The person I am today is not the person I was, nor am I the Brian-to-be. I am fascinated with the accrued layers of experiences and interactions that make me. Each day I chat with a few people online; some more regularly than others. This is not a normal function for me. When I lived in Sacramento as a young child, I was loud, verbose, gregarious, and earnest. I moved to Oregon in second grade and my interactions changed, and so did my preferences. My family was quieter in Oregon, more restrained, and it became habit to not emote. I’m okay with this, mind you. Quiet Brian lived with me until twelfth grade, when, my senior year, I finally had gathered enough self-confidence to be proud of my achievements. I realized that I had managed to forge an identity: I was good in French and at computers, and received awards for these at an all-school assembly. I was known as the “scat soloist” – the choir member who was unafraid to stand in front of the group and sing nonsense syllables to Lullaby of Birdland. I briefly dated a couple girls, and found social interactions slightly more relaxed than before. I moved to France, realizing that nobody knew me and I could develop the persona I wished to portray. I tried to be Loud, Funny American Brian, until I realized he made me uncomfortable because, frankly, I wasn’t all that funny in French. I let my emotions go where they needed to go. When I needed to cry, or laugh, or cheer, a small group of Foreign Exchange Students from all over the world were there to support me. They were my best friends, and keepers-of-the-emotions. So I was Friendly French-Speaking Brian. I returned to the US in 1987 and a month later, extraordinarily homesick for France (or maybe it was just an extraordinary case of Stockholm Syndrome, but that’s for another blog someday), found myself in Santa Cruz, California where I began my music studies at Bethany Bible College. Yes, I became Bible Brian. I was always good at identifying what others wanted of me, and producing the desired response. Even today, I find it difficult not to adopt other peoples’ manners of speech when talking. But what Bethany wanted, I thought, was Religious Brian. I prayed an hour or two a day, read the Bible regularly, fed the hungry (and often insane) street people of Santa Cruz. I learned what terrified me, what invigorated me, and what poor choices a person can make if fasting for all the wrong reasons. I became Brian the Son of an Alcoholic, Brian the Music Minister, Brian the Husband, Brian the Librarian, Brian the Father. You get the idea. Interactions build me. Experiences become me. Who Am I here? I’m Online Brian, I guess. I’m more than forty years of experiences, bundled into a 6’6″ frame, sporting an Abraham Lincoln beard. But you don’t ever get to see the frame. All you know is the guy with all the words. I hope that in my becoming, and changing, and interacting, and planning, my words have become a useful commodity for a few people out there.