Now that the brouhaha has worn out its welcome, I feel like reflecting on our unfortunate tendency to go on the abusive mode towards those who have been successful.
I wish I could recall who said this: “Jealousy is when you wished you had what someone else has. Envy is when you wish you had what someone else has, and you don’t want them to have it.”
This fits with the notion that envy may be the root of all wars.
When it comes to people who succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, we see the backlash coming. It’s not enough that we haven’t, they shouldn't have, either.
Envy may be green, but it isn't pretty.
The sad thing is that every writer alive has had these fleeting feelings. If you haven’t wondered how J. K. Rowling did it, you are not honest with yourself. Most of us know these feelings are wrong-headed, and most of us don’t think this way. We may feel frustrated, but we don’t rationalize it.
After Lynn Shepherd’s post imploring Rowling to stop publishing appeared, a mini backlash in the form of retaliatory one-star reviews of Ms. Shepherd’s published books appeared on review sites. Seems her maladious stream is infectious. Those posts, too, were a sad testimony to our spiritual failure.
Like Rowling, Shepherd is a very good writer. There was no need for such smallness.
Lynn Shepherd’s third mistake, after putting outright silly statements about writing for children being an inferior art form and making any sort of statement about books she admits to not have read, was to conjure a world where someone else’s great success has robbed her of her own. In that world there are a finite number of gold coins and someone else has taken hers.
Not in my experience. Let’s get off the bandwagon of vilifying our planets’ most successful citizens.