Don’t recite your resume or your hobbies, don’t tell us what you own or how your golf game has improved or how much you love your pets or anything peripheral…none of that…just tell us who you are.

Okay, here goes: I’m a guy who lives to write and writes to live. I believe that while certain bedrock behaviors are more or less constant if you’re sober, moods and perceptions are always tipping this way or that. There is no “real” essential identity. There is only our genetic history plus the constantly adjusting, moving-train way of things…influences, appetites, defense mechanisms, second thoughts.

I was angry as a kid because I’d suffered through a traumatic birth, and angry as a teenager because my functioning alcoholic dad managed to persuade me that I had to avoid turning out like him…that anything would be preferable to that. And yet I miss him on some level.

Nicholson to HE: That’s very nice, Jeff, but as usual you’re dodging. Who are you? Just say it.

HE to Nicholson: I don’t have a pat answer, and neither do you. Nobody does. I’m an imaginative egocentric refugee from a middle-class New Jersey suburb. I live for those transcendent moments that descend from time to time. (We all do, I think.) I’ve been lucky in some respects, and I’ve been blessed with a strong constitution. Otherwise I’m a reasonably stable, steady-as-she-goes workaholic.

I vastly prefer the poetry of cinema + great writing + music to the occasionally maudlin reality of day-to-day life. My eyes go all watery when certain memories surface, and especially when certain songs and passages from certain film scores are re-savored.

Most of us understand about God’s absolute and infinite indifference about whether we are happy or not, and that there is only “be here now” and the hum of it all, etc. And yet deep down I seem to spend a lot of time trying to re-savor or re-appreciate my deepest and most lasting memories from the 20th Century, and all the while hitting re-fresh.

I understand the rule about not mentioning cats and dogs, but they’re mostly wonderful (98% of the time) to hang with.