I and some of the other editors very recently found out that one of the noders here at E2 literally played dead, reportedly to throw a harrassing stalker off his trail. The original announcement of the noder's death was met with varying degrees of sadness and dismay. When that death was revealed to be a ruse, some folks were downright outraged. Of the whole event, bones wisely reminded us that we can't really know our fellow noders unless we have the opportunity to know them off the Web.

We are all acting out personas here, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

Some people pretend to be what they know they are not: the meek strap on a warrior's blade and lionskin, the inhibited slip on their fishnets and black satin, and the wise don the fool's cap and prance around the court. Some people deceive out of malicious delight; others for the sole joy of living an existence, however single-dimensional, that real life has denied them.

But some people, like myself, try to present ourselves as accurately as we know how.

The trouble is, the Lucy any of you perceive here is not the same Lucy you'll perceive in real life, no matter how much I'd like the two women to be one in the same.

At best, we can't glimpse much more than 20% of a person's "true" self in a venue like this, even when they're being perfectly honest about themselves. E2, of course, favors the writers. Those who can express themselves eloquently on paper come off well here, provided they don't have a taste for trolling or flaming. But people who are less able writers come off as less intelligent, less interesting, than they might be in person.

And you can't make eye contact, can't hear the inflections in a person's voice, can't watch them blush, can't see them wince or grin. You can't see that the silver-penned academic has a greasy leer, or that the stumbling newbie has a beautiful smile and gift for song.

Even the rawest, most immediate work here at E2 has been filtered through the veil of an individual's own perceptions. It's planned, captured. Immediacy in text is always a trick of the tale.

So, weep for our tragedies. Celebrate our successes. Rage against our pettiness and bad behavior.

But take us all with a grain or two of salt.

Because we are scared and confused and weak and strong and brave and suave and hesitant and foolish. None of us are angels, and none devils, but there's still real blood in the ink we write with.