A new emotional state is shuffling, bumping and kicking its way around the Samolis ranch this morning. It has no official name that I know of, and so I shall confer upon it (wait a moment while I find a crown to put upon my head to give the conferring a proper sense of formality) a name of my own making. I shall call it (cue: fanfare blast): Flum.
What? Were you expecting something more dramatic? Come now, you know me better than that, I hope. Flum is how I'm feeling this morning, and that's that. If you want me to feel differently, then you'll have to go to a different website. And if that doesn't make any sense, it's due, in part, to my feeling of Flum. Oh - in case you were wondering, the nearest thing to a crown I could find was the Tiara from my daughter's very old Snow White costume which I found in a nearby cupboard...
I awoke this rainy, dreary morning (a very unusual occurrence during our typically hot, dry summers here in South Western British Columbia) without a trace of Flum. Indeed, from my limited vantage point (flat on my back in our huge bed, listening to my lovely wife softly snoring) I had no idea that Flum even existed. All that changed, however, when during my morning mug of hot whatever-I-feel-like-drinking-today, I came across an article on a social media page warning me (well, not just me; it was warning every other independent writer too) about the prevalence of free download sites. The swine!
Well, with no more ado (I try to let as little 'ado' into my life as possible) and licketty-split - in fact even toute d'suite - I launched myself into a blistering trawl of the entire internetwebthing (in other words, I Googled) to see if my work was being offered for free downloads anywhere. Guess what I found?
I stopped looking after the first half dozen sites, since there seemed little point in prolonging the agony. It was about then that my feeling of what we have recently come to know as Flum began to develop. My Flum's ingredients include the following:
- A hint of righteous outrage
- A smidgen of Harrumph
- Two teaspoons of Whatthebloodyhell
- Three cups of Bloodytypical
- Two broken dreams, beaten
- A pinch of Hangonaminute
- Three ounces of Thismightstillbeagoodthing
- Add to taste: Youknowwhatgetoveritbuster
The thing is, as I've said numerous times before, it's not the end of the world if I don't make a fortune as a writer. This is a very good thing, because the chances of me doing so are about as close to zero as it's possible to reach without getting a paper cut from the thin edge of the 'o'. Consequently, I'm wedged between a couple of more well-defined emotional conditions, namely feeling pissed off and feeling quietly pleased.
The pissed off part is, I hope, fairly self-evident: the timeworn unwritten contact between an author and a reader is that they will in some way acknowledge the amount of work that has gone into a book. Free downloads metaphorically poo all over that idea. That's not nice.
The pleased part comes from the truth about why I write, and for me it's always fun to re-realise this. I write to give enjoyment (preferably wrapped in laughter), just as I used to joke and lark about in the classroom as a boy and adolescent, smelly teenager. The idea that people - hopefully lots of people - are reading/enjoying my work for free is not an altogether unpleasant one. In fact, a gently satisfied feeling is the dominant thing in my head right now.
In feeling this way, I may be going the wrong way in rush hour traffic. I might just be out of step with the majority of other authors, but I dearly hope not. Books, essays, pamphlets and writings of all kinds enrich our society, and in my own tiny, perhaps selfish little way, I am hoping to do that for my descendants more than anyone else. Anything else (such as the small royalty cheque that is crawling its way towards me through the minefields of the Canadian postal system from as much as 100km away) is, as the saying goes, gravy.
The only thing about that is, I do like my gravy.