The View From My Apartment 5
Today I want to talk about that ugly emotion known to all as Envy. Im choosing envy because, well, I thought I was jealous, but then, I realized…nope…Im actually envious.
Envy according to my Oxford English Reference Dictionarygod, I wish I was British, is a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by anothers better fortune, etc.
Ill admit it, I suffer from the big old case of Envy.
Recently a friend of mine sent out a mass email about some work of hers that is going to be produced. And its great. Intellectually, I think its wonderful. We need more new work produced, she is someone that works hard, she writes what she wants to write and I dont think she compromises. So, its great news.
Of course, I didnt take it as such. Now, Ill be completely honestand Im sure she knows this, so I dont think Im letting out any great secret: Im not a huge fan of her work. Its not my cup of tea. Its not the work Im interested in writing and not always interested in seeing. Like I said, Im glad shes doing the work that shes doing, Im glad that shes finding companies and audiences that like/love her worktheres enough room for ALL kinds of theater in this world. She works hard so deserves her success.
But, what is killing meand here is that ugly wordwhat Im envious ofthat people arent producing MY work. (Dont worry, I hear the whining too). I look at the success of my friend and I wish it was MY successthough the reality is, the theaters that are producing her work arent interested in my workwe work in very different genres. But I WANT to have success that I can email out to people as well. I want to attend productions, I want to have…you know…everything.
Its this battle that I am having between my intellect and my gut. My gut is a whiny three year old demanding that he gets treated the same as everyone elseregardless of…well, regardless of anything. The three year old is throwing a tantrum because he didnt get the same kind of bicycle as his brother. The three year old has chocolate chip cookie crumbles running down his shirt, refuses to put on a clean pair of pants and will NOT take his nap, and you cant make him.
On the other side is the intellect, who is busy trying to talk to the outraged three year old, trying to placate him with statements of logic, reason, and positive energy. The Intellect is wearing a nice cardigan sweater, you know the one with leather patches on the elbow, and would be smoking a pipe, if it wasnt for all that cancer. The Intellect knows hes right and yet still finds it impossible to control the three year old.
So, its midnightthe three year old is still running around screaming his head off and the Intellect is thinking of picking up a drinking habit.
Whats the way out? Well. I guess, its admitting you have a problem. Wait. Thats drug addiction.
Perhaps the same thing applies here.
Alright. My name is Larry Pontius and I have envious addiction.
I get horrible envious of the successs of my friends. When I hear a friend is getting a production or a development workshop or a fellowshipthe three year old awakens and wants his juice box. I want the same things that they have, completely ignoring two things: 1) They are struggling just as much as I am and 2) my own successes.
One of my closest friends in the whole wide world is a fabulous playwright named Megan Gogerty (megangogerty.com). She is a marvelous human being and an extremely talented person. I am envious of her success. Shes had fellowships, productions, and yet, as she would tell you, she is still struggling to succeed in this business. (PSa quick plug, she wrote a moving musical called Love Jerrygo to her website for my info.)
And then there is my successesI just finished working on a 13 part serial that will be made for Pakistani TV. I got paid to write. And as my wife can attest I whined and complained the whole time. It took me like three weeks to realize that I am being paid to write. Wait? Isnt that what youve always wanted Larry? Why yes, yes it is. But, like a three year old tyrant, I dont see the toys that I have, but the toys in my brothers hands.
Clearly, I have issues. But, Im getting comfortable with that. Paula Vogel came to my school once, many years ago and spoke to us Undergraduates. She spoke about this very thing. She looked at her success and the success of her friends as mutually inclusiveas one gained some success, it seemed to allow them all an opportunities. As an individual within a community achieves, so does the rest of the community. We rise together, she said.
Its a great image, and its a wonderfully positive way to go through the world.
But, try explaining that to the three year old…
Next time: Why is pine the smell of clean?