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.