I am a walking dichotomy.
I profess a belief in God, yet I sometimes take his name in vain. I self-identify as a Christian, but I frequently break nearly every rule in Christian doctrine. I want to be loved in a way that reeks of desperation, yet I revel in shocking you with a coarse comment, and I think doing so is amusing. I want you to heap fawning praise upon me as you read my work, yet I go out of my way to make sure you cringe at least once in everything I write. I am filled with self loathing, yet—or perhaps because of that fact—I have the most fragile ego of any person in all of Humankind. Your words can shatter the frail veneer of my sense of self, yet I invite your scolding reprimand with my words.
I’ve always known this about myself, but I never really reflected on it consciously until a moment ago as I considered a recent conversation with one of my publicists, Danielle Hartman. That’s right; I have two publicists. My inclination toward polygamy is not limited to a marital or social bent. I need two publicists just like I need at least two of everything else in my life. Yes; I need two. One simply isn’t enough, and so I also hired Phillis Benson who has been educating me in the art of social media, and I need her because I hate social media, FaceBook especially.
My need for two publicists is driven not only by my proclivity for multiple partners in every endeavor, but also by my tendency to ignore the promotion of my work in favor of the creation of it.
To the point, Danielle and I were IMing. Wait; another pause. I hate with every fiber of my being that the word message is now a verb, but enough of these admittedly annoying parenthetical jaunts. Where was I?
Oh yes. Danielle and I were talking about how awesome my book is not.
“Could you please post a review of my Book?”
“Well actually Guy, I’m afraid a review from me wouldn’t be very flattering. The first chapter is quite rough. You’re writing is spot on, Guy. Lots of voice, lots of humor, lots of heart. But the content and message was—well—awful.”
“Uhm; I hated it.”
“I felt objectified. You were talking about Ginger and Mary Ann, and there was all this sexual innuendo and—I don’t know. I didn’t warm up to any of it until I got to know you a little better.”
“That’s OK; my wife hated it too. Can you post a review on Amazon to that effect?”
“You want me to post a review that I hate your book?”
“You don’t hate my book. You love my book; you just didn’t love it right away.”
“Guy, I hope this doesn’t hurt your feelings—but my friends and I laughed at your archaic views.”
“Really? You actually shared it with your friends? That’s awesome! Thank you.”
“But, Guy, it wasn’t in a good way.”
“It doesn’t matter. It made you feel something. That’s all I care about.”
“You want to anger your reader?”
“I want to inspire passion. I want to reach in, grab that thing you care so much about, pull it from your gullet and force you to say it aloud and unabashedly. Otherwise, what’s the point of writing—or even reading for that matter? Now please post an honest review of my book.”
“OK. You asked for it.”
What follows is the result of my earnest request:
“Quite honestly, the first few chapters made me cringe, as a feminist. His mid-century views on how women “should” use their sexual prowess to get what they want is offensive and appalling, but I do have to say, Guy ends up being very lovable and very pro-woman. When you look at the book as a whole, you realize Mr. Oliver is trying to empower women in the only way he knows how.
I respect his ideals but disagree with him in some instances on how he arrives to his big picture. He recognizes the strength in women’s minds and their character but does generalize and place too much importance on sex, but his intentions are what count for me. I look forward to seeing an interview on how this book affects Mr. Oliver’s relationships with women in the future.
As for the writing style, it is full of voice, humor and heart.”
Perfect—and a three-star rating to boot.
I’m reminded of a recent birthday wish from my friend Laura who offered the following, which I’m paraphrasing because FaceBook apparently dropped it (just one more reason to hate social media):
“Guy, you’re one of the few reasons I put up with FaceBook. I’ve come to know you so much better here than when we worked together. Here, you’ve made me laugh, you’ve made me cry, and you’ve made me think. Thank you for that. I hope you have a wonderful birthday.”
And that sentiment is really the point of this particular entry. I love fawning praise, but more than that I love to move you. As much as I immerse myself and revel in the five-star ratings, meager though they are, my book specifically, and my writing in general, isn’t suitable for everyone. To some it’s boring. To others it’s pointless. To a few it’s infuriating. And to that I say good, good, and good.
To me, this blog spot is just one more manifestation of my inclination toward polygamy. I love you and want to have a relationship with you, and I can only have that if we are suited to be together. I also want that relationship to be intimate, and as in any intimate relationship there will be times when I bore you. There will be times when I anger you. There will be times when I make you hate me. But if you follow me, there will be moments when you love me—and that is why you will follow me.
Does my ego offend you? Are you squirming as I unapologetically offer a moment of honesty about what I want from you? Has my obvious lack of humility made you cringe?
Good. I’m doing it right.