Monday, October 29, 2012

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Meet the Green-Eyed Monster

There are so many directions to go with this post and I haven't even had a cup of coffee yet.

Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is probably the Halloween monster who hits closest to home. There's the possibility, the teeniest smidgen of a chance, the smallest probability that I might be moody.

And yes, it does have an impact on my writing; the predictable one where one week I think I'm an uber-talented word goddess and the next week I wonder how I've managed to hookwink so many people into thinking I'm a bonafide authoress.

Jekyllian, writing-based mood swings aren't anything out of the ordinary. I've read enough writer blogs to know they're kind of the norm.

Lately, however, the blogosphere has been on fire with posts about jealousy.

Are you jealous when a friend gets an agent/publishing contract/film deal/new car/guest spot on Dancing with the Stars. If you know me at all, you know the last item on that list would bring on a full attack from the green-eyed monster, but that's beside the point. What I'm trying to say is the list can be as long or short as you choose to make it.

When it comes to writing I've noticed other people's skill, the amazing, transformative, hardwork, but worth it books and well-earned success that follows for those writers, doesn't fill me with green-eyed envy. In fact, it's just the opposite.

Those books have the power to swoop me straight out of a case of the Mean Reds where my Mr. Hyde monster is running loose and causing havoc. Their beautiful words don't leave any room for envy because I'm too complete with inspiration.

Conversely, bad writing can have the opposite effect, make me listless, irritable and snappy; exhibiting multiple monsterlike symptoms. Which is why sometimes, the best book I can find is truly the best medicine.

“Even while writing his book, he had become painfully aware how little he knew his own planet while attempting to piece together another one from jagged bits filched from deranged brains.”
Vladimir Nabokov, Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
See what I mean? Inspiring enough to chase away even the most deranged green-eyed Mr. Hyde.

P.S. It was very tempting to take this post in the direction inspired by my tweenage daughter who is currently closeted in my office howling about the inequity of homework on the weekend. As I write this she's screaming at spellcheck. "I DID NOT SPELL THAT WRONG!!" The full Dr. Hyde transformation has taken place.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can picture your daughter doing that!
Not envious of others' success - it is to be admired.

Hart Johnson said...

Yeah, I don't get jealous of success for great work, either. And even in success of lousy work, I figure they've filled some strange gap in the reading vacuum. Where I get jealous mostly is about TIME. Other people seem to have more than I do. Too funny that your daughter has inherited this...

Carol Kilgore said...

Haven't we all screamed that at spellcheck :)

Sometimes I have a twinge of envy at the success of others, but it usually spurs me to try harder.

But I'm like Hart in that I'm very jealous of the time others have and of how productive they are.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm jealous of time, too. Self-employed just means I work all the time.

Tell your daughter she's not the only one who yells at Spellcheck.

Lisa Gail Green said...

Love this post!!! We all have those feelings, the important part is perseverance. And it's great when a fellow writer gets a break - we can all celebrate together. Who doesn't want a cupcake? ;D

jenny milchman said...

You tell 'em! Spell Check is SO not infallible.

I feel like the more great books out there, the better for all of us, because readers' appetites far surpass our ability to write (getting back to time). I have to admit to getting upset when poor books get raved over, though. Not because I feel jealous but because I feel like that takes away from all the great books I would be pointing people to read! I want people to know, to *feel* the difference.

Anonymous said...

Don't get jealous; just work on getting a better deal than they did. ;oP

Johanna Garth said...

Alex, it's a pretty vivid picture, right :)

Hart, I wish I had a special room where time stopped when I went into it until I got all the writing done that I wanted to do.

Carol, I know I have :)

Diane, I had no idea yelling at spellcheck was so widespread!

Lisa, cupcakes of success are better when they're shared right!

Jenny, someday I will show you the bite marks on my tongue that appear when people rave about books that are terrible. I just remind myself that like food, there are all kinds of appetites.

Josh, I want the megadeal that comes with a slot on Dancing with the Stars ;)

Unknown said...

The only time I get jealous about someone's writing success is when they write a brilliant book. And even then it's more awe than jealous. But it gives me a kick in the you-know-where to push my writing harder.

PK HREZO said...

lol...darn spellcheck!

I call my moody side "Momzilla," cuz it's my kids who usually bring it out in me. ;)

I think it's different with writers cuz as one, we know how hard we work to get that success. The really good books don't bother me--it's the mediocre ones that make me wonder why life and the pub industry is so unfair. lol

Cassie Mae said...

I yell at spell check all the time! LOL.

And good news has the good effect on me as well. I love seeing people, writers especially, achieve their dreams :)