free the pen, a blog for writers

July 24, 2014

Titan Arum

Filed under: interviews, writing, health, inspiration, dreams — freethepen @ 2:28 pm

                                                         Titan Arum

MarilynblogBy Marilyn Ashbaugh

Envy is a titan arum. The corpse flower rarely blooms but when it does, people become flies, smelling rotting flesh and desiring to be a part of it. It’s beauty is juxtaposed amid its putrefaction, and therein lies its enigma, its mystery. And so envy in the writer’s garden can, with proper cultivation, become beauteous. To a dung beetle its fetid odor smells of opportunity.

Every writer begins as a reader, oftentimes one with a ravenous appetite. Who doesn’t wish to live in the parallel universe created by a good read? The fascination with words is the breadcrumb trail that leads the reader to dip her toe into the writer’s pond. There she becomes Narcissus, never wishing to leave its reflective potential. Envy is the nostalgia of a dream, viewed in another’s writing. The longing feels like a piece is missing, left behind on some jagged river rock of a rough draft. An unsuspecting writer finds and polishes smooth a similar idea. The polished writing attracts a green-eyed predator. Oh, to desire and not possess.

There is an antidote. Aristotle refers to envy as the close cousin of emulation. Emulation takes envy’s malignancy and makes it benign. The diamond has many facets because of the cutter’s skill. I take as my inspiration the diamond of another’s writing, translate it into my own voice, polish it with my experiences and picture it through my soul’s lens.

Things are worthwhile when we seek them; only then do we know their value.

Hazrat Inayat Khan.

About Marilyn: Marilyn Ashbaugh is a philanthropist, writer, mobile photographer and master organic gardener. She is founder and director of Yoga Michiana providing grants to all spiritual traditions for over 20 years.

Thank you Marilyn. It has been a pleasure having you speak to my writing audience.

Keep the pen moving!



  1. Jan, thank you for the opportunity! Marilyn

    Comment by ashbaugh108 — July 24, 2014 @ 5:25 pm | Reply

    • I am pleased to have your wise words on this site. Please contribute again anytime.

      Comment by freethepen — July 24, 2014 @ 5:59 pm | Reply

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