Most of you are not old enough to know the song “16 Tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford. “St. Peter don’t you call me because I can’t go, I owe my soul to the company store.” I am a CPA and PFS. Do you know what these designations are and mean? Do you really care? Is TurboTax or QuickBooks a CPA? My point is very simple – we have grown into a society where designations after our names seem to carry more weight than ability, desire and integrity. In many states you can no longer be an interior designer or a landscaper unless you have a license and college degree. Do you care if your lawn care person has the designation of MDM (Masters of Dirt Moving)? Many Microsoft professionals now must have designations. I’m not sure why – Bill Gates didn’t even graduate college. Ah, that’s because he has become the master.
Which brings me to writing. I’ve read several posts by authors who have masters degrees in writing, literature and English. As a reader – do you care? Do you stop reading and complain “this book was certainly not crafted by a MFA!” Sometimes an author feels like a dog that picks up fleas and ticks as he moves around the yard. He stops and scratches to get rid of all the fleas and ticks, who try to reassure the dog that they are needed for his well being. Well we all know what fleas and ticks do. I’m a sure I’ll have my house stoned for this. So I’ll put it into perspective.
I think it is high time we have a “Slave” designation such as, “Slave of Human Imaginative Thought.” I won’t spell out the acronym, you get it, I am sure. With this designation, we pour our souls into our work while others tell us we aren’t doing it right, pay exorbitant fees to be in the association, and then let the Masters have the largest share. This is all under the guise of executives, managers, marketers, technicians and advisers being far more worthy than those that create. They even trick us with the word “Royalty.”
Then we, as dutiful slaves, join organizations and pay more dues and fees. We buy books written by others that tell us of their superiority. Remember they are the Masters, you are, well… just refer back to the acronym. To move from the #2 position to #1 you must also attend a school and support the other masters that will somehow set your imagination free. Finally, you obtain that designation and struggle to your dying days continuing to pay for keeping that designation and insist readers are idiots when your book gathers dust on a dark, crowded bookshelf. Remember the songs lyrics “I owe my soul to the company store.” There is wisdom in those words.
In the end, you count all the fruits of your efforts and frankly all you have left is the designation, that I will not spell for you, but it sounds a lot like doggy poo. The fleas and ticks who have nearly sucked the life completely out of you now parachute off your back and have a grand party in the Hamptons. I became an independent author for a reason – to propagate my own net worth, not those of a self propagating and controlled industry. In the end, the slave reader will determine if my story is worthy. When I read of the successes of indie authors, I cheer loudly for them, for they have attempted and withstood a mighty siege against the power of the almighty masters and won. Cheers to you if you are no longer #2, are 16 tons lighter and are having a splendid lunch with St. Peter in the Hamptons.
Think about it.