My favorite sports story (myth? metaphor?) is the one where two competitors fight to the bitter end in very close competition and then fall into each other’s arms. One has won, one has lost, but in the moment it doesn’t really matter which one did which, because the whole thing was about the fight or the game or the process — the doing with each other.

I wrote a story about that once: “Blindsided by Venus in the House of Mars.” It’s sort of a love story, but it’s also about how winning isn’t what anything’s about, even when everything is on the line. It was published quite a few years back in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine.

Maybe I should send it out to reprint markets.

I’m not particularly competitive. I like to succeed, don’t get me wrong. I want to be read, to be listened to, for others to admire my work, to get accepted by magazines and publishers, and I realize that when I get accepted someone else gets rejected, as a rule.

But I don’t do it for the joy of beating someone else. I do it for the joy of doing. If I succeed, I am not thinking about all those people who lost when I “won”; I’m just thinking about the fact that someone liked what I did.

I’d feel something similar if I was competing in karate or tennis or road races or something, though it would spoil some of my pleasure if a person beat me and then engaged in taunting.

(I really don’t like taunting.)

I want to be good and I want to be recognized as good, but I’m not doing it so that I can call someone else a loser.

I mean, some artists, athletes, musicians and so forth do transcend the rest of us — sometimes just once, sometimes over a long period of time — but that doesn’t mean the others are losers. Continue reading “Competition”