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…

Stories

While everyone else was asleep at 4 a.m. this morning, I was dreaming about stories, all the many stories we tell—the true ones and the truth tucked inside made-up stories—and how we tell about ourselves, our hopes and our fears, in our fantasies. Even the wildest fantasy contains our personal truths about how we feel the world is or should be or how we fear it to be.

In my classes, I used to tell a lot of ‘teaching stories’ and I know that wrapping a truth inside a fantasy is a way to get it across, especially when the ‘fantasy’ is true too, and people just assume it isn’t because it doesn’t fit with their view of the world. If you tell them that this is how the world is they are likely to just go into denial (and maybe even get angry), but if it’s ‘just a story’ they can listen. It’s a seed, a penny that may just drop into the slot and something might happen. A connection can be made. Eventually.

The heart of a story can be hidden in jokes, in fables, in dream imagery. Our worlds, daytime and night, are aswirl with stories. We live them, we breathe them, we call them fantasies and say we don’t believe them—and then often we act as if they are true.

We are not things. We are stories moving through time. Dream your stories well, my dear, because they are your heart.

If I were to tell you
all of my stories,
you still wouldn’t know
how I got where I am.
You’d have to know
the stories of those whose paths
crossed and entwined with mine.

I only know fragments,
but if you want to know me
(or I want to know you),
we’ll really have to look
at all the stories and how
they wind together
into the One True Story
called the Universe.

Are you big enough
to hold all that?
Prepare to be surprised:
Yes. You are.

There are no lost
or separated bits—
just One
and we’re It.

© Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.

Thoughts At Two In The Morning

I just had a burst of insight. I was reading Neil Gaiman’s short story “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire”. (Yes, he is being funny; read his book, Fragile Things.) In it, his character was saying:

“It’s literature,” he explained, as if to a child. “Real literature. Real life. The real world. It’s the artist’s job to show people the world they live in. We hold up mirrors.”

And I suddenly understood something. “Real life”, aka consensus reality, is what we think it is. And we arrive at our thoughts from our experiences and input. We watch TV (well, I don’t, but lots of people do) and believe it portrays reality. But not even “the news” does that these days. We imitate (especially when we are young or not really thinking) what we see there, and we imitate the attitudes we’ve derived from other people, especially people we admire. Well, I don’t like the “reality” I see there of war and fear and paranoia and a greed that thinks one can never have enough. I don’t like it at all. I think we, as a society, have lost our path. Not everyone is lost, of course, but far too many are. And I certainly am not interested in writing about that version of reality.

I want to write about the reality we could live in if we just shifted our attitudes and acted as if we truly cared about the well-being of ourselves and each other and our world — the reality of what we could become if…

That’s all. It may not sound like much, but it’s important to me. I just wanted to write it down where I can find it when I wake up later and face the day. It’s 2:30 AM right now, and thoughts here sometimes get lost before morning. This is one I want to keep.

I recently read “The Space Between the Stories” by Charles Eisenstein with great appreciation and have now subscribed to the author’s blog. In it he talks about what we as a society of people tell ourselves about our culture — and how that story affects what we become. We are all, each in our own way, working on that story as we choose what to think and how to live. You might say it is written by the collective unconscious of all of us. He also talks about how the story we’ve been living by is coming unraveled as we face economic, cultural, and ecological crises. A lot of what he says so brilliantly makes great sense to me. I think our Story of the People is in serious need of revision — a new vision for a new way of functioning together. It’s important — and it’s unavoidable. There are several “stories of the people” trying to arise right now. I hope that all of us are paying attention and giving real support to the ones that seem best to us — healthiest for Earthmama and all of her children. A new story is coming into being amid the chaos of the old, disintegrating one. We are creating it.

What I’m most interested in at the moment is how we can re-write the current rather grim perception of our future into some of the wonderful possibilities available. There is so much we could do and be; so many choices face us. I want my own writing, both of stories and of spiritual “how-to” ideas to help to create that. I hope you’ll find some of those stories and thoughts here in my gropings toward a better path. I hope that, together, we can find a story that is more loving and more generous to live by.

© Copyright 2013 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.