If I move around in a permanent state of confusion, it is not my fault. Most of it is thanks to the fact that people are so complicated.
Just see what happens when someone writes a book. Everyone and his uncle starts screaming, “Where is my free copy?” By which, of course, you understand that they would all love to read his writing; it is just the price that is keeping them off reading it.
As usual, it was merely an interesting thing to watch as a spectator when it happened to others. When it happened to me, though, it required some action on my part.
You see, the problem is that I just could not afford to give so many free copies. And, yet, the thought of all these people thirsting to read my book, and shedding copious tears about their inability to do so, was so heart-rending.
In a bid to slake their thirst, I cast around for a solution. Then it struck me. They could not buy my book, I could not give away so many copies but I did write a blog and THAT was free for all. So, why not point them at it and save their lives by quenching their thirst for my writing?
I did so…and they sniffed at it, turned up their noses and walked away as though I had offered them the job of washing my dirty linen.
Why?? They want my writing for free but they would not accept what is available for free. I could not fathom it. They wanted to read me for free, I gave them the option and, now, they indicate strongly that they would rather remain thirsty.
There I was, cast back into my usual state of incomprehension, and would have been wandering around in a daze but for a stray memory from the past.
In the long gone days, when we lived in Neyveli, we had a servant maid who complained perpetually of a pain in her chest. My mom, generous always, took her along to the Neyveli General Hospital and used her connects to get a free X-Ray done (ECG? We are talking of 60s here and ECGs were for metros). When the result was negative for any major issue, the maid came out with, “It was free so it is not well done. Had it been paid for, they would have done it well and found the real problem.”
Aha! THAT was the problem! People wanted it for free ONLY because it was priced! That usual thing of, “If it has no price, it has no value” that seems to have emerged with Capitalism. If it is free, it must be free only because it has no value. So, in Oscar Wilde’s terms, we are all cynics now who know the price of everything but the value of nothing.
Now I know, though, how to get people to clamor for my writing. I should make it a book, put it out at a price and then give them limited period offers to download for free…THEN there may be some value seen in the writing.
Should I start with charging a fee for this valuable advice to have people consider it valuable?