One of the professional hazards that may come with being a writer is the hazard of thinking too much. Unfortunately, I cannot blame my eccentricity on my profession, but I can blame my profession on my eccentricity. As far as I could remember, I have always kept thinking about things more than I should. Most may look at this eccentricity, rightly so, as my greatest weakness, but I have also tried my damnedest, to the point of obsession, to hone this weakness into a strength. While I can't necessarily, or precisely, call fiction writing a strength, I can say it is something I'm willing to continue, quite stubbornly at that.
This stubbornness, thanks to my need to turn a weak obsession into a strength, has led me to a mission, a mission that has arisen out of a kind of tiredness. I have been particularly tired of eyes that see no substance in style, as well as trivial mouths that breathe little life into real work. A whole lot of noise has been the norm on the internet, and while I do not agree that silencing that noise is absolutely never a viable solution, I think a great deal of caution should be considered by anyone that decides to add to that noise. What I mean is that while this chaotic noise needs to be welcomed with open arms, no matter what cost of offense, I think the noise must be opposed with tools that can speak louder, without be regulatory or just-as-annoying. I've long been annoyed with the mentality of putting the echo chambers into the debate hall: combating the noise of internet culture with the standards of logic and reason, decrying an automatic win because the “facts don't care about your feelings.” This is not to say that the standards of logic and reasoning isn't intriguing to me, but I cannot live by those standards, surrounded by the mathematical perfections of brick walls. Both sides, of the political and the philosophical spectrum, have been dissecting the paradoxes of human behavior and the culture into many brick boxes, which they'll call mansions, so to provide conveniences for the monolithic god of science. A culture fight can't be fought with a well-reasoned shout. Culture wars can't be waged with wins and loses. They need to be fought with the hard hit of the gong, waged with a singing voice, and success needs to be realized with the subtle stroke of the hand, drawing lines that are desperately needed.
So, this is the crusade I find myself in, the crusade I have always been in, and I'm about to be done with weaving my flag. My mission is to pick up that flag and carry it off into a blooming sunset. I'd like to explain the intricacies of the flag I plan to carry, to elaborate my mission. The mission is to create, to promote and explain what creation means, and my flag is my drive to create stories, to share more creations, all to respond to the cynicisms of noises, to combat the mounds, of commentary content, content of criticisms filled with sharp scalpels, and disconnected content paraded as news and journalism. Don't get me wrong, the content is as viable as the noise, but creators, who have no means of garnering their clout by their own work (just to receive sponsorship through advertisement or patronage) unlike those who can work off the backs of other creations, are practically strong armed into a immovable hope, relying on the slow concessions to an amorphous community. Art has no longer been about what was serviceable from an individual's work; rather, it has become what is decreed as serviceable through consensus, living and dying by the networking strength of the individual. For too long, we have given the content feeders the power to capture, commentate, and criticize the work of those who gave them concessions, and they have called themselves creators. Despite whatever hard work it takes to produce their content, they are not creators. They are performers of taste.
I illustrate all of this, admittedly slinging my words all over the place, not merely to display an argument. Rather, I am trying to bring forth a complicated plea to other writers, artists, musicians, entertainers, and designers who's main goal is to not merely pay lip service to dogma. Whether they do or do not, their goal heads to toward an unadulterated, artistic freedom. The plea is not to help not only my endeavors, but to help your endeavors, to help you open your eyes to the value of the work you and others do, as well as the work that can be done. This plea is for neither unionization or community, but rather, it is a plea for a marketplace, a plea for trade, and a plea for many competitions, not just the zero-sum games. I know I, like any other artist, am too invested in my own work, family, and life to invest any time and effort into any community acceptance, and I'll be damned if I invest my freedom and soul into the promises of security and solvency, provided by a compliance to a union. But, a marketplace is – to use a repulsive yet apt word – an organic investment where the only requirement is work. Time and effort and freedom and soul are tailored to the discretions of each individual creator, and they are bound to other individuals not by testy community spirits or tyrannical union dues, but by contract. Our fealty need not be lent on any sense of duty, we need only lend the commodity of work to the common goal of business, upon the common grounds of a market place. We shall trade by work and pay through honor, and with any luck, we will build something truly valuable for ourselves, whether it be a readership or an art gallery.
This is why I have a website called Dollar Lousy, to present a starting point for this marketplace. I won't bore you with the meaning of the title here, but I will say it is apt in describing a grievance to a lost value, a value that can be regained if we see commodity as value and not the other way around. As a segue, I am sure many of you have this thought floating in your minds, “If only I had the cash.” Certainly, it is a thought that plagues us, telling us it will be the value that builds our commodity. We already have the commodity, it's as plain as day, but too often we've played the gamble of the zero-sum game, rarely becoming the masters of our craft or individuality. We can't all devote our cash to one another, and we're not always going to be interested in each others' work, but we can provide space for promotion and collaboration through honorable and respectable contract. Help me with the commodity of my art, and I shall do the same for your art. I hope you will help me build this market of creativity. Please, head over to my website, www.dollarlousy.com, and there, I hope it won't take too much of your time to read the Page entitled The Contract. Community effort is certainly appreciated, but it is not the be-all-end-all solution, in my opinion. It's only an exclusive system of unspoken favors and duties, leaving the creative people – like you and me – with the breadcrumbs that fall off its political and/or social campaigns. In my mind, it is better to have those favors and duties explicitly known, if they are to be explicitly expected.
Yes, there is a good possibility that I am full of one stinking failure after another. Still, the pining for Retweets, Reposts, like, etc., etc. seems to only bring nothing but the most ugly form of detachment, whether it is intentional or not, for creative professionals and amateurs. At the very least, this is an idea that goes beyond the idea of spamming those with the most follows, friends, or subscribers. I want to display your art, your music, your store, your books... I want it to be something more than a link on my website or in my ebook. I want your statement that you exist as an artist, that your commodity exists, and whether it's liked or not is up to a growing consumer base. We don't have to like each other to respect our needs to make our work valuable. Because, in my mind, being worth one lousy dollar should hold a whole lot more valuable than being worth a whole lot of nothing.