The profile picture is not one of me. I am not Anton Chekhov. But I like Chekhov, even if it is difficult to spell his name without typing a 'c' before the 'k' every time. I like him well enough to use his likeness as my profile picture. Look at it as a small way of paying homage to a great writer.
You might hear a lot about Chekhov; how he is known for writing great plays and genuine dialogue, and about the way he was a pioneer in his time, in the late 19th century. You might also hear that he was a master of the short story and that he possessed a special skill in writing true to life characters.
It is all true.
I admire Chekhov for these qualities - thought I'll admit I don't read plays or go to the theater very often - but what I like most is his ability to be succinct while remaining profound. In a matter of a few sentences, or lines of dialogue, he describes the very essence of his characters, not by telling the reader, but by expertly describing a scene and packaging all of its complexities into words uttered or gestures observed.
Take for example, "A Blunder", where a family's scheme for their daughter's fortune is thwarted by most human of errors, in the most poetic of ways. In "A Trifle From Life", he writes about a life lesson learned early. He satirizes himself in "Hush" the story of a sanctimonious, "fourth-rate journalist's" writing habits. I was hoping not to identify, but all writers - Chekhov included - can identify.
Of course, there is also the renowned, "The Lady With the Dog" where Gurov, the protagonist in an adulterous affair with Anna, muses how, "everything is beautiful in the world when one reflects: everything except what we think or do ourselves when we forget our human dignity and the higher aims of our existence."
The profile picture is a candid snapshot of a 32 year old Chekhov. It represents him well; serious and thoughtful, perhaps with the hint of an ironic little smile beginning to take shape at the corner of his mouth.
This is the Chekhov I admire.