A Canadian friend sent me an exquisite short story he’d written the other day, and a tide of envy roiled up in me like Floydian acid reflux, like hungry dogs gnawing at my guts.
You may have tasted envy, but yours was just a sour sip of wine at a civilized wine-tasting whereas mine is bottom-shelf, well-brand gin in a biker bar with leathers and colors and miss-the-urinal piss stains on the floor and churlish fat guys who only ride Norton Commandos or Winston Black Shadows and would as soon knife your mother as light her cigarette.
My envy is annoyingly eager, like Corgis answering the Queen’s whistle, and it’s ready to howl. It likes to recite the letters of the alphabet, as in, “D is for dilettante and derivative” (the worst) or “P is for piker, poseur, and pedant,” all the things I fear I am as a writer or will become when I cease to write flash and try to break into the Big Leagues with the novelists.
Whereas your envy may prick your ribs from time to time and give you mild discomfort, my envy is a plague of ass-boils, it is the AIDS of envy, it consumes like a fever and leaves me weak and hopeless about the future of wordcraft (mine) and the success of others (all of you).
And yet, counter-intuitively, I fervently hope my friend gets published (because if he is not published, there is no ghost of a prayer of a hope of a chance that a piker and poseur like me will ever be.)