I really hate feeling envious. I rarely feel it except when it comes to George Clooney's latest girlfriend and the success of other writers. The wonderful and talented Anne Lamott included a chapter titled "Jealousy" in her classic, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. I pulled the paperback off the bookshelves and reread this chapter the other night. She writes:
Jealousy is a direct attack on whatever measure of confidence you've been able to muster. 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.Sometimes, envy arrives in small bits. Like when you read something and you think, "I wish I'd written that." I felt that when I read this opinion piece on Salon.com that had this line:
|Call me Mr. Loaf|
"Pretending that Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann are qualified to be president is like calling Meatloaf 'Mr. Loaf.'"
Damn, that's a good line. Those moments of envy are enjoyable. They are closer to admiration than anything.
Anne writes about a gay friend of hers who, when she asks if he ever feels envy, says: "When I see a man my own age in great shape, and I feel all conflicted, wishing I were that thin and yet at the same time wanting to lick him, is that jealousy or is that appreciation?"
So then comes the darker kind of envy. The greener kind.
Like when I was still at Southern Living and I found out only one person would be writing the essays for the back page of the magazine. Contributing to that page was one of the few things I still found enjoyable about the job (since the rest of my days consisted of writing three-paragraph-long stories or captions for maps). The author who took over the essays is pretty damn successful and talented and, if you ever hear him speak, you'll know he's also funny as hell. But, after I got this news, I started referring to him as "that fat bastard." I still do.
I'm not proud of it.
Earlier this week, I heard that Amanda Knox has a literary agent. Of course, she fucking does. She's been all over the news for years. The Today show should build a damn shrine to her, they've worshipped at the altar of her story with such drooling desperation.
She will, within days if not already, have a multi-million dollar book deal.
Good for her. I'm sure her legal debt is staggering. This will help her reclaim her life and help her parents pay their bills. But I have to admit it. I'm a small person. I kind of hate her face right now.
I hope her book sucks.
More Stuff I Hate
I hate The Three Stooges with the same intense passion with which I hate the music of Gloria Estefan. (The words Miami Sound Machine send a shiver up my spine.) Apparently, someone has made a movie about these buffoons.
It looks hideous.
Things I'm Right About
Last month, I predicted that New Year's Eve would be awful. I was right. Now I predict that it will make a shit ton of money.
Speaking of movies crammed full of stars and based on ridiculous things, there's a trailer out for the movie based on the book What to Expect When You're Expecting. If you've ever read that book, then you know this is a moronic thing to base a movie on and that the only thing based on it is probably the title. But whatever.
The movie could go either way. It might be funny. I mean, it has Chris Rock and he's awesome. The trailer features that werewolf from True Blood without his shirt on and that's awesome. But it also has J. Lo and her movies suck (except for Out of Sight starring my boyfriend George). (My official prediction is that it will be awful.)
I bring this movie up because it involves one of the things that gets on my nerves: people bitching about pregnancy.
Oh my God, shut up. It's not that bad.
I'm not talking about people for whom pregnancy actually is bad. Some people have an awful time. They have to go on bed rest. They develop complications. They're carrying multiple children at once and they get bleeding stretch marks (Yes, this is a thing; Yes, this is horrid; Yes, Bleeding Stretch Marks would make the greatest punk rock band name - other than Cavernous Vajayjay, which my friend Kerry brilliantly came up with).
Some people have the right to complain.
No, I'm talking about women who bitch about the NORMAL things that come with being pregnant. Gaining weight, back aches, stretch marks, heartburn. To hear some people talk, it's "ohmygod, like, the worst thing ever." If you're pregnant, these are the same people who tell you absolute horror stories about "a friend of a friend who gave birth in a raft on the Atlantic and it took three days of pushing and the baby was born with a hook for a hand and a patch over one eye and didn't cry, just said the words "Aye, matey!" And then there was this parrot, and OH GOD, it was just awful! But, hey, congratulations on your upcoming birth."
And they never talk about the good stuff, like how you don't have to suck in your gut for nine months! Or how, you know, your body is actively nourishing and housing the human being who will be your favorite person in the world ever.
Personally, I think a complication-free pregnancy is not that bad. OK, I admit that I say that about almost everything. I have been known to say that about the worst thing I've ever witnessed. It's how I deal with things. I make them small. I say, "It's not that bad." Then I fix myself a cranberry and vodka and watch The Colbert Report and laugh my ass off.
Because, really, attitude is everything.
Hmm, maybe I should try not to have such a bad attitude about other people's bad attitudes.
Oh, irony, damn you.
Mail Order Grief
Anyway, the catalog I received today is from Mori Luggage & Gifts. "Why am I getting this? I've never shopped there," I thought and even before the thought was complete, I knew and I flipped it over and saw that it was addressed to Charles T. Mercer or Current Resident. And I realized that Mori must have been the place in Riverchase Galleria where Charles bought me a leather laptop tote a few years ago. I'd gotten a promotion at work and he'd surprised me with the gift that weekend.
It was soft and a shade of buttery brown and probably cost more than he could afford. When I would come home from work, I would set it by the kitchen door that leads to the garage. I don't have it anymore. After Charles died, it was gone and I knew why. I'd told the cleaning crew to just get rid of everything.
Later, this meant that I would suddenly wonder where the kitchen rug was or where my laptop bag was and my mind would go searching until it ran into the answer.
Today, when I looked at the catalog and was struck by these memories, I thought about how this is what grief is. It never really goes away. I feel so much better about a million things, but grief will always be there. Every once in awhile, it jumps out and surprises me. It doesn't cloud everything the way it once did. You learn to live with these things.
It's not that bad.
I hate the bad memories, but I guess I wouldn't get rid of them if it meant I couldn't keep the good memories. Like that day in the galleria when Charles wandered off and came back with this huge grin on his face, so proud of his purchase.
Then we bought sodas and slices of cookie cake and we sat near the carousel. That was a good day.