I’m green. Not like when Mister paints me with imaginary paint on his tickly paintbrush and tells me I look cool. No. I’m green with envy.
When the ARC of Easter Ann Peters’ Operation Cool arrived as a reading with my group of indie promoters (as described in this post), I wished it was my book. I wanted to be able to hold my published work in my hands. Yes, I have a picture ebook out, but somehow that felt like not enough when I could hold someone else’s real, live book. I wished things were a little bit different.
Something else like this happened to me recently. A few old friends who are closer to each other than they are to me went out to celebrate a birthday. When I saw the pictures, I wished I was invited. I had to do some soul-searching to find out why I felt this way. What I came up with is pretty interesting.
I know two things about my inner child. First, it is insanely competitive. Just ask the runners who thought they’d make cross-country a contact sport by elbowing a younger me at the start. I’ll bet they’re still bruised. I’m older, slower, and less competitive now, but perhaps, without an outlet, this side of me is looking to compete, and other writers and old friends seem like good targets. Second, I think there is still a part of the child within me that seeks approval. Having a work of my own to hold in my hands apparently appeals to this child as the ultimate validation.
I have to keep in touch with this inner child, even the unflattering parts like envy, to be a good children’s writer. But, as an adult, I also have the advantage of perspective. Jody Lamb, author of the book of envy, was kind enough to leave a comment on Monday’s post about that:
Yes, I wish for things to be different often and usually, in retrospect, I’m glad they didn’t change. Life experiences are not by chance. They happen for a reason.
In retrospect, I know that, had I been invited to the birthday celebration, I probably wouldn’t have gone. Or if I did go I would’ve felt out-of-place. I also know that I’m thrilled to have my picture book published as an ebook. The format allows it to come alive in new ways and I couldn’t have asked for anything more for this project. These two events may even have happened just to stir up envy, an emotion that two of my works in progress are requiring right now. Jody’s right. Everything does happen for a reason. At just the right time, it seems.
I’m thankful for life experiences that keep me moving forward. And the perspective to look back on experiences I’ve had to learn and grow. As Hemingway said, “In order to write about life first you must live it.”
Operation Cool is fabulous, by the way. And I’m honored to have been able to read it before its release. Please go here for more information about the book and the release date.