A lot of the writing life revolves around good old-fashioned green-eyed jealousy. We look at our own measly writing success or lack of it, and instantly we just have to peek over the fence at what our neighbor is doing. He’s on the bestseller list? We think, “I deserve to be there, not him.” She landed a twelve-book contract and a huge advance? “Doesn’t she know my last book came out five years ago and my rent is due?” In elementary school, any kid caught coveting their neighbor’s answers on the quiz got a big fat zero. Why are we writers such a jealous lot?
The obvious answer is that we are all insanely insecure. Case in point:
I managed to get a table at a recent book faire. All day long I compared myself with the other 59 authors in the room. Every time the local former slug queen (where I live we have such a thing) sold a joke book, I wanted to get up and strangle her. She’s a nice enough slug queen, but I hated her for selling her dumb joke books. Why, those rags aren’t nearly good enough to be classified as great! Couldn’t the customers see that I was the purveyor of LITERATURE? How does that compare with cheap shots at the menopausal woman?
Then there was my table mate who is the sister of our local newspaper columnist. We traded niceties, but I swear she was giving me those sideways slit-eyed glances all day. And every time she sold a book to the passer-by instead of me, I returned her glares with gusto. We politely slew each other with our smirks and sneers. I stuck out my tongue at the back of her head.
By the time evening rolled around, I’d shot enough green arrows to kill off most of the local writing scene. Most of the 59 authors staggered around, my well-placed barbs of envy sucking out their will to live. Funny though, most of them didn’t know I’d delivered the killing blow. So I decided to bring out the ultimate weapon: Like my good friend and great writer Heather says, I wished every single one of those writers woke up the next day with a GIANT ZIT. Take that, you inferior peons. I must be the only living writer who is both great and who also happens to have a zit. Oops.