In the movie ‘Midnight in Paris’, Hemingway tells Gill, the young novelist,
“You don’t want the opinion of another writer about your novel. If is bad, I’ll hate it. If it’s good, I’ll be envious and hate it even more.”
There’s a large element of truth there. I pretend happiness in the success of other writers, but I’m seldom truly glad for them. For the exact reason Hemingway mentions.
Writers are notorious for possessing that inner child prone to tantrums.
“Me, me, me. What about me? I’m just as good a writer as they are.”
And, truthfully, if I don’t know you and read about your success as a writer, I’ll be a teeny tiny bit happy for you but mostly I’ll be jealous as a three year old at her sister’s birthday party.
Except, right in the muddled-middle of my tiny, selfish life, a funny thing has happened. I find myself with a group of increasingly successful writer friends for whom I am genuinely, joyously happy.
And here’s the surprise, my life is richer, my joys are multiplied. Their success really does feel like my success and I know they share in my joys as well.
Ain’t life grand?