I am not an envious man. Still, if you work in this field long enough, a sufficient number of your friends are going to be successful that you'll feel a momentary twinge of envy every now and then. One of your pals shows you pictures of the castle he just bought, or you open the Sunday New York Times and there's an editorial about what the latest novel by the guy you used to hang with means to the nation. You feel a twinge, you take a deep breath, and you move on.
I've known George R. R. Martin since -- my God! can this be true? -- at least the first convention where he was guest of honor. That was some thirty-plus years ago, and I remember this fact only because I was present when he remarked how tired he was and Gardner Dozois replied, "I warned you -- when you're guest of honor, they work you like a horse."
So that means I've seen him win two Hugos at one Worldcon, write blockbuster novels, create a major television series (Beauty), beome a megabestseller, and have a smash hit HBO series based on his work, all without the least twinge of jealousy. Good to see that, I thought. George deserves it. More power to him. And then... and then... the Onion ran a parody news story on him. You can read it here.
Okay, cleansing breath. Square up the shoulders. Move on. For a moment there, I was genuinely jealous. But I'm over it now.
I ran across George at the Worldcon this year. I was hurrying down a hall headed one way and he was hurrying up it headed the other, both of us rushing to make panels we were on. I altered course and said, "Hey, George. I just wanted to say hi before you were too big a success to talk to the likes of me."
"Too late!" he said, smiling, and hurried on.
If you're not from the East Coast, you probably don't get it, but he'd just busted my chops. It's the way folks hereabouts let you know that we like you.
But that's George, innit? Unspoiled.
Above: an image icon I found floating through Facebook. Didn't make me envious for even a second. As I said, it takes a lot.