By Sacchi Green
Write about jealousy? Nooooooooo…
I’d rather let sleeping green-eyed monsters lie. It’s dangerous to wake them. But, well, okay, let’s see what I dig up.
Am I jealous, exactly? Not so much, if we take that to mean resenting the good fortune of others. At least others who, unlike certain writers alluded to by some of you writing here, seem to have earned their success. The stinging nettles of envy, though, spring up again and again no matter how fiercely I try to beat them back. For all the luck I’ve had, all the unearned privilege, I still envy others for the things they have that I don’t.
More precisely, I envy them for things that I once had, but didn’t take advantage of, chiefly time. To be blunt, I envy youth. Well, no, not adolescence—everybody has to put in their time in that labyrinthine morass, and I guess we come out the better for it, but once is definitely enough. But I do envy that stage of adulthood when the future seems limitless, all things are possible, and there’s plenty of time ahead for what you always wanted to do, even if you don’t have time for it right this minute.
It turns out that there’s never time for it right this minute unless you make the time. Some people do. Even while struggling to survive, even while raising families, some people write novels, many of them, great works that make a difference. Of course some people are supremely talented, and I envy them, but in a detached sort of way. It’s more what you do, or don’t do, with what you’ve got, and how soon you get around to doing it.
Really, I’m not jealous, not even envious; I’m just peeved at myself. Maybe that’s a major component of most envy; not that someone else has something you want, but that you didn’t do what was necessary to get it for yourself.
Today, though, doesn’t seem to be one of those times I can whip out the stinging nettles for self-flagellation. I have too much to feel lucky about. I spent a lovely weekend in the mountains I love, and the seedlings I’m getting ready for my garden are coming along well, and there’s even a certain amount of pre-writing going on in whatever section of my brain heats these things to the simmering stage. And to top it off, I just heard that one of my stories will be reprinted in Maxim Jakubowski’s Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 12, my fourth appearance in that series. And another has been shortlisted for a gothic-ish anthology. Not novels, not great works that make a difference, but the things I like to write.
Nope. No jealousy today. Not even envy. Maybe next week. If I have the time.