I thought I’d killed it. Lopped off both its ugly heads and left it lying dead.
I should have known better. The green-eyed monster is a Hydra: when you whack off its heads, it grows new ones. Sometimes that takes awhile, which is why I was lulled into believing I’d actually killed this beast.
But it’s back, its ugly heads twisting up from my gut (or maybe they live in my heart?) and wrapping round my shoulders and hissing their sibilant words in my ears.
Anne Lamott calls the stereo effect of their voices “Radio Station KFKD” (I’ll let you figure that one out). In one ear, you hear how lame you are, how you’ll never amount to anything, how [insert name of writer-you-love-to-hate here] beat you to the publisher and has stolen your audience, how she’ll always come out ahead and you’ll always be behind and you can’t write anyway and who are you kidding you aren’t really an author your book is out of print out of print out of print.
In the other ear, you hear how unfair it all is, how you’re at least as good a writer as that writer you love to hate (and a good many others too) and she doesn’t deserve the success she has and it’s not your fault you can’t afford a full-time nanny to care for your kids and a housekeeper to take care of your house and give you time to write like certain writers I could name and it’s just not fair, poor sad tired tired sad sad you.
The truly icky thing about the green-eyed monster is that I don’t know it’s wrapped me in its horrible heads until it’s too late, until the envy has started raging and I’m already mired in the self-loathing and the self-pity and there’s part of me that just wants to give in and listen to those siren voices, listen and believe.
But that way lies destruction. I can’t write anything worth reading if I do that. I’m too busy beating myself up or feeling sorry for myself, neither of which produces even mediocre, let alone great, writing.
So once again, I have to raise my pen (it’s a fountain pen, with a nice sharp nib) and slit that monster’s throats.
I narrow my eyes. I grip my pen. This is going to be an ugly fight. But I know, eventually, I’m going to win it, and the hydra-headed beast will lie slain at my feet.
Until then, I’m going to try to keep the stereo off.