I think less about the nature of my desires than I do desire, period, need and fulfillment, which, you can imagine the end of that. Not very fulfilling.
I know very well the things I have to do and that's not a problem, but I don't query myself all that much about what I want really past the very base: I want to do whatever it takes so I don't have to sacrifice writing. So: I don't want to be a vagrant. I would have to have a drug problem, too, if writing was to totally drop off all priorities. That's not really desire. That's utility. Why am I weird about that?
Envy isn't something I feel. It isn't part of my essential makeup. I do not have an envious disposition. This comes from having an intense disposition, I think, one not easily distracted by the shininess of another. I've felt envy twice. The first was stupid - over a girl my first real boyfriend seemed to prefer over me. There were other girls he preferred over me but I knew them, knew what they were like and what he was like, and that didn't bother me because I was a teenager and I knew what our relationship was. But this girl made me wild because I recognized that she was beautiful. And I didn't know her. So she still populates my writing sporadically, because that time was so charged.
So when it comes to desire about what I want to do - if you were to ask me, I would say, I want to work so I can write. But that is not my double rainbow. Writing is, innately, and that's not a problem. That will never be a problem. But in terms of contribution, emotional/financial transaction with the world, I want to build, and the idea of not building something significant makes me want to shrivel and disintegrate.
Where I am, where I sit and write and apply to jobs, is at a wide computer and right behind that is a wall of books. Spine after spine. I am flanked from both sides, too. Two stacks on each side. More on the pull-out surfaces, more on a shelf on the floor that I think was intended for nicknacks (nothing fits in that weird thing but books lying down). I won't pretend to know what goes on inside Target's head. Annie Dillard in the Writing Life advises one to eliminate from the office space a window out of which to dream. That's what the books obstruct. I look up and I see all the small insignias of the individual publishers. I have piles of forms and papers about foundations and centers and festivals. When the impulse moves me to look up and find a window, I hit this, and it turns over and over in my mind: I want to do what you do. I want to provide opportunities for people. I want to make things. I want to provide an important service. I don't want to dwell at the bottom, providing the least and getting the least. I want my returns to come from the impact I make and I want that to be distinct and positive.
I'm trying to teach myself to articulate this. I go to write cover letters for lofty jobs that, even if I do qualify, I won't get, and I find I don't have the language to express why I want these opportunities. It isn't insignificance, a sense like I can't do it or they wouldn't take me seriously. It is definitely a complete ignorance about how to write cover letters. It's not worry. I'm surprised sometimes to find I'm not complacent. I really incubated in complacency until I had a rudimentary understanding of what I wanted. Sometimes I rake myself over the volcano glass for not catching on earlier in a heated, professional manner, which is stupid to do. It is easier to wish I'd done things than to get up and do things. Theoretically. If it were not such a stress to imagine young-me doing anything but what I did, which I believe, really, when I get to thinking about it, was all to my benefit.