Thursday, February 23, 2012


Like many people, I'm subject to envy. But one strange feature of my envy is that typically I envy not people who have achievements forever unattainable to me, people who are impossibly smarter, richer, nicer, more talented, better looking. I envy people who have things that are well within my reach, that I could have only by willing harder to get those things.

Take my friend Kim. I envy the little meals she makes for herself every day. She'll email me about them, as part of our regular catching up with each other about the events of our lives. I'll hear that last night she made herself stuffed shells filled with spinach and ricotta, and a salad of fresh greens tossed with a light dressing; with that she had a glass of Italian wine from Tuscany; while she ate she listened to Vivaldi. And I'll feel this keen stab of unbearable yearning: how I want that little meal, made so lovingly by her for her, rather than, say, the piece of leftover cold pizza eaten standing up in the kitchen.

And then I want to say to myself "Um, Claudia? You COULD have that." But for some reason I don't do it.

Lately I've been especially envying my former self - not my much younger, thinner self of decades ago, but my self of last year. Last year at this time I was in the middle of writing a novel and I was absolutely consumed with it. I attended the convention of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics in Cincinnati (which I'll be attending again weekend after this one), and I spent most of my time there in my hotel room writing, or sipping pomegranate martinis in the bar while writing - writing, writing, writing! This year, I'm not in the middle of writing anything. So I'll just go to the conference sessions, I guess. Poor me! Lucky her!

And then I want to say to myself, "Um, Claudia? You could BE her!" But for some reason lately I haven't been writing.

So: nice little meals for one. Writing something, anything. It's a topic for another day why we so often don't let ourselves have the things we want, things that seem so clearly to be within our reach. At least here in Greencastle, I do often take myself out for nice little meals to restaurants: to get a baked sweet potato and veg o'day at Chief's, to have my beloved French toast at the Blue Door Cafe. And I HAVE been making lots of tantalizing notes in the little leather-bound notebook that Gregory gave me for Christmas, which I've christened my creativity notebook.

So I'm getting that much closer to eating Kim's meals and writing the way I did last year, to getting for myself those little highly attainable things that I keep on coveting.