Yep. That's a tiara on my head. Wanna make something of it?
Mur Lafferty rocks my world.
Seriously, if you want to write fiction, and you're not listening to Mur's I Should Be Writing podcast, then I'm just convinced you're not really trying. It's like the best blog ever, but in audio format, and with published-author interviews.
Anyway, Mur recently wrote a blog post about Sour Grapes and Spite in which she was brutally honest about the bitterness and resentment some of us feel when others get what we want. Because it's not always abstract. Sometimes it's not just that you think that "others" who can't write as well as you are making the big bucks while you toil away in impoverished obscurity... sometimes someone else gets the job or the grant or gets to write the exact article you were trying to score for yourself. You strive to be the best you that you can be, and you do your research and write your cover letters and design your proposal and write your butt off and do everything you could have done... and someone else gets it anyway.
Let us take a moment to mourn and rage against the competitors.
(And maybe you, personally, don't ever feel this way... in which case you must be really Zen, or really in touch with your higher power, or just really really a better person than I am, but if you're not one of those totally unbelievably generous and kind people, you'll know what I'm talking about. The rest of you can go away and have a cupcake because you clearly deserve it and you don't need to waste time reading about petty jealousies because you're above that. Kudos.)
Now, after you've mourned and raged (and, if you're me, gotten your husband to trash-talk that person for you while you eat ice cream)... WHAT DO YOU DO NEXT?
I am prepared to forgive repeated lapses into unlovely thoughts about those who get what we feel is "rightfully" ours, but after a while wallowing ceases to be therapeutic and actually stunts progress. And that's a problem.
In her post, Mur wondered why she didn't just go out and do the things she wanted to do, despite not getting that position/grant money. Why not just go do it anyway? Naturally it would have been easier to do all the things she wanted if she had funding and a fancy title, but, as she put it:
I don’t need the label to do the work, and if I honestly thought I could help people out, then why did I need the shiny tiara power of the position to do so?
(You were wondering what was up with the tiara. Now you know.)
So, I am hereby distributing Shiny Tiara Power to those who need it. Maybe you don't have the imprimatur that you would have gotten by virtue of getting the job / the grant / the article / publication. But I bet there's something you can do in that same direction without any official sanction. Go put on your tiara. Go do it.
I don't know if I'll ever be able to be totally let go of that nugget of spitefulness I've been known to harbor... but maybe I can roll it up in a nice productive/competitive outer shell. Maybe I can make sure that it always drives me forward rather than stopping me cold.
Also, I should probably learn to blowdry my hair and put on some makeup before I post photos of myself online, but whatever.