Oh no! It's a wall of text!

But don't worry.

We're gonna get through this, you and me. Join me and see how, with a little imagination, this block of words can turn into a writer's website. Gracing the top of the page, you see a menu with the following headings: Home, About Me, Contact, and FAQ. Beneath the menu, you see a stock photo of a quill in an ink pot, which reminds you that I am a writer and not a dentist. Beside it, in a tasteful and cerebral font, is my name: Michael Belzil. As you scroll down, you reveal a small, black and white headshot, revealing the face of this enigmatic wordsmith. The glasses on my face indicate that I am an intellectual, but the wry grin and/or hat that I am wearing suggest a lighter, more playful side lurks behind the breast pocket of my tweed sports coat. I strike you at once as approachable and elusive, precisely as a writer must be. Confirming your suspicions are several snippets of praise, flanked by eye-catching oversized quotation marks. Reviewers from several official-sounding publications laud my work as “ineffable,” “auriferous,” and “fiercely funny,” which piques your interest because you, too, enjoy ineffable and fiercely funny things and anyone who knows a word like “auriferous” can surely be trusted. Hurriedly now, you continue to scroll, reaching the climactic end of the page. Here, you find a button that says Contact Me. You click it, causing your computer's default email application to open for the first time in six months, loading over 24,000 unread emails. With a bitter sigh and an unexpected tinge of guilt, you banish the wretched program and open your regular email account in your browser. Next, you copy and paste my email address and compose a brief message regarding my work or my services. Given the numerous trophies and golden laurel wreaths that pepper my site, you are confident in your assumption that I am a bold, eccentric creator who checks his phone no more than thirty or forty times per hour. Perhaps I am reading my email this instant. Perhaps I am browsing cassette tapes at a vintage boutique in the Mile-End. Perhaps I am smearing engine oil on a canvas in an avant-garde art performance with digital multimedia projections. You send your email and resume exploring. Tastefully juxtaposed with the scholarly air of my page are links to eleven social media sites where my interns put their PhDs to work posting relatable yet inoffensive memes and seasonally appropriate well-wishes. You are reassured by my apparent comfort with life in the digital age. To your delight, you discover links to several of my past projects available in whole or in part for your perusal while you refresh your inbox. They are all—beyond a shadow of a doubt—curated, artisanal, visceral, and haunting.

The Ups and Downs of Almost Dying

The autobiography of Kieran Block as told to Michael Belzil

Now available online and in select stores.

The Ups and Downs of Almost Dying

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