William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

When We Meet

It’s indicative of character, I think, that beyond my immediate family, my dearest, closest friends are people I’m unlikely ever to meet in the flesh, and who live hundreds or thousands of miles away. It’s also indicative of the times, for without social media, email, and online publishing, chances are great that our paths would never have crossed. As it is, the number is still small. I have many acquaintances, but these tend to come and go — although, I must say, it’s rare that I’m the one who goes, because I know that if they’re given time, these relationships, too, might blossom. It’s interesting to note, meanwhile, that since we moved to Oregon in 1987, I’ve had only one friend. We saw a lot of each other until he died in 2010. We drank coffee together, we drank beer together, we published a small community newspaper together, and he even lived with us for a short time. Since then, I’ve had no friends here locally. It’s true, I don’t go out looking for them. I don’t attend church. I don’t belong to any clubs. My contact with people is limited to those I meet on hikes and walks, or in the grocery store. There are a few people I say hello to when I’m out, and with whom I share an ongoing friendly exchange. One of these is a man who is nearly ninety years old and unable to talk. We converse with our eyes. Now, it’s obvious, too, that a great part of all this has a lot to do with the fact that writing, like farming, is a solitary pursuit. But that, too, is indicative of character, because even in childhood I loved being alone. Back then, my parents had several friends. And yet that was indicative of their character and of those times, when there was no internet, when television was still a small black-and-white box, and when visiting was an art. And so here I am. No particular conclusion needs to be drawn. I love quiet, I love solitude, but I’m still part of a collective experience, doing my best to make sense through the human medium of pictures and words.


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Categories: Daybook

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