Monday, January 30, 2012

Okay. Back to Work. Guiding Principle the Eighth


Oh gosh. This can be SOOOOOO hard to do. Especially when you really, really, really, really, really want something someone else has.

True Story. A few (maybe even 15?) years ago I was consumed by envy of another writer* who shall remain nameless. But I will mention that she is incredibly talented. Also physically beautiful. Also downright kind. WHY DO TALENTED, BEAUTIFUL WRITERS ALSO HAVE TO BE DOWNRIGHT KIND? IT MAKES THEM SO HARD TO HATE.

Anyway, my career felt like it was going nowhere at the same time hers shot into the stratosphere. And I will confess that I partook of the Jealousy Apple. I hated feeling like that--all wormy on the inside--but I couldn't help myself.

And then one day those feelings were gone. Poof! Just like that. I hadn't gotten any more successful or mature. I was just the recipient of a strange, supernatural grace. People, I was delivered from myself.

The experience led me to reflect on the nature of envy, which is certainly an enormous occupational hazard. I just knew I never ever wanted to feel consumed by jealousy in that pre-grace way again. Shannon Hale's grandma was right when she said, "Feeling jealous is like drinking poison and expecting it to hurt the other guy." (Thanks for that, Shannon! I quote you and your grandmother on this subject a lot.)

This is why I try hard now to celebrate the success that any of us has a writer. Notes. Flowers. Phone calls. Whatever. Do I still feel jealous? Sure. Sometimes. But who says you can't feel happy for someone else and a little envious at the same time?

After all, we're only human.

*I'm pretty sure you won't guess who it is, so don't worry about it.


Donna said...

You are simply the one like you, and that is why I love you!!

Emily said...

Thanks for touching on this subject. I have yet to experience this jealousy, but I see it often in the lives of artists/writers and appreciate your honesty in tackling it.

Lisa B. said...

ugh jealousy! ugh!

that is all I have to say about it. not that it's not an intimate part of my life or anything. because it is. I will repeat Shannon Hale's grandma's words as a mantra when I feel jealous.

James said...

Another universal principle here. Thanks for sharing. I love the Grandma's quote too. (How old do you have to be to have your sayings seem so wise?)