My Gift

I fell behind on my blog posting here recently for two reasons: first, I came down quite sick with a cold that became bronchitis. I’ve been much better this week, though a bit of a cough still lingers. Second, I’ve been immersed in two other challenging pieces of “creative writing”: a freelance writing résumé and an online dating profile.

These are both ultimately about marketing yourself in a light that’s simultaneously positive and accurate. Both require introspection, reflection on your past, and consideration of your future goals. And I finally got down on paper something I had realized about myself in the last year:

My greatest gift is a talent for Integration, in almost every sense of the word. I can do mathematical integration (an operation on functions in calculus), analytically or numerically. I can integrate mechanical devices, electronics, and computer hardware and software into unique experimental systems. I can integrate disparate writing fragments into a coherent text. I can integrate an array of ideas into a unified synthesis. And perhaps most importantly, I can integrate into groups of people, going from the newcomer to “a regular” or even to a leadership role exceptionally smoothly and quickly.

This probably won’t make it verbatim onto either a résumé (no obvious place for it) or an online dating profile (a bit too heavy really, and also might lead to too long a profile), but it’s certainly a useful and profound underlying principle. 

Name Confusion

I believe it takes a special talent to complicate one’s life enough to make “What is your name?” a non-trivial question. Aided by my parents’ choices forty years ago, I have risen successfully to meet this challenge. 

A quick summary of this article: My legal first name is Mitchell, but my “given nickname”, the name my parents called me from birth, is Mickey. Several years ago I picked the name Ethan to serve strictly as a nom de public, a pseudonym. However, when I began using that pseudonym last fall, I found I liked Ethan better than I liked the Mickey. Now I am using the name Ethan in all my new ventures. I intend to legally add Ethan as a second middle name at some point. What should you call me? If I met you this year through my new ventures, call me Ethan. If you were a friend or acquaintance prior to this year, call me either for now. (Family will probably always use Mickey.) 

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