I chose Chase because I am a person of action as well as a writer, and thought the best user name was an action verb. Chase just about says it all - chased by demons of my past, chasing a better future - my whole life has been about the chase. Some chases are after dreams, others are running from nightmares - and there are infinite shades of gray in between those.

Eric is a shorter version of Eirik - derived as an anagram of my real name. Eric evokes the "Viking" in me. The Vikings were explorers. The land under their feet was the variable and courage their constant. As survivors, that is our essential math - and sometimes it does add up in our favor. Consider that for those who have had few challenges in life, the reverse is more often true - that their ground is the constant and how they stand is conditional. Our strength - like the Vikings - is that we have been called to face the boldness of our challenge, and what defines us is not what happened to us but how we ultimately answer to it.

Truth is important to me. But so is safety. When they are mutually exclusive, finding a way to do both can be a challenge. That's why my signature used to say "under pseudonym" - I can at least be honest about not being totally "honest". But the site guidelines strongly encourage us to use a safe pseudonym and time has proven the wisdom of that advice many times over. So the letters comprising my name are mostly honest (an anagram), my pictures are pictures of me and what I share here is real to both heart and history. It is not our identities that define the shared truths that make this place work - it is our experiences.

My avatar will likely rotate through a series of childhood pics and in one case my childhood portrait (done by an artist in Toronto, Canada when I was 9). Don't be surprised if my cat shows up as an avatar smile

.........Since writing this, I've updated this post (just click here).