Preface
by William Michaelian

Almost without fail, I write something every day ó columns, notes, letters, reviews, stories, poems. Most of this gets filed in various stacks on and around my work table, either to be forgotten, or to be pondered at a later date. Some is used right away in the making of paper airplanes. A very small portion ends up being published, thereby lighting the way for humankind.

Once or twice a year, however, I assign myself an ambitious, full-blown writing task and set a nearly impossible deadline for its completion. I do this for several reasons. First, I enjoy suffering. Second, I enjoy the challenge. Third, by working intensely for two or three months, I am able to address thoughts and ideas that have accumulated, and to see which make sense and which should be discarded. Fourth, writing like a madman is a great way to check on my level of stamina, both physical and mental. Fifth, I am anxious to see what comes of the effort.

This time around, I have settled on short stories. I love short stories. Writing them is a challenge. Writing good short stories is even more of a challenge. Writing twenty or thirty or forty good short stories in ninety days, some would insist, is impossible. And it probably is. I guess thatís what makes this idea so appealing. If I can do it, it will be quite an accomplishment ó a genuine feather, so to speak, in my literary cap. If I canít, if I write a bunch of lousy stories, then, well . . . Oh, boy. Letís not talk about that. Letís talk instead about how much fun weíre going to have, and how wonderful life is, and how good-looking our children and grandchildren are. . . .

William Michaelianís newest releases are two poetry collections, Winter Poems and Another Song I Know, published in paperback by Cosmopsis Books in San Francisco. His short stories, poems, and drawings have appeared in many literary magazines and newspapers. His novel,
A Listening Thing, is published here in its first complete online edition. For information on Michaelianís other books and links to this siteís other sections, please go to the Main Page or visit Flippantly Answered Questions.

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