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Other people’s success


You must read Emma’s story – it is very good and it is in one of the most illustrious of literary journals, Granta.

It’s been a big week for my very clever friends – Sue Orr was named amongst the NZ Post fiction finalists and Rachael King launched her new children’s novel, Red Rocks. And next week, Bianca Zander’s The Girl Below will be published in the United States. So I am feeling very proud and excited on their behalf, and only a tiny bit jealous.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve Braunias permalink
    11/06/2012 12:55 pm

    Where’s the one about your new haircut?

    • Sarah Laing permalink
      11/06/2012 2:10 pm

      Coming! I just had to put something serious and literary-minded in the blog or else people might think that I was completely froth-headed.

  2. 11/06/2012 1:38 pm

    I laughed out loud at ‘makes me feel like filling my pockets with stones’. Does that make me a bad person? Poor Virginia.

    At the risk of sounding righteous (and decidedly unfamous), here’s a great quote I like from Po Bronson. “Don’t be jealous of others’ success. Jealousy and envy are the enemy of genuine creativity. Wish others well and hope to join them someday.” Easier said than done, I know. I suffer from it too.

    Yes, Emma’s story is fantastic. In fact, it makes me think of some other, equally fantastic stories in a collection I have on my bookshelf. The collection is called ‘Coming up Roses’. Perhaps you know it?

    • Sarah Laing permalink
      11/06/2012 2:08 pm

      Haha, thanks, Jared. That is an excellent quote. And I am working towards that enlightened state.

  3. Drew permalink
    11/06/2012 2:40 pm

    Don’t worry Sarah, we’ll go out on Thursday and get drunk.

    Plus Morrissey officially retired last week and Virginia’s dead and I was a bridesman at that same wedding and still haven’t written a word, so everything is looking up!

    • melissa laing permalink
      11/06/2012 3:20 pm

      Do all the bridesmaids get to come drew – I could do with some my friends are more successful than me consolation drinks too –

      For this to resemble my life 2nd page, last panel, third page first panel insert name robin

  4. Phil D-B permalink
    11/06/2012 7:19 pm

    Haha… I’m just a puppet for the men! I have to say Sarah, you had some pretty brilliant flashes as a designer too, of course boosted by your ability to tell very extraordinary stories. You’d be welcome back any time!

    • Sarah Laing permalink
      11/06/2012 8:18 pm

      Thank you, Phil, that’s very kind of you to say! I always did like the narrative/story-telling element of design. And the regular pay cheques.

  5. stelladuffy permalink
    11/06/2012 7:40 pm

    Yes. Exactly this. Thank you.
    (And from the London side of the world “All my NZ friends are doing so well, they all have shiny homes overlooking water, they all know each other, and have shiny lives where I grew up and I haven’t even been invited to an NZ book thing for years and of course I’m happy for them and am proud of their lives …” And on.)
    Brilliant piece, spot on, am sharing widely.

    • Sarah Laing permalink
      11/06/2012 10:05 pm

      Thank you so much! But I only look over a birdbath – sorry to disabuse you of that notion. You should definitely come over and talk to us when your next book comes out!

  6. 11/06/2012 7:43 pm

    Reblogged this on A Knife And A Quill and commented:
    For those who suffer writer envy…

  7. stelladuffy permalink
    11/06/2012 7:58 pm

    and I’ve reblogged it here :
    (but I’m not skilled enough to know how to make that look like a pretty link.)

    • Carol Brown permalink
      12/06/2012 11:21 am

      Ms Laing, Ms Laing, and you with three bonza kids, a neat partner, an adoring public and a damn fine haircut. Hush your mouth, woman!

  8. David Geary permalink
    12/06/2012 4:10 pm

    Ha ha. I was going to send you Morrissey’s WE HATE IT WHEN OUR FRIENDS BECOME SUCCESSFUL…until I read on to find it was in the story! Perhaps the classic – “It should have been me!” will suffice. Sadly, we can never have enough, and artistic jealousy is always there, so that we secretly rejoice when we see others cut down, as in Clive James’ brilliant ‘The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered, and I am pleased’. I think we all start out believing we’re Mozart and then, in mid-career suddenly fear we are in fact Salieri. To tell you that others envy you, and your talent, and versatility, is of no use. Where are the gongs and mansions, the first-class air-tickets to everywhere? All is vanity, as Shakespeare said. Thank goodness for him, playwrights need never fool themselves that they can ever come within a country mile of that genius. Perhaps we must eventually return to what we were best at in the first place, where we started – a fan of others. DG. PS: As I write this I’m listening to the Canadian band THE WEAKERTHANS – REUNION TOUR album, and the divine song ‘Sun In An Empty Room’. I can not believe they have not conquered the world. Rambling, must stop now.

    • Sarah Laing permalink
      13/06/2012 8:53 am

      I love your rambling! Please, go on! And I had a listen to the Weakerthans last night. Very promising.

  9. David Geary permalink
    14/06/2012 5:34 pm

    Have you seen the film MEPHISTO (1981) ? Won Cannes and best foreign Oscar. Adapted from the book by Klaus Mann, film by Istvan Szabo, and starring a mercurial Klaus Maria Brandauer. It’s a wonderful riff on artistic jealousy, and the lengths one will go to succeed. An amazing film well worth digging up. Also reminds me of how when McCarthyism hit Hollywood, and many were blacklisted as commies, guys like Elia Kazan were ‘friendly witnesses’ dobbing in others. Hence many didn’t clap and wouldn’t stand up when he won an honorary Oscar in recent years. Sure, he won it for his visionary work, and it wasn’t a ‘Best Person’ Award, but who else might have won such an honour if they hadn’t have been prevented from working their craft… um, does that make you feel better? regards Rambler.

  10. Steve Braunias permalink
    15/06/2012 1:30 pm

    Okay so now you’ve done something “serious and literary-minded”, and judges of NZ media’s most coveted prize have called you a “genius”. So now could you do the one about your new haircut, please?


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