Books & Faery Economics 102

After the discussions about money games, human obtuseness, and faery economics that I mentioned on the last blog, the fae wanted, of course, to play the money game too. We discussed it off and on, but reluctantly came to the conclusion that my business didn’t lend itself well to the money game. Between considerations of ethics and right livelihood and my personal dislike of bookkeeping, we agreed that it was best not to try to bring the game into the healing and counseling and teaching I was doing. The subject would come up once in a while and again be put aside. However, eventually I wrote a book.

This, they felt, showed some promise for the money game, if played with great care and attention to the things we’d considered over the years. It mustn’t hurt anyone. It mustn’t make people pay a higher price than necessary for fair earnings. Publishers, booksellers, editors, typesetters, designers, printers, bookbinders, distributors, salespeople, and, very last of all, authors—they all needed to get something for their work. Also, there was to be no tricksy stuff to get people to buy what they didn’t need. It was about doing the right thing for the right reasons with the right people for right livelihood.

The solution of the fae to all this was surprisingly simple and faery elegant. They would sprinkle faery dust on the books, and this sparkly dust would have a specific charge. It would call to those people who both needed and could use the teachings in the book. It would help them to notice it. After that it was entirely their choice as to what they wanted to do about it. That sounded good to me. So the first book went out sparkling that November.

Some months later, the owner of my local bookstore in Bath, England, asked me what I’d done to the book. I guess I looked blank—I didn’t do anything but write it; the fae did the rest and I actually wasn’t thinking much about it. The bookstore owner explained that people would come in and ask about books for stress reduction or meditation or relaxation. He had several books of that nature, including my Moon Over Water, and he’d take several off the shelves and hand them to the customers to look at. The customers would often pick up Moon Over Water first, tuck it under their arms, and then look at the other books, going through them carefully. Or they’d just ignore Moon as if it were not even there. In neither case did they check through Moon before they made their final choices. If they tucked it under their arms (and they often did), they just bought it. This intrigued the bookstore owner. I explained about the faery sparkle. He said, “Oh.” in a very British way and looked at me sideways.

In February, I happened to be talking with the publisher about something else and asked how Moon Over Water was doing. He responded (without checking) that it was going very slowly. I asked again a couple of months later. He again, without checking, thought it was going very slowly. I asked if he could, as a special favor, check on that for me. He happened to have the distributor’s report in front of him, and to his shock discovered that the book was sold out. Gone.

What was supposed to be a year’s supply was gone by May. He was annoyed. The fae and I were surprised—we thought selling them was a good thing. He didn’t seem to agree. The fae and I never did quite understand this. But so it proceeded. Every year we ran out of books well before the end of the year. We did another book with the same publisher, but the proceedings still didn’t make a lot of sense to us. After that, I kinda lost interest in the whole game because I couldn’t figure it out, so it was a long time before I wrote another book.

The last book was about the faeries themselves. They got to play with the whole project from beginning to end, even dictating large parts of the book to me. This was with a new publisher, who played the money game differently. I shall say no more about that. However, the fae did their part brilliantly and The Faeries’ Oracle did very well, in spite of all the other things going on.

Now we are thinking about doing more books—some of them also with cards. Some with faeries, which delights them, and some with cats, which they assure me are practically the same and just as good (I’m not at all certain about what they mean by “good” there), and some other subjects. We are thinking about doing them without publishers, who seem to want to play games we don’t understand. And we’re wondering just how far we can go with faery sparkle alone, because I’m not good about all the PR and selling and bookkeeping stuff. But… it would still be Doing Good in the world (or at least trying to) and it would be a more enjoyable game that way…

Faery Economics 101

“Why are you doing this?” a faery voice asked.

I looked at the bills spread out on the desk in front of me. “I’m paying the bills. And the rent. Like I did last month. Didn’t we talk about it then?”

“Yes, but what you said doesn’t make sense to us. You said money is like crystallized energy—you use your energy to help someone and they give money to you, and then you can give the money to someone else for their help. We’ve been watching, and a lot of the time that isn’t true. The exchanges are not fair about the energy given. Explain this money thing again, please. We don’t understand.”

“It’s simple really. I do work for people, and they give me money. Then I use the money to pay for things I need, like food and electricity and things.”

“But why do you need the money? You do things for people, they do things for you—it all evens out, pretty much. You can tell by the energy you use, by the changes in your aura, who gave and who received more. We’ve been watching. Sometimes you do ‘work’ for an hour and it’s easy and fun, and other times you do almost the same thing for an hour, and it hurts and it’s really hard. But you get the same amount of money. So it isn’t about the work, is it? Or you’d get more when it’s harder. Some days you get really tired or things make you cry, but other days you feel happy and energized. Why isn’t the money different?”

“Maybe it’s about the time I spend. I give my time; they give theirs, and we use the money to keep track.” I know this is weak, and sure enough, they don’t accept it.

“But what if they don’t spend the same time or work as hard getting the money that you do? Some people get their money a lot faster and don’t do much for it and others get it slower and work a lot harder.”

“Well, okay. It’s a mixture of how hard I work, how valuable what I do is to them, and how long it takes.”

“How valuable it is to them? Who decides that?”

“They do. And I decided how valuable my time is to me by how much time I have and how much money I need to pay my bills.”

“That makes even less sense. How do they know how valuable it is going to be to them? It might make their lives better for years and years or not make them better at all. And anyway, it isn’t what you say or do that makes it important—it’s what they do with it.”

“Right,” said another. “And some people get much more money than they need to live and others get a lot less for the same effort.”

I’m silent for a while, thinking about things like “expertise” and “skill” and realizing that I’m going to run into the same issues of unbalanced exchange and opportunity. Someone says, “You know, the more we talk about this, the less sense it makes.”

Driven into a corner by my unrealistic belief that all questions must have findable answers, I flippantly reply, “Actually, it’s all a game, and money is the way we keep score.”

There is a stunned silence as we all recognize the truth of this.

“Hmmph!” an annoyed voice says. “I don’t think it’s a very nice game at all.”

That discussion was many years ago, but I still don’t have any better answer. Do you?

© Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.