Bitterness does not become you

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In Greece you see the widows everywhere dressed in black.  They are waiting to die.  They walk slowly in the spring air, out into the rock salt hills, they collect eggs from their chicken and milk from their goats. They make cheese and bread, and they regret the husbands who died long ago and the children who moved to America.  Around them the air breathes.

A lot of writers are like that.  They carry bitterness with them in pails like water.  Up hills and down them, splashing a little bitterness here or there on their shoes, on the rocks, on their feet, into the warm soil.  They say, I deserve better.  What they mean is that mediocre writers everywhere are winning prizes and getting jobs, being offered all kinds of juicy teaching positions and riding on elephants.  Okay, not riding on elephants, but you get the idea.  It looks like everyone around you is riding on elephants and you keep walking along on the jungle floor being eaten by ants.  And you know, for a fact that you too deserve an elephant ride and for the life of you, you can’t figure out why aren’t you getting one? So you get bitter.

I hear writers talking down the “big” writers with prizes, publications and tenured jobs.  I’ve heard myself make these remarks in the past, but now I just pass on it.  My life is a kite in the sky.  I’ve had a lot of love and a lot of sky.  I have nothing to be bitter about.  I feel gratitude that I’ve gotten to be part of the dance even though I’m not a very great dancer.

Bitterness does not become you.  It doesn’t become anyone.  One never wishes one could spend more time with someone who is bitter and one rarely wishes to help that person.  You want to get away.

Who knows what we deserve?  Maybe the problem is that we all think we deserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I hear writers tell me what they should have.  Go get it I think.  Do I look like I have a Pulitzer in my back pocket?  I don’t have a Pulitzer, I’m not even on the prize committee.  I don’t have a tenured job.   Whining is never getting you anywhere, so when you hear yourself starting to feel bitter, do what I do.  I remind myself of how much fun my life is.  Of how many great friends I have and of how the air smells in the morning when I go out into the front yard.  The roses are in bloom, and these mornings, the air is damp and the fog is sweet along the streets, brushing the branches like the trees and the clouds are in love.

Published in: on October 22, 2014 at 2:10 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Thanks for thoughts about bitterness. It is so easy to get stuck in the mire and forget about the beauty that life has to offer.

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