writing

Working the Green-eyed Monster

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Jealousy can be a powerful and self-destructive emotion. It churns and burns you up.  Everyone turns into a green eyed monster at some point. In her book, bird by bird, Anne Lamott says, ‘Jealousy is one of the occupational hazards of being a writer, and the most degrading. And I, who have been the Leona Helmsley of jealousy, have come to believe that the only things that help ease or transform it are a) getting older, b) talking about it until the fever breaks and c) using it as material. Also someone somewhere along the line is going to be able to make you start laughing about it, and then you are on your way home.’

Here are some ways to make the green eyed creature work for us as writers:

  1. Make a list of all the physical sensations connected with feeling jealous. If jealousy were a taste what would it be? What would it sound or smell like?
  2. Write some dialogue between two best friends. Friend A is opening up to Friend B about feeling jealous. The conversation becomes more and more ridiculous and over the top so that eventually they fall about laughing.
  3. Create a character that on the surface appears to have it all and who would probably inspire jealousy in others. What the world doesn’t see is what lies beneath this façade of perfection…

I am staying in a cottage without internet access so forgive me if I don’t respond straight away.

4 thoughts on “Working the Green-eyed Monster

  1. What good ideas! I particularly like the tactic of studying one’s own physical reactions, so that one can use them in a book later. (That’s a nicely scary, contorted-looking expression in that photo, too!)

  2. Anna looked shyly around the café at her friend, Kathin. The teenager’s eyes were digging into her like a powerful, souring flame.
    “What’s up with you now, little Anna?”
    Anna bit her lip nervously. Kathin was circling round like a shark.
    “Nothing.” She lied. She was trying to feel braver than she did at this very moment.
    “I just want to know way you want me to be treated this way!” She spat.
    Kathin eyes were sparking with dangerous heat.
    “Because, my dear Anna, you’re good, and kind! I wish I had that power!” Her eyes travelled to the floor. Anna’s mouth was shut, her eyes fixed on Kathrin. She felt sorry for the teenager.

    (I hope that’s ok,)

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