Sort of a test anxiety dream

A new-to-me form of quasi-test-anxiety dream, from last night:

There was some sf award thing going on, and for some reason I had nominated something silly like a photocopied splotch of ink in (I think) a poetry category; and because there were only five entries in that category, my entry made it onto the final ballot, even though it was obviously a joke.

But this was a juried award, and the jury consisted entirely of the nominees. (!) So I got put on the jury. (For the whole set of awards, not just the poetry category.)

And a couple of other jury members dropped out for various reasons, leaving only three of us: me, Robert Silverberg, and someone else who I didn’t know.

So the three of us were gathered together in a room and we were supposed to vote on the nominees. But the ballot consisted only of a list of titles, and athough I knew I had read or at least skimmed everything on the ballot, I couldn’t remember anything about any of them just based on the titles.

So I asked for permission to leave the room to get my notes, and was told that to retain the integrity of the award, we weren’t allowed to do that.

So I thought about it a little (this was all complicated by my being pretty sure that I hadn‘t much liked any of the nominated works) and then told them that I couldn’t in good conscience vote at all, due to not remembering which pieces went with which titles, so I would have to resign from the jury.

But that would leave them with only two jury members, so they consulted about ways to work with me to get me reminders of which piece was which.

It turned out that Silverberg had written a kind of John-M.-Ford-like sonnet in which each line was a description of one of the nominees, so the administrators agreed that, if I would withdraw my own nominated work from consideration (which I readily agreed to do), I could look at that sonnet, although somehow that process involved carefully opening various numbered packages wrapped heavily in plastic. (Which turned out to contain the full text of the nominated works, not just the sonnet.)

The coherence (such as it was) of the dream started to break down around then, and I woke up not long after. And after a befuddled moment of figuring out that none of that had been real, I recognized the general form as having been a test anxiety dream. Except that unlike most such, (a) I had actually done the work, (b) I forthrightly explained the problem, and (c) the people in charge did their best to help me resolve things.

(See also The Last Test Anxiety Dream (final paragraph of that post).)

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