Quickly Political – Public Funding and Religion in Public

Like many, I feel conflicted about Obama’s reversal on accepting public funding, but I’m slowly getting over it. If our end goal is a change to the means of electing officials, can that end justify a means that is inconsistent with the means we want in the end? I’m dizzy. That said, any McCain supporter who is feeling self-righteous over this alleged flip-flop should check out Arianna Huffington’s recent blog post on Mac’s own public funding inconsistency.

Obama’s latest scuffle with James Dobson is unremarkable stuff, but it did force me to read the senator’s 2006 speech on religion, which is, I must say, truly remarkable stuff. Did a politician actually give this speech? Read it here.

The Worldwide Tour of New England: Episode 5: Fairfield, CT

Bill reads at Borders in Fairfield, CT

My east coast tour ended with a bang last week at the Borders Books in Fairfield, Connecticut. At more than 40 people, it was my biggest crowd yet, and my most family–packed event to date. In addition to my sister and my parents, my future in-laws drove up from New Jersey for the show. Also in attendance was the rabbi who Bar Mitzvahed me (and who will marry me in a couple months). I tell you, if you want pressure, try to think up something pithy to inscribe in your rabbi’s book when you’ve only got a couple seconds. Oy.

I usually find I can rise to the occasion when asked by someone close to me for a witty on-the-spot inscription, but every now and then, I disappoint myself, usually by writing something too cheeky that I instantly regret for one reason or another. There have been a couple of those. Perhaps most challenging are those friends who approach me and ask for a totally unique creation. “Write me something you haven’t written to anyone before.” The proper response to such a request is usually an inscription like this:

“To Joe – I’ve been sleeping with your girlfriend, Molly. I hope this knowledge does not in any way diminish your enjoyment of my book. Happy reading! – Bill”

In all seriousness, though, for you authors out there, this strategy only works if Joe’s girlfriend is named Molly.

So … Fairfield was a good time. Following this reading, I had a crazy day in New York, schlepping books all around Manhattan, dropping off reading copies and introducing myself to employees in bookstores from the Village to the Upper East side (three cheers for pounding the pavement!). Then C flew in and we were reunited for a weekend of bridal shower fun and wedding-planning-ness. Then, after the requisite 2+ hours on the tarmac of Newark airport and a quick cross country flight, here we are.

I am now back in LA, trying to catch up on my life (and my blogging), but I will end this series of posts by once again thanking everyone who came out to see me on my first little book tour. Your support meant a lot. Happy Wednesday and God bless.

Bill signs books at Borders in Fairfield, CT

The Worldwide Tour of New England: Episode 4: Easton, CT

Bill\'s reading - Easton Library

Monday night, I was “local boy made good” at the Easton Public Library, the most happening place in my quiet hometown. Bernadette, the head librarian, did a great job of spreading the word about my appearance and alerting the local media (I was on WICC radio on Friday and the front page of the Easton Courier on Thursday). For a book reading in a small town, we had a nice turnout, which included a friend I hadn’t seen since high school and a couple of my more magnificent middle school teachers. In attendance were the English teacher who encouraged my creative writing and the History teacher who encouraged my fascination with politics. It was nice to have them there.

The Worldwide Tour of New England: Episode 3: The College Reunion

My 10-year college reunion. Lots of people I haven’t seen in years, many with small children. Heat, humidity, and small children.

While not as revelatory as my 10-year high school reunion, my collegiate 10-year is equally enjoyable. And my story is better this time around. Four years ago, I was living with my parents, about to drive west with no plans, no place to live, and no job. Now, I am a published author, two months from getting married. That’s a bit easier to talk about over cocktails.

Later, as I walk around my old college campus alone, I am flooded with memories, both real and imagined: the good news I received on that flight of stairs, the longing I felt as I walked behind that dormitory, the dream I had involving that bike rack. Old neurons are firing.

The Worldwide Tour of New England: Episode 2: Politicking

Bill reads in a smoke-filled Starbucks - Boston

I am starting to feel a bit like a politician running for office. I now have a stump speech that I can access effortlessly at these readings. I have the 20 second spiel, the 20 sentence spiel, the 20 minute spiel, and every length spiel in between. I have a pocket full of self-deprecating and self-promotional one-liners at my disposal to use when signing, spieling, shaking, or charming. I’ve been going into bookstores, introducing myself, and leaving behind cards and reading copies.

I am raising awareness, spreading the word, and tiring myself out as I unabashedly campaign for this book. After writing a novel about a political campaign, I find it amusing and slightly ironic to be in this position. It’s fun. It’s exhausting. And, it’s what I have to do.