Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Buying and selling words

I was thinking about this yesterday while buying books at Barnes & Noble. I'm in need of good things to read...things that will take me away and stimulate my mind, but not require too much deep thought (hence, my purchase of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants).

So how did the development of buying and selling books come about? How did some people get blessed with the gift of words to the point that they can put them together on paper and sell them to those of us who are much less blessed (some of us are even cursed in the words department).

Words are free. Aren't they? Every day I read things written by amazing people with amazing stories to tell...all for free. And there have been some insights that clearly could have been "professionally" written (Lorem's discussion with God over the noise of the vacuum, being one that comes to mind immediately).

At what point do you find that you have a gift that other people are willing to pay to gaze upon? And how does someone come upon this realization? For myself, I choose to share my words as a form of therapy for myself. If I can synthesize all the crazy thoughts into some coherent sentences, then I'm able to make some sense of life. Previously, that was in an attempt to gain some control. Now, it's merely to maintain my sanity.

At one point I considered not writing any more. But a friend suggested that some day someone would stumble on my words and feel less alone and less confused. That happened already...and I'm honored to have been able to help in even a tiny way. I don't think I could have ever charged for that privilege. But many do.

It's a strange, strange, strange world.

2 comments:

Lisa P. said...

As you know, I'm someone who stumbled onto your words and was glad they were there for me... :)

Blogging for me is a way to take all the things that had been jumbling themselves up in my brain and release at least some of them. I don't write anything profound, myself, but I am always deeply impressed by people who do.

Lorem ipsum said...

Actually, I used to be a professional journalist, writing nonfiction. Now I still write nonfiction, but it's therapy and I'm happy to give it away for free. If no one is paying you, you aren't beholden to them to make it the way THEY want it.

I've always known I have a gift. I'd be either a lawyer or a writer when I grew up. I have a novel written that no agent would touch (well, some read the whole thing, others rejected it on a query), all with the comment that it's a great story, but how do you market it? It's too dark, it's not popular RIGHT NOW, why did you make it THIS WAY... of course, most don't even give you that much. Which is another reason I shun popular novels. (As far as the lawyer bit, I took some law classes but the tedium killed off brain cells more efficiently than any drugs or alcohol I might have been using at the time.)

There is a definite difference between writing for money and writing for love. I've done both, with partial success. Obviously.

On to writing the next novel... which is always easier than having another baby. Or at least it is for me.