In all things sacred beware the gravatar

For most of my life I have resisted taking on an identity but only now see this resistance as a way of proclaiming myself. Since I was a child, though, I have inclined helplessly towards the idea of being a writer.

I think I might have been somewhat precocious with words and so could surprise the grown-ups with them, but this does not explain why, when I could barely write in cursive, I felt compelled to plagiarise what had to have been an impenetrable poem and to pass it around shamelessly as my own. Here is how it went: What we cannot see we cannot be like eternity and yet it exists and like a small kiss cannot be captured only enraptured for one must believe to ever receive the gift of either cowards get neither.

Even now I am reluctant to insert quotation marks where I should, though I can’t say that the writing is much more than mediocre or that I would be proud now to call the work my own. No. I can only think that there was in it a certain vibration that somehow touched the sacred in me. And that by writing I have either sought or have run from that which is most holy.

There were, you see, those lost years during which I ground out press releases about greedy CEOs, annual reports for preening executives, and other written testaments to my cowardice, though I was only made to remember these years when recently I saw a green and white helmeted Gravatar pop up three times, and under three different names, on my site—as “Writing Jobs,” “Easy Writing Jobs,” and “Writer Jobs.” After seeing the profane icon appear in more than one post, I dug deeper and discovered this was some kind of satan, who unabashedly proclaims on one of his blogs, “There has been an explosion in the need for online writers, regardless of skill.”



For two hang-dog years I sat slanted on my couch and thought effortlessly about dying. I had been without work for all those many months and daily went without the company of family and friends. Having over time turned away from all but a few friends, and finding within myself a startling willingness to let even those friends push off, I inclined towards a dull isolation that surprised even me, a consummate isolate, and slipped into a monk-silence that frightened even me, a practiced closed mouth. When I got quiet enough, so quiet I could hear air, it would come only rarely the fleeting sensation that life had me in its lungs and was breathing me. There in that was God, or so it seemed then.