Okay, so I was supposed to post last week. Ahem. Yes, I'm just a tad behind, but my week blew up.
What was left? Only all my good intentions strewn from Monday to Saturday like battlefield casualties. It was messy. Gory even. I tried to do triage, but a few good intentions died a tragic death. Sob.
So, here I am trying to make up for eviscerated intentions. In doing so I will talk about hair. Yes, hair.
I have hair. Pretty decent hair, even. But here's the thing, I'm kind of a competitive person. Not beat-you-up-if-you-win-at-Pictionary kind of competitive, mind you, just the I-want-to-win kind. Normally this isn't a problem unless I play Risk with my hubby. (That has only happened twice in twenty years for a VERY good reason. It was not pretty. Either time.) But I digress. Hair.
The other day my cousin and I were talking about her daughter's hair. Apparently it is thick and luxurious. I'm ashamed to admit I had hair envy. Mine is long and thick-ish, but, strangely and quite suddenly, I wanted my hair to be more thick and more luxurious and take bigger elastics to hold it back in a pony tail than my cousin's daughter's. See? Hair envy and competitiveness galore. And, yes, I may need therapy. Sigh.
Anywho, I, being a grown-up person, took a deep breath and admitted--out loud--that my hair wasn't as thick as my cousin's daughter's.
My cousin, who probably didn't know that I had been struck by competitive hair envy, went on with the conversation like nothing astounding had happened. BUT something astounding had happened.
"What?" I hear you say as you lean closer to your computer screen in eager anticipation.
This happened: My admission set me free.
From hair envy.
I, strangely and quite suddenly, no longer needed to have better hair. I remembered I was very fond of my hair. I liked how it grew out of my head. I liked the color. I liked the thickness. I liked how long it was. I even liked to twirl it around my finger looking for dead ends in church when the speaker was boring.
I liked it just how it was.
Then an even more astounding thing happened, which my cousin probably didn't know about either. I realized I had book envy.
I wanted my book(s) to be better and thicker and yummier than every other book in the whole freaking world. I wanted it to appeal to everyone. In every genre. I wanted it to be loved by every age group. I wanted every agent to weep when they read it. I wanted editors to hear angelic trumpets when it landed in their in box. I wanted it to be the best book ever. And I even wanted all those other books to know it.
Competitive book envy.
Now, hair envy is dangerous. It can lead to all kinds of craziness, like wigs and baldness, but book envy is worse. It can lead to dead ends, unfinished drafts, and traumatized critique groups. It can lead right to battlefield casualties of the literary kind. It can paralyze you, the writer, and keep you from writing your truth. It can keep you from seeing your book for what it is.
My book will never be the Great American Novel. It will never be Leo Tolstoy or Shakespeare. It won't ever be Brandon Sanderson, Brandon Mull, or Megan Whalen Turner. It will never be so many things because it was never meant to be those things. It was meant to be mine. My own. And I like it for what it is, even with all its flaws, and especially for all its potential.
Admitting that somehow set me free.
How about you? Have you been emancipated? Do you ever suffer from competitive book envy? Or hair envy? Or battlefield casualties?
How do you cope? What sets you free?