On Comparison

A friend of mine from my old writer’s group has her second book coming out next week, and she’s been posting small bits from the novel. And it’s amazing, and I am so, so excited for her.

But it’s also hard to read those bits and not get a little…jealous? She’s a great writer. And I find myself comparing my writing to hers, and it’s not as good. I tell myself that part of it is that we write very different books (she’s a romance writer, and she’s very good at it, and I am not good at romance). Part of it is that this is a book that is being published next week. It’s polished and clean, and has had extra sets of eyes on it.

And then I come across a handful of lines that I’ve written, and I fall in love with them, and I realize that it doesn’t matter. It’s possible that I will never be (traditionally) published. It’s possible that I’m not as good a writer as she is.

But that doesn’t matter. Because I did this:

“Why not? Why would I let you suffer needlessly?”

“I would think you’d be a big fan of letting me suffer.”

Him,” I replied. “I love watching him suffer.”

“That’s beautiful, Kyle.”

“Fuck you, he deserves to suffer.”

“Well, I assure you, he’s suffering greatly.”

“Good. I hope it was worth what you guys did to me.” She set her jaw, a now-familiar move. “You were about to say that it was.”

“I’m doing my best not to provoke you, so no, I wasn’t.”

“Sure.”

And I love that. I love the way they’re fighting, the way Alex and Kyle know exactly how to push each other’s buttons, and how even though they’re saying angry, awful things to each other, they love each other so much, and in the greater framework of this scene, it’s there, the love, in between the hate. And I know that eventually I’m going to finish writing their stories, and I’m going to miss them.

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