I’m reading Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. She has a chapter titled Jealousy. So funny because you can’t help being jealous of people. You know it’s a bad feeling to have because it gets you all riled up, but we all have it.
She writes, “But if you continue to write, you are probably going to have to deal with it, because some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, undeserving writers you know–people who are, in other words, not you.”
One of my writing teachers had a serious conniption when someone in class mentioned how much she liked Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir. The teacher steamed, “I cannot stand her. Her book is so contrived and she’s not a good writer–at all.” Whereas the teacher was an amazing writer–superb, in fact. Probably some of the best writing I have ever read. She wins awards time and time again. Just doesn’t happen to be a best-selling author. When the movie came out for Elizabeth Gilbert’s book–Eat Pray Love–starring Julia Roberts, I could already see the teacher have a major meltdown, probably wondering why no one was knocking on her door for the film rights to any of her books.
One of my classmates landed a recurring column for one of the local papers and I was dumbfounded. Really? Really?! The stuff that she read in class was mediocre. It wasn’t bad, but it was boring and we all scratched our heads after she was done reading.
That’s when you know you gotta do something–anything that you’re passionate about–just because you love it.