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...Friar Kol stared into the embers a moment. Suddenly he laughed.

“The world is simple when you’re young,” Kol said. “Growing up—well—the more you learn, the less you know. One learns backwards, so to speak. I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to reclaim the things God gave to my heart when I was young.”
Lily looked up at him and smiled. “One good man almost makes the breed worth saving,” she said. “It’s a pity this one has no child.”

(The Last Will and Testament of the Pirate John Blackjohn)


I RECENTLY SHARPENED MY INCISORS TO A VAMPIRE POINT. I didn’t do it on purpose. Stress, I’ve learned, makes some of us grind our teeth. I ran into Dracula’s therapist once, and he told me you never met a guy with a worse string of boyfriends.

I could leave it right there and just blame the stress, but I've been told I partly control this. Fifty fathoms deep in my website you’ve probably noticed I take on rather a lot. Much like Friar Kol, I’ve learned that self-assurance requires a certain level of…I was about to say ‘ignorance,’ but let’s just call it naiveté (insults sound nicer in French).

You see, as you grow up, life gets EXPONENTIALLY more complicated. If you're lucky (and I very much am), then you’ll end up making gut-wrenching decisions. Not between mere good and bad—that would be easy. No, it’s more like a grim parade of Sophie’s Choices between things you truly love, but can’t keep.

Sophie’s Choices lead to stress. Stress leads to vampire fangs. Vampire fangs lead to mixed body language, e.g., your smile makes people cringe and clutch their children in Central Park.

SO LET’S BE CLEAR, SHALL WE? (I mean, why not? You’ve come this far.) What I'm trying to say is: I have some Personal Policies that help me be true to mine own self, and I'm truly sorry that some of these mean I can't always say Yes to everything I'd like. (But no apologies are forthcoming about the sweatpants infra, so don’t hold your breath.)

If you've arrived at this page, it means you're either curious enough to click through all the links on my site, or I love you enough to have sent you here. Either way, thank you, and you rule!

 

FREE STUFF POLICY:

I wear a lot of hats. If I'm wearing the Journalism hat, then I'm afraid I can’t accept your offer for any kind of free stuff.

Please send me your free stuff—sure! But know that if you give me something for free (flight, trip, swag, dinner, etc.), that constitutes removal and retirement of my journalism hat in our relationship. It means I can't write about you or share a photo of your thing on Instagram.

If you wanna pay me to write or to share something, then my policy is to weigh whether I authentically, personally do endorse [ insert thing we're talking about ], in which event we can, with your consent, enter into a business arrangement, with all appropriate disclosures to my audience.

 

ENDORSEMENT POLICY:

I've written books. I've had to beg people to endorse them (especially early-on). I know what that feels like. It's important, and it's crucial. But once I started publishing my books, I also started getting requests for endorsements from everyone and their childhood pet.

It's. CRAZY.

And awesome. And flattering. And it necessitates this policy: I don't endorse books (or other creative works) that I haven't gotten all the way through. This means if you ask for my endorsement at a time when I'm overbooked with other projects, at the dentist's office having my vampire fangs filed down, or arse-deep in some other pit of alligators, then I'll simply have to say No.

I'm really, really sorry!

Here's what I can do, though:

  1. I can recommend/intro you to other people who might endorse your book/project; and

  2. I will share your book/project with my followers when it comes out.

 

BRAIN-PICKING POLICY

Most of what I do is the product of building off of other people's amazing research, thinking, work, etc. This is the case for any of YOUR work, too. (Dream Teams, yo!) So I get it if you want to reach out and ask for my help or advice. But due to all the aforementioned reasons—and more—I don't generally get together for professional brain-picking unless (a) we’ve agreed upon a specific agenda; and/or (b) we’ve undertaken something which can’t be accomplished in any other way.

Here's what I'll probably do if you ask to pick my brain:

  1. I’ll ask for your questions over email;

  2. I’ll send you stuff I've already written that discusses your questions, and/or other questions related thereto (not unlike the “Defeat the Nameless King” thread on GameFaqs.com; freaking Dark Souls...); and

  3. In the event I haven't already written in that area, then I'll use your question as either (a) an excuse to treat that topic (and maybe this means we get together to discuss!); or (b) I’ll refer you to someone better equipped to answer than I:

 

 

PHONE POLICY

This is less of a policy than a request, nay, a heartfelt plea: puh-LEASE, for the love of Zeus (pictured above), please please please let's NOT do a phone call if we can possibly handle this over text or a Nutella latte. The only thing worse than phone calls in my mind are unexpected phone calls. Nay—unexpected FACETIME calls! These are worse than the Urban Sombrero to an anxious person.

 

SHORTS POLICY

I generally believe that men ought not to wear shorts unless they are participating in a sporting activity. But I also believe that people should be permitted to do whatever they want, subject to the Geneva Convention. So my shorts policy is this: I don't wear shorts. I hereby promise I personally will not inflict the sight of my eerily-hairless thighs upon you on the subway. If I break this promise, I will buy you one of the aforementioned Nutella lattes as a delicious ‘Sorry.’

 

SWEATPANTS POLICY

I...take that last thing back. If there is one area where I think denial of basic human rights is appropriate, then that area is airplane attire; viz: I’m going to Washington to lobby for a ‘total ban’ on sweatpants in airplanes. Have some respect for me and the other passengers in row 23! Oh, I'm standing my ground on this one, Joe! I’m mad and I’m not going to take it anymore!

Let's dress classy on the airplane, folks. Oh, for the good old days…

 

I love you dearly. <3