Dear Wealthy Man

I saw you – you were hard to miss. The words that come to mind are … strong. Casual. Decisive. Direct. Healthy. Vigorous. These are all excellent qualities, to be admired. And although I don’t know you, I can guess that you are admired. Many people aspire to be like you. Many people look up to you, and respect you.

But as you are no doubt aware, many other people resent you. Some probably even despise you … dare I say, hate you. Maybe that authoritative veneer, which I can’t help but be attracted to, comes partly from wanting to make your skin so hard that the resentment will just glance off of you, without sinking in. Because if you paid attention to every person who has a problem with you and the wealth that you hold, you would never get anything done. I get that.

I just read a wonderful speech by Kofi Annan. He used to run the United Nations and no doubt ran up against the most massive wall on the planet – the wall that is firmly in place to protect the status quo. He is a very, very good man, who keeps on trying despite all that he is up against.

By the way, Wealthy Man – I can tell that you are a good man, too. I just wanted to point that out at this juncture, in case you had started to decide to shut yourself down here. I mean it – I can tell that you want to do something good. That’s why I’m talking to you. I’m not just saying that. I see it.

Anyway, in Kofi Annan’s speech, he alludes to “economic inequality”. But he doesn’t talk about it. Instead, he talks about “political inequality”. He’s referring to the fact that all of your wealth basically buys you extra votes. It’s supposed to be “one person, one vote”, however, it isn’t. We all know that. If you are rich, you pretty much have access to more influence, more pull, more media, and therefore, more potential say over who gets elected. Given that, it’s basically the fact that you have more votes. Annan is an expert in democracy, and he’s making an observation in that area.

But maybe he knew better than to weigh in on economics, since he’s no expert in that particular topic. He is not an economist. He is not a banker. He is not an industrialist.

This is where YOU come in, Wealthy Man.

You are the expert in economics. The more holdings you have, the more of an economic expert you are. That is just common sense. I’m going to say a few things about economics here, out of necessity – but be aware that I am the exact opposite of an expert.

Now here’s what I want to say to you about money, Wealthy Man.

In my humble opinion, the world desperately needs your help, when it comes to wealth and resources. Things aren’t good right now, as we all know. Things might be breaking down. Resentment, hatred, division, and conflict are trying to rise. That’s difficult, since people are evolving and global inter-connection makes us all aware of one another, on a scale never before seen. So, sowing hatred is harder than ever before. But it’s still being done.

Who is the person most excellently placed, Wealthy Man, to help figure out a better way? YOU are.

I had an interesting discussion with my son the other week. He told me that it’s “obvious” that new laws which will re-distribute wealth among the population is the “only way” to fix the discord and instability that inevitably stems from economic inequality. But, as I told him, he is thinking “binary”. He is thinking in “either/or” terms. Either you keep all your money, or else, somebody has to come along and order you to divest yourself, and then, they will decide how best to spend it.

But you are understandably leery of such a plan. How can the government know better than you how to spend your money? After all, as we have said here, it’s plainly obvious that you are the expert when it comes to money. Look at what you have. You were probably given resources, and look what you’ve turned it into! Look at what you have accomplished. You didn’t squander it. You didn’t lose it. You won. You are a winner. Nobody could ever quibble with that.

So, being a winner, you would be the best placed person to help figure out a new blueprint, for a new world. You, and people like you, are the best people to help us with how to fix this mess. I don’t know anything about economics. I find it bewildering. I have no suggestions. But I bet that YOU do.

In my ignorance, I do have a little bit of wisdom. So here’s what I would say. Maybe “redistribution” is the wrong way of thinking about it. Think “opportunity”. Think “jobs”. Think “usefulness”. Think “contribution”. I know that you already do that, otherwise you would not have the business success that you do.

But could you please take your attention off of yourself, and apply what you know about these things to the whole planet? Everybody wants to be useful. Everybody wants to contribute (unless they are broken). Everybody wants something to do. Everybody wants to earn what they get. This is human nature. Whoever said that this isn’t true, was wrong. That much I do know.

How can all of you wealthy people get busy with helping the world get back onto its feet after 2008? Could you maybe work together on it?

I guess the biggest barrier to all of this, is a lack of trust. People have been suffering for a very long time, and maybe they don’t trust you. Their ongoing resentment at their own lack of opportunity, at the lack of justice, means that you are going to face up to a different kind of wall, than the one that Mr. Annan had to keep looking at while he headed up the UN. Your wall, the one that you face, is made up of all the people who comprise the powder keg that keeps simmering, threatening to blow.

How will you build up some trust? How will you defuse this powder keg? How will you convince people that you are a good man, and you mean well? That’s up to you.

Because you’re the expert in being a good man. I see it in you. Personally, I trust you. I am placing my hopes in you, Wealthy Man. I don’t want our institutions to be destroyed. I don’t want widespread destruction. But we can’t have the status quo, either.

That is my challenge to you. And I am confident that you are up to the task. Don’t think “binary”. Think “wholistic”. Be creative. And please do not let us down.


The day after …

My first self-published novel was released as a paperback yesterday … I emailed several friends to let them know. One responded, “OK. It takes an old guy like me to know what you meant by ‘Paperback Writer’.” (That had been my email subject line for him.) Most did not respond at all. I’d emailed last week to let them know that the ebook was out. At first, this morning, I felt a bit crushed. Then I realized – oh yeah, everybody has their own life. Hello.

I’m not sure what I expected. But this morning I felt … dismayed, worried, let down, and a bit jangly. It isn’t going to sell! I have to hire a promoter, apparently. The book will not sell itself. There are many massive tons of books out there. I have to do something about it. But I don’t know what to do.

Then I found a solution to all these uncomfortable feelings.

I went into Facebook. A friend’s son just had his first open mic session – I watched it. It was charming … I could see his resemblance to his mother and it reminded me a bit of my own son. Kids. Doing wonderful charming things. I saw another friend’s stunning photograph of his new dog, meeting another dog nose-to-nose at the beach. Beautiful. Then I came in here and read some things by other authors. I learned a few things about the platform on which I published my ebook … bit o’ yikes. I opened up to other authors a bit, checking out their thoughts, feeling respect for them.

Now I feel so much better, I can actually go and work on my third novel. It’s almost half done. It’s about a family who falls on hard financial times and loses their home. I’m having writer’s block because it taps into some of my own fears. But I still want to do it, because I’ve come to like the characters by now.

The point of this little story here is that I’ve been focusing on mySELF too much, and it was beginning to paralyze me. I may have annoyed some of my friends by emailing them one too many times about my new novel. That is NOT proper promo. And just look at the first word of this blog post: “My”. Me. I. I have to stop it.

Life is one big massive collaboration, after all. We’re all in this together. So whenever I start feeling all jangly and worried again (and I know it’ll happen again), I will open up to what other authors are doing, enjoy their thought and ideas, and remind myself how many artists there are. I am one tiny little speck in the author/artist universe. Reminding myself of this creates the right energy, for being able to immerse myself in the parallel universe of the current novel I’m writing.

There’s plenty of time for promo of the first novel. It’s only been one week. *breathe* ***Write***

It is scary.

Well, three people have now bought my ebook. These are friends of mine. A few other people are awaiting the paperback version to come out.

I will have to find a way to just move on to other things, and let this flow in whatever way it may. I don’t control other people, and would never aspire to that. I’ve done my bit, and now it’s up to people, as to whether or not they want to read it.

Above all, I hope that I get at least a few younger readers – teens, young adults, even pre-teens. That’s who the book was aimed at.

Time to let it go, and keep on creating.