Best of Mader: Jealousy

[Our man JD Mader is either sick or avoiding his bookie. I’m a little fuzzy on the details. Anyway, to keep folks from going into Mader withdrawal, here is one of his early articles for Indies Unlimited. If you haven’t read it, it’s new to you. If you have read it, go ahead and brush up. There may be a test later. – Hise]

Jealousy is a terrible thing.  And I was guilty of it for a long, long time.  Of course, I still have my moments, but not like before.  I have never been jealous with women.  I have never wanted someone else’s car, motorcycle, or fishing rod.  My problem was being jealous of other people’s successes.  I’m not proud to admit it.  I’ve had friends get raises, and I really wanted to be happy for them.  I’ve watched bands I played with become international superstars…I really, really wanted to just feel glad.  Too often, I didn’t.  I could care less if someone drives a better car than I do, but when someone succeeds in a professional/creative field I take pride in…man, that ugly green-eyed bastard just shows up.  I used to open my New Yorker with trepidation because I knew if anyone I knew got published, I would have to kill myself.  The green bastard was in control.  Or he used to be.  I changed things up on him.

I’ll try to stick to writers here, but this applies to a lot of situations in life.  When your friends get the recognition they deserve (or may not deserve), you should be stoked.  Like I said, I was not always a great example.  Here is what changed it for me (save the occasional jealous twinge).  First and foremost, we are a team.  Indie writers have a tough row to hoe and if ANY of us accomplish something, we all accomplish something.  Especially if we were in there swinging and helping out like we should have been.

The other important realization I had was that letting other people establish the value of your work is a dangerous proposition.  I know writers that sell WAY more books than me.  Some of them are really, really good.  Some of them are mediocre.  Some of them are outright bad.  So what?  And who am I to judge?  My time will come if I keep plugging away at it and write things that are valuable to ME.  And, in the mean time, if any of us get attention, sales, prestige…well, I am going to be happy for them.

Now, this is all easy to say.  There are times you can’t avoid it.  Sometimes, I read a story in the New Yorker and I think, “What the hell?  I’ve written better stories than this!”  Maybe I have.  Maybe I haven’t.  Doesn’t matter.  After the initial reaction, it makes me feel small.  And it should.

There is so much involved in this writing game.  Being a good writer is important.  Work ethic is important.  Promotion is important.  Sometimes knowing the right people is important.  You get enough of those things going for you, bam, it happens.  Sometimes.

I got into it a while back with my wife because she was watching some Oprah special and they were talking about Maya Angelou and how she is the ‘best poet alive today’.  Bullshit.  The best poet alive today is some socially-retarded, misanthropic guy with coke bottle glasses who dresses all in black and works in a book store when he isn’t planning suicide attempts.  This is what I told my wife.  She told me I was an idiot.  She is usually right.

Maya Angelou is an impressive woman.  She writes well.  She presents herself well.  Is she the best poet in the world?  Well, that depends on how you define best.  And, opinions are opinions.  Point being, the fact that someone thinks she is the best should not affect me in the least.

We have chosen to embark on a thankless journey.  I have spent half my life writing and the thrill of seeing my byline wore off in a few weeks.  The thrill of publishing a novel wore off as fast.  Winning contests is great…for a day or two.  We plod on, God knows why, but we do.  And we do it together.  And it doesn’t matter who the best is.  What matters is that we are in it together and we need to support each other.  And if that means “being a better person” (vomit), so be it.

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JD Mader is the author of ‘Joe Café’ and a contributing author to Indies Unlimited. You can find more of JD’s writing at his blog www.jdmader.com.

Author: JD Mader

JD Mader is an award winning short story writer and novelist. 'Joe Café' and 'The Biker' are out now, as well as 'Please, no eyes'. and the collaborative 'Bad Book'. Mader has been writing for half his life and has no plans on stopping any time soon. Learn more about JD Mader at his blog and his Amazon author page.

19 thoughts on “Best of Mader: Jealousy”

  1. Loved it the first time, love it again. I truly believe that if we approach our success as a cooperative team instead of as a competition, we will all move forward more quickly. I do know that twinge of envy when another writer is more successful in sales than I, when they get a public accolade, when they enthuse about their latest five star review. But then I go over the many reasons that this might be and I find it in myself to be happy with them. I tell myself I, too, will see that some day. And sometimes I do – parts of it, anyway, and I hope those that hear me crow will find themselves happy for me. We are a community, and as such, we will succeed far more than as secretive, jealous individuals.

      1. Likewise. I just finished Joe Cafe. You'll see what I say about that in my next post. Be afraid, be very afraid. lol

        As I've said,I don't usually go to such dark works for pleasure, but your posts are so wonderful I had to read it. You are an amazing writer.

  2. JD, I know my opinion probably doesn't count for much, but I personally think you are a brilliant writer. I have only read one of your books, Joe Cafe, and I really, really enjoyed it. I am buying The Biker tomorrow and I'm excited about reading it. I have, however read some of your blogs and poem. The thing I like best about these are your honesty, gritty realism, humour and the fact your're not afraid to speak your mind. Other writers are more than likely jealous of you and your amazing talent. Sorry for rambling on, ( that's my amazing talent, talking too much!) I like your hats aswell. I'll shut up now…..Er…. See ya!

    1. Audrey, I officially give you the go ahead to talk as much as you want, especially when saying wonderful things about me and my writing (and hats). Seriously, thanks for this. It means a lot to me. And it came at just the right time. You praise me too much (I have to say that). 😉

      I hope you like The Biker.

  3. I have one writer that IMs me and the first question is always, "How many books are you selling?" I hate it because I know she is selling way more books than me and always answer with, "I'm doing okay." She fired back with, "Don't be jealous." Seriously? I don't perceive that just because I don't want to hear about how great she is doing or not is jealousy. I certainly don't envy her, it just makes me feel bad. I can't afford to feel bad about sales. I know I have to market, and of course, continue to write. I never think I'm going to be some best selling author and that's okay. I don't ever want to be one of those writers that thinks she's all that because I see way more writers with more talent in their baby finger than I could ever have in a lifetime. I'm happy that many writers are finding success. To me this is inspirational. 🙂

  4. Thanks Madison. You're good in my book. Anyone that would privately brag about sales has some serious confidence issues. Keep on keeping on. 😉

  5. JD, I agree. The feeling is even in a song, "you could have been more than a name on a door on the thirty third floor in the air". We don't need someone to tell us that. We beat ourselves up with it every time we see someone else achieve what we think we can do. I grapple with the green-eyed monster every day. Some days I win, some days I don't.

  6. I love this even more now. Last week I caught myself feeling jealous of another writer's success. I thought I'd moved beyond it. But that pang for me is a reminder that I'm human. And a reminder to turn the negative feelings into motivation. I congratulated her and refocused on my own path.

      1. Pish tosh. Thank you. Yeah, interesting that this post was chosen as the stand in (I didn't know – Good choice guys!). I should get this tattooed on me 'Memento' style.

  7. Hi,

    Thank you. You have said a lot that has touched me. it is nice to know that I am not the only one that goes through these things. I am still trying to find my balance, but now I know I will.

    Once again, thanks.

    Ciao,

    Patricia

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