William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Tag Archive for ‘Letters’

Dear Theo

It is perhaps not that strange in these virus times, to want to hurry and read something before I die — and yet there it is — the thought arrives unbidden — and so I set it down, not knowing whether it is prescient or the result of a life-long habit of fictionalizing my existence. The book in question consists of three volumes, and contains the letters of Vincent Van […]

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Troonk and Hamph

Among other things, in his journal entry for May 25, 1852, Thoreau mentions hearing the first troonk of a bullfrog — a lovely word, although I have for years spelled the sound hamph — this based on my recurring basso profondo imitation of bullfrogs heard while drifting with my father in his twelve-foot aluminum boat down California’s Kings River, in that lazy stretch below the town of Reedley where it […]

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Letters, Journals, and Poems

This afternoon I finished reading the third volume of Thoreau’s journal — the third of fourteen, as published in 1906 by Houghton Mifflin and Company. And I am set to begin The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, after reading the introduction for the fourth or fifth time early this morning. As with Whitman, I continue my habit of reading aloud — except in the case of The Letters of Henry […]

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That We Write Each Other

I make no distinction between our online and flesh experience; wherever we are, whatever we are doing, this is the room we are in; this is our meal between us; this is our joy, and pain, and grief, and doubt.   That We Write Each Other That we write each other in this way fulfills a very old promise. And the promise is this: that those of us not met […]

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Love Letter to the Universe

A letter arrives which you eagerly answer. But the sender needs no reply. So you turn the words you have written. And you burn them on the other side.   Love Letter to the Universe I was going to write this letter a century ago, but I wasn’t born yet, so I didn’t. I had to wait instead. Finally, when my impatience got the best of me, I was born, […]

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First Kiss

This has been a winter of books, and the kind of simple earthly pleasures that are priceless and free — a winter of clouds and ice and sun, of forest paths and waterfalls, of vanilla pages and chamomile grass and moss — a winter of Blake, Thoreau, and Don Quixote, of diaries and letters, and of all that lasts beyond its past and lights the present tense. And it’s not […]

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The Smiling Eyes of Children

Not until I’d written the last word of what follows, did it occur to me use the title of my unpublished novel. But that letter has been read — by a few, a very few — and will be safely forgotten unless someday someone summons it into the light. Come forth Lazarus! And he came fifth and lost the job.   The Smiling Eyes of Children Let’s say you’ve come […]

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Letter to Myself

In my mind, writing for publication is a sacred trust. To approach it as anything less would be a form of abuse. But I think the same can be said of any walk of life, any kind of work. Don’t you? Because, by each and every act, we publish ourselves.   Letter to Myself Yours are meager words circling the drain while the world outside rages on. No books exploding […]

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Real Time

In the same letter, the friend who told me about the Gombrowicz diary mentioned seeing deer in the quieter, more secluded areas of the campus of the college where he works, and how those lovely creatures live in their own version of time. He meant it in a philosophical way, but it’s also true in the scientific sense. Every species on earth experiences time differently than we do, and sees […]

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Like a Flower

In a recent letter, a friend told me he’s reading the English translation of a diary by Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz, an 800-page tome published in 2012 by Yale University Press. He found it in Santa Barbara, at a bookstore named Chaucer’s. Naturally, I would like to have a copy, although I probably wouldn’t get around to reading it for thirty years. I’ll be ninety-two then. Will I still be […]

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