Friday, June 29, 2007


Whenever I read an excellent book I envy the writer. At least momentarily. I think, Gee -- what a mind that author must have. What creativity and perception! What inventiveness, what mastery of the form! Why, it's better than anything I could ever --

STOPPPPPP right there!

There are two cures for writers' envy.

1. Write your own stuff.

2. Decide that whatever that person wrote, you wrote. For example, I admire poet Lucia Perillo. I envy her talent and MacArthur grant. My envy might keep me from writing my own poems ("Oh, what's the use; she's doing it so much better!"). Instead, I tell myself, just for now -- (and I don't tell anyone else) -- "I wrote those poems. We are all one, so I wrote those poems too. And that means I can write more of them."

That way, Ms. Perillo's work becomes my inspiration, not my despair.

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