Monday, July 16, 2012

Mutually Green-eyed

Early this year, I became Facebook friends with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, a poet from Colorado’s Western Slope. Recently, she posted on her wall a link to, fellow writer, Christie Aschwanden’s blogpost about envy. The impetus of the blogpost, oddly, was Rosemerry’s expressing to Christie her jealousy of her. That Rosemerry would have any reason to be jealous of another person seems so bass-ackward wrong. It ought to be the other way around. How does yours truly envy Rosemerry? The number of reasons is incredible, but here are four:

1) She has a much fuller “outside life” than I, yet still manages to write (and publish, on-line) every day.
2) She has a prestige that allows her to make a living from her writing. (Okay, the prestige is more than well-earned, but still…)
3) The woman is everywhere: conferences, workshops, readings, open mics, photo shoots, bookstore events and others. (See #2, above.) Still, I’ve never seen her look anything other than vibrant, hale, and hearty.
4) Finally, and most harshly, the woman is six years younger than I, yet so far ahead of me. Much more than six years, it seems.

In my FB dealings with Rosemerry, I’m sure I’ve teasingly called her a goddess, at least once. But the truth is she’s merely, thoroughly, human, with all that that implies and contains. Again, the seed crystal event that led to Christie’s blogpost was Rosemerry finally meeting her, and saying how she’d envied her. So much so, in fact, Rosemerry’d written a poem about her jealousy, which she recited to Christie, on the spot, when they finally met. And, in the ironic way life often works, Christie quickly fired back with her own poem, expressing her own envy of Rosemerry. She’d been made uncomfortable by Rosemerry’s poem; and Rosemerry was subsequently uncomfortable because of Christie’s.
The irony deepens, saddens further actually, because they each were jealous of the other’s writing. Full-bore, award-winning, nationally-recognized writers, each of them; and still, this envy. And it was mutual.
Perhaps the reason envy is included in the Seven Deadly Sins is because it leads one to discount, to dismiss, one's own gifts. To discount and dismiss themselves. And because it incorrectly depicts the connection between gift and recipient. (It’s a shaky, troublesome thing, separating, distinguishing the two.) The bumper sticker says, We’re all alone in this together. That’s what envy manifests.
I gave reasons why I envy Rosemerry, which I too often do, and she’s not at all the only one, nor the only writer, I gaze at through the wrong end of the telescope with my “green” eyes. However, I have talents and abilities which even Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, in all her magnificence, doesn’t have. Focusing on what I lack keeps me from furthering my own abundance. 

O me! O life! of the questions of these recurring, 
...Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, 
and who more faithless?) 
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the 
struggle ever renew'd, 
...The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life? 

That you are here--that life exists and identity, 
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. 

-Walt Whitman


  1. Discounting / dismissing one's own gifts = a deadly sin = BRILLIANT. Truly, this is one of the ways we whittle away at our self confidence and the joyful well of authentic living and creativity which produces good stuff like writing.

    Well said!

    1. Thank you, Margaret!

      I do persistently struggle with the "age thing," though. Comparison is no picnic. Yet it does seem ingrained, and neither simple nor easy to extract. Perhaps I'll be in a better place, after this coming weekend, regarding my envy of Rosemerry. I'll be in Grand Junction for an afternoon's workshop taught by her, followed by a reading of hers, that evening. Hopefully, enough of the flesh and blood, real-life woman [and less of the goddess (~:] will come through, and I'll see her more clearly and accurately. Or is it mine own self I need to see thusly?

  2. Hey dear you, i am laughing as i read this, shivering out under the stars, camping (with wifi!) ... in Ouray. I'm looking forward to meeting in person on Saturday, too ...

    I hope that any envy will lead you, as it did with Christie and me, to laugh at yourself and open up to the world and to friendships even more than would have been possible if we didn't wrestle with our own demons. Oh comparison! How it will eventually wear us down until the only thing left is love. Well, sometimes that happens. And sometimes I just wear myself down. :)

    I do want to mention, though, regarding #2, that I do not in any way support myself with writing--at least not in financial terms. Though writing is my life support. And my husband is my other life support and winner of my daily bread.

    to thine own self see through?

    nice practice! I'll join you ...


    1. r-Anonymous

      So... my second reason to envy you is bunk. Hmmm. How about that. Oh well, I'm certain all my other reasons remain true---right? Oh, and how about that? Even all the other reasons aren't true so much either... Then, that means that all my reasons are bunk. Well, okay then, then that means I have no reason(s) to envy you....

      (Good thing you refused to step up on that pedestal I was trying to put you on, eh? 'Cause it just evaporated like the ephemeral smoke it was.)

      "To thine own self see through." There, that oughta keep me busy for awhile.

      See you Saturday.

  3. Replies
    1. "It is only with the heart that one sees rightly." St Exupery.
      May we, "Make it so."

      ps. How much further til Saturday? Are we there yet?