2 days and counting…

My brain no longer has room for non-book-related thoughts. My dreams have become predictable and clichéd. I am turning into a self-promotional machine, my pockets bulging with book cards everywhere I go. Yesterday, I gave a card to the man standing behind me in line at the post office.

Speaking of clichés and post offices, the postal worker who helped me out yesterday was possibly the most miserable man ever to sit in front of a cash register.  His apathy was deafening.  I wanted to shake him and say: “Don’t you realize you’re just perpetuating the cliché of the disgruntled postal employee?”  But then, he was probably too busy dealing with his own crippling depression to care much about avoiding cliché.  In his defense, he was working on the last hour before the post office was scheduled to raise their rates.

In other news, there is only one more day to order THE SCANDAL PLAN at Amazon’s special pre-order price.  See?  Every thought is about the book.  I’ve become a self-promotional whore.  Please forgive me.

My blog, my girlfriend, and George W. Bush

Some time before I proposed to my girlfriend, I found myself in the following conversation with my aunt:

“It’s not that I have a fear of commitment,” I said. “I want to commit. I’m just afraid of making the wrong commitment.”

She looked at me and laughed. “Bill, you do realize that’s exactly what fear of commitment is.” I couldn’t argue with such wisdom.

Commitment has always been a tricky subject for me. I’m reminded of this today, as I take the leap with a new commitment: a blog. Can I really commit to being a blogger? The lifestyle? The attitude? The wardrobe? And what about the hours? I’m always complaining to my friends that I never have enough time to write. Do I really want to cut into that precious time for the sake of a blog?

If there’s one thing I learned from our current president, it is the importance of setting expectations low. George W. did this in 2000, most notably with respect to debating, where he was reputed to be at a terrible disadvantage against the more experienced Al Gore. The pre-debate spin set the bar so low for W. that all he had to do was show up and deliver a semi-competent performance to be declared winner. And that’s exactly what happened.

I’ve applied this Bushian lesson of low-expectation-setting (both consciously and unconsciously) to many aspects of my life, including my relationships. From early on in my relationship with C, I adopted the decidedly unromantic strategy of telling her exactly what was on my mind. This included all the doubts and anxieties and assorted crap that most girlfriends would rather not hear. Did she lose sleep over this? Yes, and for that I’m sorry. But the strategy worked. Because she knew me to be a commitment-wary boyfriend, she expected very little of me, and I made sure to more than meet those expectations. Then, when I finally proposed, it was a wonderful surprise (well, almost, but that’s another story…).

So what does this have to do with my blog? I’d love to use this inaugural post to promise you daily dispatches brimming with insight and wit, regularly scheduled updates on my adventures as a writer, and constant commentary on politics, entertainment, and the peculiarities of life. But I can’t do that. While I hope to entertain, inform, and amuse through my blogging, I think it is important for me to set some realistic (some may call them “low”) expectations up front. If you are about to enter into a blogger/reader relationship with me, you need to know what to expect:

I won’t buy you flowers.
I won’t call the next day.
I will occasionally be crude.
I will use sentence fragments. Frequently.
I will sometimes write just to hear the sound of my own voice.
I will sometimes not write at all.
I will sometimes tease you with entries almost every day, and then, out of the blue, you won’t hear from me for almost a month.
There’s a chance I might show up drunk.
I will probably make fun of your relatives.
Sometimes, you may hate me.
Sometimes, it will seem that all I really care about is the sex.

But if all that is okay with you, if your eyes are open, if you’re fully aware of the choice you are making, and don’t mind entering into this kind of blogger/reader relationship, then I say let’s get this thing started.

Let the fun begin…