The above quote is attributed to author, Gore Vidal; he wrote Myra Breckinridge, among many other novels.
Why would a successful author make such a quote? Was it in jest? Perhaps. But he was addressing an age old emotion – envy. We’ve all had it. That lottery winner that coulda, shoulda been me or you. Why is it so hard to be happy for others success? Or is it? Because it appears that way to me. To be genuinely happy for the success of another should come naturally. The footnote on this blog by Voltaire is about appreciation. And what is appreciation in a literary sense? For me, it’s a recognition of excellence. When it comes to a good novel, I know in my heart of hearts that I could not have written something that good. But I can appreciate reading it perhaps as much as anyone. And I am thankful that there are people out there that can do it – better than I could ever dream of doing it. Are we envious of the heart surgeon that has the ability to save lives? Are we jealous of him or her? I think not. But in the literary world there seems to be a lot of online jealousy, a lot of pettiness and a lot of silliness. Or maybe I’m all wet? Maybe I got it all wrong and it’s one big cheer leading section with everyone rooting for one another – the American version of root, not the English one, I think.
Here is what I know: when I am happy for the success of another, I feel happy. When I am envious of the success of another, I never feel good. Ever. So why would I choose that route?