Green Eyed Monster

Image from Wikimedia Commons - Author: Petritap

Image from Wikimedia Commons – Author: Petritap

Another weekend, another article in the paper about a new writer getting a great publishing deal, being touted as ‘the next big thing.’

‘Why not me?’ I think to myself, shuffling the pages resentfully. ‘When will it be my turn? Huh, bet they know someone in publishing, bet they’ve met an agent somewhere, had some lucky break.’

But then I get over it. Because I can’t get all bitter and twisted about somebody else succeeding in my field, I really can’t. So I push the green eyed monster aside and read further into the article and, more often than not, this ‘new’ writer has been working their ass off for years, writing and rewriting, getting rejected, honing their craft until the magnificent moment when they are accepted and published, all the hard work paying off. Sure, there are those who hit it straight out of the park first go, young writers whose brilliance is such they’re picked up by the first agent who spots them, catapulted up the publishing ladder. But they are few and far between and the majority are just like the rest of us, toiling away until they are plucked from obscurity, chosen for the spotlight for a little while.

I was talking with a friend the other day, both of us discussing negative influences in our lives and she told me about a therapy method she’d heard about from another friend.

‘So you imagine a bonfire, and you and the other person who’s bothering you are there…’

‘And then you push them into the bonfire?’

We both laughed then, in that conspiratorial way you do with friends when you know you’re sort of joking but not really. You were actually supposed to talk with the other person across the bonfire, letting them know how you felt about whatever it was they had done to upset you. But I actually quite like the idea of using fire to burn away negative thoughts and energy. Bloodthirsty thoughts aside, the concept of fire as a cleansing entity is not new. Ancient stories reference fire coming from heaven to clear battlefields, taking the bodies up to heaven in a pillar of flame, Australian aborigines used fire to cleanse the landscape, opening it up for rejuvenation. Then there is trial by fire, in which we pass through metaphorical flames to emerge the other side strengthened in some way.

If you’ve ever read Zen In The Martial Arts by Joe Hyams (and if you haven’t I recommend it – you don’t have to be a martial artist to appreciate the lessons it holds), he writes about the late great Bruce Lee and a conversation they had about getting rid of negative thoughts. If something negative entered his mind, Bruce would visualise it as being written on a piece of paper, then would visualise crumpling the paper into a ball and setting it on fire, watching it burn until it was gone, taking the thought with it.

So I read on, taking my jealous thoughts and writing them down on that sheet of paper in my mind, burning them up and letting them go, grey ash floating in a metaphorical wind, knowing I cannot become upset or jealous when others get what I desire. For if all of a sudden there were no new voices, no new ideas to appreciate, then I would worry. It’s a great thing that there are always new writers coming up, being talked about, being promoted. Because it means they’re still giving out turns. Maybe next time, it will be mine.


9 thoughts on “Green Eyed Monster

  1. That’s so real and honest. As a recently published author, I can tell you from experience, it’s a harrowing process to get published and sometimes one ends up with a publisher that wasn’t exactly what one was opting for, like in my case. You may view my journey on my blog and confirm, that some people do go through hell to get published and that’s just the beginning. The other concern is whether someone will even bother reading your work, or use it to prop up the leg of their coffee table. All I can wish you is success on that journey, but as you’ve realised, it’s not an easy one for many. Best 🙂

  2. I loved the chapter on jealousy in Ann Lamott’s book. From memory, a friend whose work wasn’t as good as hers was enjoying huge commercial success. In the end, she acknowledged how she was feeling, as you’re doing, and then got over it!

    Your time will come, I’m sure …

  3. I think I’ve told you about my friend who struck gold with her first novel and landed a huge, multi-jurisdictional publishing deal, haven’t I? She thoroughly deserves it – her book is great and will, I hope, be all over the bestseller lists in February. To an outsider it looks as if she is that jammy first-timer but, the thing is, it’s not actually her first book. OK, it’s the first she ever submitted to agents but the Real First Book, something she wrote for NaNo some years ago, has never seen the light of day. And, added to that, she has written masses of short stories and flash fiction pieces, many of which have been rejected time and time again. So, you’re absolutely right – I think! – when you say that these articles lauding the latest ‘new’ writer skip over the (very significant) bit about said writer spending hours and hours and hours writing a million or more words to learn her craft. I suppose such detail doesn’t make good copy, does it!

    • You did and how wonderful for your friend! Yes, I think we all have to remember that, the amount of time and effort it takes to get to publishing level – god knows I’m trying! 🙂

  4. Battling the green eyed monster is difficult but its all something we do from time to time and anyone who says they never get jealous is lying!!

    Best of luck with your writing (and thanks for stopping by my blog/Suzie’s blog party!)

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting! You’re right – it’s not always easy to admit jealousy, but I think that’s part of getting past it. We all have our paths to follow 🙂

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