouds, to rain and thunder, and finally clearing skies, sunset, and a "silver night."


Links To Resources: Color Lesson Plans (Marble Art, Beautiful Butterfly Prints, Awesome Octopus, Trying Out Art); make your own scratchboards; Weather for Kids.  You could also make your own art projects based on the descriptions in the story (e.g. cotton clouds on blue sky).

Why I Like This Book: This is such a lovely book!  The story is simple, but poetic.  It takes you through a child's day, and includes elements of color, weather, and life on a New England farm (including animals :)). The day starts out sunny, but a storm comes up.  The child hides under the covers during the worst of the storm, but after the rain stops, the child, the puppy, and the little piggies have a wonderful time in the mud :)  The story finishes with a bath outside for the puppy, and a bath inside for the child, and sweet dreams under a starry night.  The lyrical, rhyming language is fun to read aloud, and the rhythm of the language mimics the rhythm of rain dripping, then pounding, then lightening, and finally stopping.  The scratchboard and watercolor art, done by Caldecott Medalist Beth Krommes, is absolutely gorgeous.  I encourage you to check this one out!


For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF bloggers please be sure to leave your post-specific link in the list below so we can all come visit you!  I can't wait to see what you've chosen this week!

Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)


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1023. SPRING 2015 - next directory

Today I am featuring some of the new Spring Summer designs which will soon be appearing in the shops. A copy of the new Next Directory catalogue recently arrived at my door and two collections caught my eye Geo and Retro Flower. The mid-centruy modern style designs  feature on curtains, blinds, cushions, wallpaper and bathroom co-ordinates.

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1024. “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”: perceptual errors and inattentional blindness

“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you.” It’s a common refrain heard after many a road-traffic collision. So common, in fact, that if you say “SMIDSY” to a UK motorcyclist, they’ll most likely wince and offer a story of how they or a colleague came to grief. Perhaps you’ve had SMIDSY said to you, or even had to utter those words yourself?

SMIDSY describes the all-too-common type of motorbike accident when a car pulls out at an intersection. The driver’s sure that the road is clear, but discovers too late that something is coming. Even if you haven’t been involved in such an incident, you can probably recall some occasion on which you were driving and had a near miss with a car or bike you’d swear wasn’t there a moment ago.

It turns out that these sorts of events might be more complicated than first appear. It’s quite possible for you to look right at the other vehicle, but for your brain to fail to process the information associated with it. These sorts of situational awareness failures may in fact result from a well-described, but not well-known, psychological phenomenon called “inattentional blindness”.

Most people believe their senses work a bit like a video camera. You direct attention towards an object and your brain automatically and reliably records. Although this is our day-to-day experience, perception is in reality a much more active process, with a number of filters operating between information arriving, and you becoming consciously aware of it.

A potentially limitless amount of information exists in the environment around you, but little of it is relevant from moment to moment. Rather than ‘clutter up’ consciousness with a surfeit of useless information, the subconscious monitors these unnecessary items and only ‘alerts’ the consciousness when something relevant occurs.

Under normal circumstances your brain is fairly efficient at subconsciously monitoring events around you. Imagine holding a conversation in a noisy restaurant: you are probably only consciously aware of the conversation you are directly involved in (your primary task), but if your name is mentioned elsewhere, you will turn around to find out why. Your brain has been subconsciously monitoring that stream of conversation, and when something personally relevant occurs (your name is a very powerful trigger, carrying a high degree of ‘cognitive saliency’) you can devote your attention to it.

Problems occur when you have to concentrate harder on a primary task. The more cognitive demands placed on you, the narrower your focus becomes. It’s surprising how big an event you might miss: the classic demonstration of this effect is known as the “Invisible Gorilla” and was devised by Harvard psychologists Dan Simons and Christopher Chabris in 1999. Observers were asked to follow two teams of basketball players, counting the passes made by one of the teams. Caught up in the counting task, 50% of the participants failed to notice as a collaborator, dressed in a gorilla costume, marched between the players and stopped to beat her chest before marching out again. Making the primary task more difficult, by asking the observers to count bounce- and aerial-passes separately, caused the noticing rate to fall to 33%. Most observers were inattentionally blind to the gorilla and many expressed shock when shown their error, some even accusing the experimenters of showing two different videos. Although these perceptual errors are an innate and universal feature of human cognitive architecture, it’s a common finding that insight into their effects is very poor. Almost everyone significantly overestimates their ability to notice the unexpected.

Increasing workload has been well described as a risk for this form of perceptual error. Interestingly, people with professional basketball experience are much more likely to notice the gorilla in the Simons video, but athletes from other disciplines perform much as the general public does. Whilst expertise is certainly protective to a degree (although does not eliminate the risk altogether), it does seem to be very task-specific.

How does inattentional blindness affect medical practice? The short answer is that no-one really knows. High-profile disasters such as the case of Elaine Bromiley make vivid reminders of the devastating consequences of medical errors, however, it is well recognized that daily errors occur in every institution around the world. In the UK, errors account for 2.5% of the national health budget annually.

Loss of situational awareness is thought to be the leading cause of error in time-critical situations, and there can be no doubt that clinicians labor under mentally taxing circumstances. Of course, doctors are well trained. Training brings expertise, and surely expertise protects against perceptual error? Possibly, but perhaps not to the extent that you might expect.

A few studies have looked into inattentional blindness in medical personnel, mainly by showing people items such as radiographs with a gorilla superimposed. These experiments showed large numbers of even experienced staff miss the anomaly. Our group in Oxford took this a little further, creating a recording of an adult resuscitation scenario into which we inserted a series of events, designed to test for the presence of different types of perceptual error. We showed this video to a more than 140 people and demonstrated that overall, more than seven people in ten missed events that would contribute to poor patient outcome (were they to be missed in ‘real life’). As one might expect, experts in the group (all experienced, accredited instructors of adult resuscitation) did perform better. In their case around six in ten missed it…

So does this prove that inattentional blindess is a problem for us, as experienced clinicians? Not yet, but it does raise some questions about how reliably individuals can maintain situational awareness, and offers some insight into the mechanisms by which even highly trained personnel might make mistakes. By research, using tools such as high-fidelity simulation, we can start to investigate how frequently perceptual errors actually do contribute to loss of situational awareness, who is most vulnerable to these effects, and most importantly, how can we mitigate them.

Heading image: Optics: page to a partwork on science, with pictures of optical phenomena. Coloured lithograph by J. Emslie, 1850. CC BY 4.0 via Wellcome Images.

The post “Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”: perceptual errors and inattentional blindness appeared first on OUPblog.

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