I always imagined envy and jealousy to be the pernicious feelings of a morally bankrupt middle-class mind.
So much for wishful thinking.
I’ve come down with a bout of jealousy. And as a writer, no less, which is the worst kind. Why does this happen? Oh, I suppose I know, if I think about it. But who wants to think about when you’re in the throes of jealousy?
Is jealousy an occupational hazard of being a writer? Do plumbers get jealous of other plumbers? Do doctors? Weathermen?
And if I start to examine my jealousy, I begin to shudder. It’s a dirty little hole and I don’t want to climb in.
Can envy be good? Yes, if it motivates you. But mine just makes me crass, boorish, and sulky, that I don’t even want to be around me.
I should just listen to the funkmeister James Brown: “Ive got mine, why worry about his.”
Yeah, this papa needs a brand new bag. But it’s easier said than done.
And I know it’s one of the deadly sins. I went to church as a boy even though now I’m a devout unbeliever. But there’s real truth in those deadly sins. Not the damnation by a revengeful god, but a misery that destroys body and mind. I get that. And I don’t want it. Rather a plague of locust. At least they ruin and pass on to someone else. Not misery. It follows you around like a black dog that’s always nipping at your heels.
But I’m not miserable enough to stop writing. So I can’t be that miserable. It still gnaws, though. It’s like a tick you can’t reach.
And when I think about it, what I’m mostly jealous about is others success. Which is stupid, since that is what I hope for my own writing life.
I wonder if jealousy waits around and pounces on the weakest of the species? If that’s the case, I no longer want to be weak. Or does it feed off arrogance? In which case, let me practice more humility. Maybe it’s a mental aberration? Then I should take up some vigorous sport or exercise and burn the fucker out.
It’ll pass, I know. But I can’t help wondering if like a leech, jealousy will find that soft spot in me again and clamp on. I’d rather rid myself of it.
A purification is needed. A purification of hours and hours of writing. A cleansing of the mind with a good overdose of my own abilities and talents.
I need to start being a bigger writer with more of an open heart. Give free rein to my subconscious and let it do the crazy things it needs to do. I need to take a real big leap, and that always happens for me when I’m writing, at the nexus where things happen, where things get transformed, become mutable, exciting, risky, uncertain, unsure, and forever exciting.