Setting the Stage

I was raised on a farm in Central California, near a little town called Dinuba, which is southeast of Fresno. I decided to be a writer when I was thirteen. My guess, though, is that the decision was made for me � at birth, or possibly even sooner.

For reasons I won�t go into at the moment, I didn�t begin to seek publication until 1997. Within two years, I amassed nearly 400 rejections � a figure I�m proud of, because it shows a certain toughness of character, if not downright stupidity. Little by little, due to the kindness of certain misguided editors, my stories and poems began to see print in literary magazines around the U.S. My first chapbook, Among the Living and Other Stories, was released in 2000.

For me, writing is a way of life. In my time, I�ve done many things to survive, but, even as I was doing them, I was writing. When I wasn�t writing, I was thinking about writing. No doubt this is why I never got anywhere, financially speaking. I simply wasn�t cut out to be a mailroom supervisor, graphic artist, or ad salesman. For a long time, I was a farmer. Due to health problems, my father needed my help, so for a number of years I applied my wobbly writer�s mentality to the growing of grapes, peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots. It was a wonderful experience, a time I will always treasure.

Farming, as it turns out, is an awful lot like writing. You keep planting on the assumption that someday what you plant will bear fruit. You take your chances with the weather and various market conditions. You hang in there, year in and year out, because it�s a wonderful way of life, and because you�re so deeply in debt you can�t think straight. Most importantly, though � and this is where the two walks of life are identical � you spend a great deal of time alone.

Solitude is a writer�s best friend. People who can�t stand to be alone, and who shy away from silence, are not cut out to be writers. Fortunately, something in my own wiring makes it easy for me to be alone. I love people, I love listening to them and looking at them, and I love being among them, but I cherish solitude. These days, having four kids, solitude is scarce. But they�re old enough now that I am at least able to close the door of my work room without hurting their feelings.

There is always some question as to why we end up doing the things we do. I write because writing is the work I love. Beyond that, everything is a mystery. But I�m happy with the arrangement. I�ve lived long enough now to know that it�s impossible to know everything. The little I do know is trouble enough as it is. I prefer to operate on instinct. While less than efficient, my stumbling through life has taken on a kind of rhythm, which in turn has lulled me into a sense of well being. To keep in practice, though, and because it entertains the children, I occasionally make myself miserable. When this happens, my wife straightens me out by looking at me and shaking her head. For her, words aren�t necessary. Then again, she isn�t a writer. She only has to put up with one.

William Michaelian, Salem, Oregon, December 2001

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

Main Page
Author�s Note
A Listening Thing
Among the Living
No Time to Cut My Hair
One Hand Clapping
Songs and Letters
Collected Poems
Early Short Stories
Armenian Translations
Cosmopsis Print Editions
News and Reviews
Highly Recommended
Let�s Eat
Favorite Books & Authors
Useless Information
Flippantly Answered Questions
E-mail & Parting Thoughts

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