Despite all evidence to the contrary, I was surprised that among the 1,316 prose applicants to the NEA this year, I was not among the 38 chosen. Those seemed like such reasonable odds to me, and I was surprised at how few had applied and how many had been short listed. But, alas, it wasn't to be. I wonder: after so many years rejected, what makes a person go on believing so strongly that each submission is going to end in success? Any ideas on this, mice? Surely, if anybody has the answer it will be among your legion.