Awhile ago, I finished writing the day’s entry for One Hand Clapping, the daily journal I started back on March 17, 2003, and to which I have been faithfully adding now for over sixteen months. That’s a lot of entries. It’s also a lot of words: roughly 165,000 and counting. It feels good to know I haven’t missed a single day, especially since there have been some grueling days during which no one in his right mind would have tried to write. Certainly, had I later made the reasons known, I would have been forgiven for skipping. But somehow, I don’t think I could have forgiven myself. I said it was a daily journal when I started, so a daily journal it is. As long as I am not in the hospital, or dead, I need to keep my word, even if it eventually puts me in the hospital or kills me.

At the same time, I realize I am completely free to end the journal whenever I like. The journal is a lot like my hair. Already at the middle of my back, it keeps right on growing, and I have no idea yet when I will cut it. I imagine I will someday, but every now and then I think both my hair and the journal should be allowed to grow indefinitely, just for their own sakes.

Granted, when you do something for such a long time, you can reach the point where you become afraid not to do it. This sounds like an addiction. And I know I am addicted. I’ve known it for a long time. But I was addicted long before I started One Hand Clapping. It was my addiction to writing and publishing that drove me to it in the first place. I needed something stronger, I guess, something more immediate. It’s nice to be able to publish work as soon as it’s written, without waiting for someone else’s powerful, self-serving opinion on its literary merit or potential monetary value. From a professional standpoint — a term I use loosely and with a smile — it’s also dangerous. After all, One Hand Clapping isn’t an impulsive form of therapy, despite the fact that it is impulsive, and is therapeutic. It is really meant to be thought-provoking, worthwhile reading that, with any luck, will one day be published in book form. As such, it is necessary at all times to keep in mind the entire work, in respect to where it has been and where it might be going (the latter being a mystery and a great part of the fun), its underlying themes, its varied content, and its overall cohesiveness and effect. In other words, One Hand Clapping is much more than a daily journal. It is a literary work being published as it is thought, written, and lived, rather than much later, after the fact.

Those familiar with my 2002 collection of seventy short stories,
No Time to Cut My Hair, know how openly and wholeheartedly I have embraced this approach. Written in a self-imposed ninety-day period, each story was published immediately upon its completion. This afforded readers a real live glimpse of my sordid writing life and revealed what I was thinking about at the time. To an embarrassing degree, it also revealed my general lack of talent and good taste, but these are impossible to hide anyway, so I refuse to worry about it.

It also goes beyond these two titles. Thus far, other than my novel,
A Listening Thing, and a couple of other large works I hope to eventually publish here, most of what appears on this website is presented the same day it is written. Why this seems a normal and necessary thing for me to do is something I don’t fully understand. I suppose it is due to my impatient nature. Yet, when you consider the amount of patience required to be a writer at all, and the roadblocks writers encounter in the form of crooked publishers and arrogant, blind, or simpleminded editors and their accounting overlords, then it is clear that impatience is only a partial factor — if impatience is even the right word. Maybe I just like to work, and want to see the results of my effort in my lifetime — in which case the words naďve or dumb might serve just as well.

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

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