Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Saturday, June 24, 2017

a lasting value

 I stopped in the Dollar Tree looking for a specific item. I didn't find what I wanted but that isn't surprising, after all, it is the Dollar Tree. This particular store was in shambles. It looked like a going out of business sale was in progress. I spoke briefly with another customer who told me this store always looked like that. Well, alright then. I turned up an aisle that contained books. There were books scattered on the shelves and on the floor. All kinds of books. Hard cover and paperback books all in a scrambled up mess. As I glanced over this spectacle of literature I couldn't help but think about it. All those literary efforts on sale for one dollar ! I can't imagine writing a book and then seeing it for sale for one dollar. How must these authors feel ? Surely they are aware of this. I found it rather disheartening. It is a stark reminder of just how fickle the public can be. All that time and effort into producing a book and it is worth, one dollar !
 I have often spoke of writing a book. After seeing that I'm not so sure I want to do that anymore. I have researched the cost of having it printed and it isn't cheap. One dollar isn't going to get you much. But I suppose the question is do you expect to make any money from the effort. Now I've never thought I would write a best seller or become a famous author but I figured my book would be worth more than a dollar. I wonder how this happened with those books. Someone. somewhere had to pay to have them published and someone, somewhere is taking a big loss. No way are you going to even break even at a dollar a copy. Just how does that happen ? Did the original publisher just make a bad judgement ? Did someone other than the author figure these works would sell ? Certainly they must have or they wouldn't have invested the money in the first place.
 As I was thinking about all of that it occurred to me maybe I should go back to that store. Maybe I should buy a few books and see just who published them. They must be easy ! Hey if they are publishing all these books that wind up selling for a dollar maybe I have a chance. I didn't really browse through that pile of books but some must be alright. I think I could write a book that is " alright. " I don't think that is too ambitious a thing and a goal that isn't unreasonable. Maybe I could get their editor to read my manuscript and say, " it's alright " let's publish it.
 Seriously though I did feel a little sad for the authors of those books. I can imagine how I would feel. It must be like seeing your handcrafted items at a yard sale. You know how long and how much effort went into the object and get offered fifty cents. I feel insulted. But then the satisfaction is in the doing not the profit. Isn't that what we are told ? It doesn't matter one bit if anyone else likes it or not ! That is what I keep telling myself. The truth is it does matter. We all want to be recognized, to be validated among our peers. It is a question of value. Value is assigned by others, isn't that the truth of it ? Something only has value when others want it. That is a hard lesson to learn. It is even harder to accept it as truth. We all struggle with one problem, leaving something of lasting value. For some it is money, for others it is property, and still others leave behind works of art. But what of the average everyday man ? What does he leave of lasting value ? It must be intangible. Is there value in the intangible ? Yes I would say that there is. You can't touch a memory but what is its' value ? To be remembered is to be valued. It is what we are remembered for, that assigns value. Are you going for mass appeal or a select audience ? Only in knowing that answer can the work begin.
 Take that pile of books at the dollar store. Each one has a value placed upon it at one dollar. What value did the author place upon it ? Were they all writing for mass appeal or an individual audience ? If it were for mass appeal  you would have to say they failed in their efforts. If the book was written only to satisfy a few or even one it was published and therefore a success. It may have been a bad business decision on the part of the publisher but a great achievement to the author. It really all depends upon the value assigned.