Okay, time to stop moping. If M really is gone, there's nothing I can do. And hey, I am his self-proclaimed successor, aren't I? So if he's not giving advice, I guess that's my job now. So let's resume with a discussion of masks.
I hear quite a bit about masks. M (*tear*) thought that masks acted as an eye to keep him rooted to this plane. Maduin thought that they became aids for "taking on a role." In reality, there's some weight to both of these theories.
M's masks are something that are, at the very least, worth trying out. I tend to not carry a mask around with me, just because I'm not exactly on the run, and I'm trying to remain fairly inconspicuous when I'm out and about. While a mask may hide my identity, It gets me funny looks from everyone around me. While a literal mask may stop the Slender Man for a bit, I'd prefer to avoid him completely by masking myself with other people. Blending into the crowds. So no, I don't use M's masks. However, I do have one that I keep around if need be. It's one of those Guy Fawkes masks, so it's not all that suspicious. If I ever need to become a bit more Anonymous, I'll just slip it on. I've never tested it (never needed to when I had the chance, and never had the chance when I needed to), so I don't know if it works, but it sounds like it holds enough weight.
As for Maduin's masks, I think that it's a great idea. Again, I'd recommend not trying it out if it gets you weird looks, but it sounds like it works well for steeling your mind. When you put on a mask, you become an actor. When you become an actor, you take on a persona. When you take on a persona, even if it's just another aspect of yourself, you become more focused, because you're thinking about the persona and not just you in general. A human is a vast concept. A jumble of thoughts. A miserable pile of secrets. A soul endlessly seeking to understand. Hell, I know next to nothing about myself. A persona, on the other hand, is much more defined. It is, essentially, a mask in personality form. When you're in a particular persona, you're much more focused. So I'd highly recommend associating a mask with a persona, and then becoming the mask every time you put it on.
That's why it's important to chose an avatar carefully. Frap, for example, fairly recently changed his avatar from coffee to a knight. He said it fit his mentality much more. This is exactly what I'm talking about. Choose your online persona carefully. I, for example, chose the pair of Greek masks to represent that I laugh, but only because it keeps me from crying. Alternatively, I'm blending my comedy into this tragedy. I chose Jekyll because of his "mad scientist" sort of ways that I'm trying to emulate a bit. In reality, he and I are both quite meek. Of course, now everyone's convinced that they both mean that I have a split personality (I don't, and I never have). But it's too late now: that's the persona I've chosen, and its the one I'm the most comfortable with.
So, in short, masks are most likely a good thing. I can see how they might help, but I don't see how they'd hurt...unless, of course, you use them to symbolize giving up your identity and becoming "faceless." Hmm. Well. Yeah, I can see that, too.
Let's rephrase a bit: masks are good if you're using them to become a particular identity or to ward off the Slender Man. However, if you're simply taking on a mask to give up all identity, that's bad. Shift identity, don't relinquish it.
There, that should do it. I'll see you all next time.