Okay, I’m reading this collection of stories by someone rather famous (I’m not saying names, nor titles), and having finished the first piece I’m struck by one of the oldest sins, in a broad sense. Pride and jealousy. Right, that’s two sins, not just one.
Pride. Because I wrote a similar story to this first one not too long ago, and I think, without shame, that mine is a touch better (every saint preferring their own holy work, or something along that line). In what way is it better, you might ask (even though you’ll not know which two stories I’m comparing so shamelessly). My answer would be: I think my story has a bit of something extra in it that provokes one to think over certain issues of life somewhat more thoroughly than this other story does. This other story left me (ah, pride is calling) simply entertained, intensely entertained – but rather unmoved.
How would I, do I counter this first sin of mine, pride? Well, first of all, no way. I think accepting myself as I am is the best step to let this thing go. (Yoda said something like that, along the lines of ancient eastern soulutions, didn’t he? “Let fear wash through you, then let it rise, and it’ll go away, otherwise you’ll just remain engaged in a fight you cannot win, for it is against yourself!” Well, he didn’t use these words exactly, yet that’s what I took his ineffable wisdom to mean. But I digress. Sorry.)
So how and what to do if not this? (Thinking over a solution anyway, just in case.) Well, it seems okay to remind myself that all this – whose story is more thought provoking and / or entertaining – is as subjective as it can get. So I (and a number of people whose opinion I dare rely on) find my story more catching for the brain? So what, then? There might be huge masses of other people who’d say it’s the other way round. Maybe they wouldn’t even find my story entertaining either… Okay, that does it, a punch in my mental face delivered “a la Fight Club“, by myself. Sometimes it’s truly better to knock yourself off the high horse before someone else does it with even greater vigour.
Jealousy. Right, this second sin has almost already been downed as well by the previous arguments. (Subjectivity to the rescue, yeah.) For my jealousy arises from pride, thinking that I can, and did better, yet have received just a fragment of what this other writer got in return from the world. (Meaning a few awesome awards, great criticism and tons of money… I guess.) And it’s easier to counter jealousy than pride, for me at least. “Such is life” sums it all up, and cuts it all down, doesn’t it? And I think I’ve almost learned how to live with that. I’m getting optimistic even, thinking that once you can let go, things may just turn even more positive for you too. (Note the well trained brain at work, please: I inserted “even more“, not allowing myself to perceive the current situation as negative, only less positive than it should be in comparison with certain other people.)
The final solution is, of course, not getting caught up too deeply in this, letting it, as I’ve already said, just wash over me and then letting it go. The next story (short one or novel, whatever) I read will invoke completely different thoughts and feelings, just as the one I read previous to this one did (by a rather different author), and all will be settled, worries of pride and jealousy forgotten for good…
…or not. :) I’ll just have to see.