The purpose of an artistic nemesis is to harness the narcissism of comparison, helping us identify the critical differences between our work and theirs, to emerge with a clarified sense of who we want to be instead. The point is not to be consumed with debilitating bitterness or rage but to summon just enough precious envy to put to constructive use.
This, by the way, is how theses newsletters often begin: with a bubble map of my mind.
There were a few things I forgot to throw in, like Plutarch on how to profit from your enemies:
In Plutarch’s “How to Profit by One’s Enemies,” he advises that rather than lashing out at your enemies or completely ignoring them, you should study them and see if they can be useful to you in some way. He writes that because our friends are not always frank and forthcoming with us about our shortcomings, “we have to depend on our enemies to hear the truth.” Your enemy will point out your weak spots for you, and even if he says something untrue, you can then analyze what made him say it.