Darrell never excelled in school; he was always a really nice guy to me in the halls, but I hate to admit that it never dawned on me that he might be literate. Then one day I was going to my car and I saw him smoking with a few of the heavy metal t-shirt crowd at the far end of the parking lot. One of them was reading something out loud and they were all laughing their asses off.
This wasn’t a crowd I hung with, but I had to know what they were reading. Most people knew I did a little writing (to kill time in Honors English), but I wrote about boring subject matter, like a pseudo-superhero cheerleader character – based on the real-life cheerleader I silently(?) carried a torch for. When classmates were taking the time to stand out in the parking lot reading, I wanted it to be my stuff that they were laughing at.
I asked them what they were reading, knowing it wasn't a story from my Legend of Um chronicles, since I hadn’t released any new material recently. Darrell explained that it was his new story, “Ode to Al.” Al, as it turned out, was a pretty special turd that lived in his toilet. This wasn’t any ordinary turd, mind you. It was the kind of turd that you wanted to show off to your friends, and maybe even take home to mother. Keep in mind, too, that this was 1989, years before South Park gave us Mr. Hanky, the Christmas Poo.
Are writers jealous of each other? Damn right they are, and I was certainly jealous of Darrell that day. Here he was paying homage to a major piece of his life, and all I was writing about was a girl that didn’t know me from Al.
What makes you jealous?
Have you ever had a turd so amazing that you just had to show it off? What made it worth sharing with the ones you love?
“So writing is not just writing. It is also having a relationship with other writers. And don't be jealous, especially secretly. That's the worst kind. If someone writes something great, it's just more clarity in the world for all of us.” – Natalie Goldberg