I did it! I applied for the Amazon Associates program. If they accept me, I will be able to post links for you, my faithful readers, to buy stuff from them, and I will get a small commission each time you do.
I've hesitated about this for a long time. I've not enabled AdSense or any other kind of advertising on my blog, because I myself don't like blogs that are covered in ads, and I didn't want mine to be like that.
I've been listening to the podcasts of a guy called David Wood. He's an Englishman who grew up in poverty, left school at 15 and spent 10.5 years of his life backpacking through the world. He then became involved in multi-level marketing and other such businesses and became wealthy, but he also discovered that his passion lay in helping people achieve a better life. He became a trainer who goes around the world speaking to people and enthusing them to have what he calls "a kickass life".
One of the characteristics of a kickass life is the ability to look at oneself and the world with clarity and love, and to try new things as fearlessly as you can manage. Not to mention laughing a lot, which is something I try to do anyway, but now I have the endorsement of a major figure!
So one of the things I want to do is to take baby steps towards supporting myself and my family with the writing I do online. Affiliate links are a particularly painless way of doing that, both for myself and for you - they will be clearly labeled, they will only be for things I really recommend, and they won't clutter up the blog with noisy garbage neither of us wants to see.
In my fearful imagining, you are immediately repulsed by the entire idea, nobody ever comes to read this blog again, and my life loses all meaning.
In reality, I'm hoping you are mildly curious and not disapproving. Let me know if you feel strongly otherwise. It won't happen for a while, as I now wait with trepidation for Amazon's judgement - and yours.