Thursday, May 22, 2014

BEA and Jealousy

The musical Into The Woods starts out with the words "Once upon a time...I wish." The main characters in the story each have something they wish for. They get their wishes at the end of the first act. But things quickly spiral downward when things don't work out as they dreams. Never fear, everything is made right by the end. Still, the final lines of the musical are: "And happily ever after! ... I wish."

Satisfaction is not part of human nature. We always want something more. When we get our dream, we start dreaming of going further. This is good. This is how we progress. We invent wagons so lots of people and things can travel by horse, but that's slow and relies on an animal. Someone comes up with the idea of trains, which can carry lots of people and go very quickly, but there are only so many train tracks and you have to travel with lots of people. Someone comes up with the idea of the automobile, which is versatile and cheap enough for most people to own, but it's still relatively slow and can't travel over water. Someone invents airplanes, which can carry hundreds of people around the world within hours. And it goes on and on. Each new incredible innovation is never good enough. We're always seeking.

Unfortunately, wishing does not always serve us well. It often transforms from ambition to jealousy. Unbridled envy that someone has something you do not. In the book blogging community, BEA is a time for celebration, but also a time where the green-eyed monster preys on nearly everyone - those who don't attend and even those who do.

I'm certainly not the first person to write about BEA and jealousy. My friend Mary of Bookswarm wrote a fabulous post the other day. Actually, I wrote a more extensive piece on blogging jealousy several years ago. Still, I thought BEA merited another jealousy post, partly because I felt  inspired and partly because I couldn't think of anything else to post today.

The only thing I can think of to say that may be different than other posts is:

Don't be ashamed to feel jealous about BEA or about anything else blog-related. 

Embrace your jealousy. Just don't let it control you.

Jealousy is natural. It's not particularly productive in this instance, but for book-lovers like us, BEA is like being given a shopping spree in a chocolate store. It's impossible not to wish that you could experience at least some part of the festivities.

BEA attendees are not immune from feeling jealousy. This will be my third year attending BEA. It is the first year I've ever been invited to any of the publisher parties. I spent the past few years seething with jealousy as my friends got to go to parties I didn't. Even this year, when I get to go to a few parties, I'm still jealous of friends who got invites to parties that I didn't. Logically, I'm aware of how ridiculous this feeling is. I am incredibly lucky to attend BEA at all. Even luckier to get invited to a few parties. Yet, just like the characters in Into The Woods, even when all my wants are fulfilled, I still say "I wish."

My only advice on dealing with jealousy is pretty self-explanatory: (1) Let it pass and (2) Don't be a jerk.

BEA is only a short time each year. There will be a week or two of follow-up posts and then it will be gone. Plus, you can participate in Armchair BEA, a great event for non-BEA attenders to connect with other bloggers and join giveaways. I participated in it before I started going to BEA and enjoyed it. It helps pass the time. Or if it really bothers you, steer clear of the blogosphere for a few weeks. Either way, by mid-June it will be over.

Don't be a jerk is also obvious, although sometimes easier said than done when emotions are riding high. If you're going to BEA, don't push or cut in line. Elementary school stuff. If you're not going to BEA, don't lash out at anyone who is. If you want to vent on Twitter with your friends, go ahead. Just don't make it personal. It may seem like some of us are bragging about our good fortunes on our blogs for the next few weeks, but really we're just excited and grateful for the opportunity to attend.

If you're one of the few who manage to get through BEA - either attending or not attending - without feeling any speck of envy...Wow, I'm jealous.


  1. Yep, doing Armchair BEA and scheming with fellow blogger, Please Feed the Bookworm, to save enough money to go next year. I want to know everything people are experiencing at BEA because it will show me what to do and not do. I want to learn from their mistakes and successes, so I can get the most out of my trip (and money) when I go, whether it ends up being next year or four years from now. :)

  2. Ha! I used to get jealous about all the parties I'm never invited to but now I just think of how lucky I am to be able to go to BEA at all and all the wonderful opportunities I've had through blogging and it calms my green eyed monster down.

    I just have fun with whatever comes my way now.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  3. You know at first I was jealous and stalk blogs to look for picture and to see what they got. But after blogging for so long I just learn to be content with what I have. I'm okay with not going. I may never get a chance to go. So long as I get to read what I love, that should be enough.

  4. Amen, doll! Amen. Let it pass and don't be a jerk -- yep. We all have jealousy. It's human nature. But it's best to say, yeah, I'm jealous then let it go. Not much you can do about it but embrace what you've got. And the pushing and shoving is ridiculous. I mean, seriously, people? Wow.

  5. completely agree with you. Jealously is completely natural and being jealous does not make you a bad person, it is what you do with it that can make you bad!

    Great posts my dear! :D

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

  6. I feel incredibly lucky just to be able to go to BEA at all (this is my third year as well.) I don't get invited to all the parties either, but I'm very appreciative of publishers and all the do to keep me reading all year long! I love meeting the authors, listening to everyone talk books. It's just a great few days to share with like-minded people.

  7. Nicely said Alison! I would love to go to BEA and really what stops me is money--I keep going to RT which is another perfect example of jealousy and whatnot! And the other thing is it being in NYC and me being somewhat terrified to tackle it on my own. I've done RT on my own the past few years since I could never wrangle a friend to come along, and it's no big. I know in a sense NYC would be like that too, but then it's freaking BEA! Is there a BEA Virgins course prior to BEA like RT had?! I would feel so overwhelmed there too.

    Although I am thinking of giving it a go in 2016 when I heard it would take place in Chicago! I've been there, so I feel comfortable in that atmosphere.

    But again, you do provide good points! As bloggers we should be able to bask in some happiness, but without overly flaunting it. And if we can't go, we shouldn't express anger left and right either. The same can be said about these parties you mentioned too!

    It all kind of comes back to needing to be grateful for what you have in life and not fretting about what you don't have.

    I for one would still love to attend one year! Do you need a roommate for 2016? ;)

    1. Oh and yeah, totally remember that movie/play Into the Woods! A classic! Love it! Took me a bit to remember it from when I watched it in school but I could recall bits and bobs as I was reading and could almost hear the song playing in my head! :)

  8. I'm jealous that you've been able to go three times. That's awesome! Someday I'll make it there, but until then, I actually love seeing BEA hauls and reading posts about it since that lets me experience it vicariously through other bloggers. I'm cool with that. For now :)

  9. Love Into the Woods! This will be my first year at BEA and I'm thrilled to be going, but I'm sure I'll be a little jealous of those parties! :-)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  10. I love the Into The Woods reference, a great musical! Really good post!

    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination

  11. Hahaha, I've been feeling jealous this year of the bloggers invited to parties I haven't been invited to, but then I look over my schedule for next week and realize I had NO time for anything else, so it's not like I could go anyway!

  12. Very good post! I think you can apply it to all areas of life. Envy is just a natural emotion, and if people say they aren't envious about anything? Well, I call bullshit. It seems to be the human condition that we always want something a step further. Even if we have it good, there's always something out of reach that we wish we had. It's a shitty feeling, but I think it's okay, as long as you're not living your whole life this way. As we've all said, it's natural to be jealous about some things, you just can't let it consume you. Like, I'm super jealous that I'll probably never get to BEA, but I can look back at all the author events I *have* been able to attend, and realize how lucky I am compared to people who don't live within driving distance of a major city (Toronto, in my case). It's all about how you look at things. :)

  13. This is my first year going and I'm totes jealous of some of the parties I didn't get invited to, but that's okay too, because I know I'll be exhausted if it's anything like RT was last year!

  14. I am not going to BEA this year, as my exams start next week. I wasn't able to go last year either, for the same reason. I'm not particularly jealous of the bloggers who do get to go, though, I think what I'd enjoy the most would be to meet up with them - even if meeting some of my favorite authors would be truly awesome as well!
    And I love that so many bloggers share their experiences - the good, the bad and the absolutely awesome! It helps me to prepare for when I do get to go. You know, the tips about having a carry-on with me every day to fill with books. Have an extra suitcase for books for the plane-ride back to Europe...
    I hope you'll have a fantastic time, Alison! Enjoy every second, every other blogger you get to meet, and every author you can swoon and squee over :)
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  15. I don't know what happened in my reply above... I must have been logged off my google account...

  16. It's only natural for humans to experience the feeling of jealousy at least once or twice in our lives. When we see something cool, or someone experiencing an awesome experience we automatically wish we could be having that same experience. It's only natural.


I love comments. I appreciate every one! Thank you in advance.

This blog is now an award free zone. I just don't have time to pass on the awards as they deserve.