Quit Editing · 21 March 2015

A friend of mine (the one who wants to be known as the green M (of M & M) in these Musings and who is known as R to the rest of the known universe) said that I ought to quit editing. Or at least that is what I think he said.

Sometimes I am not sure what Mike The Big Green M says. Sometimes it is because he does not know exactly what he is saying. But I do listen. After all, he is my friend. And one of my faithful readers. (Yes, one of the real as opposed to imaginary ones.)

While Mike did say that I ought to quit editing, he was really talking about the substance of what I write. Or maybe it could be the style of my writing. Regardless, what he said was that he liked one of my recent blog posts because he felt it came from the heart. It was not over-edited or overdone. So while he did say that I need to quit editing, he meant something more than just going with what I write the first try.

Another reason I listen to Mike (besides the fact that he is one of the faithful) is because he usually has backup. In writing terms, he backs up his arguments with concrete evidence. His evidence in this case was not just that it seemed more heartfelt, but that his wife thought so too. Who could argue with that? After all, we know who is right most of the time in most marriages. (Did I say that out loud?)

On the other side of the argument, there are myriad reasons for not listening to The Big Green M.

Mike was the one who told me to do a free write. He was also the one who said I ought to write this blog post or that blog post. He is constantly telling me that I need to do something different.

The problem is he is usually right. I hate when that happens.

When Mike has given me suggestions, I have found them to be helpful. In fact, he has told me before that I ought to make sure my writings are heartfelt and true rather than just try to be clever or witty. (I think he was telling me nicely that I am not funny. I already know this to be true, but I think he likes to reinforce it.)

Regardless of his history of past good suggestions, there is one suggestion that I have taken to heart, but could not really do. Mike has said that I should give up my blog.

Do not worry faithful readers (I know there are more than two of you out there despite what my friends, M & M, say). I am not going to give up my blog. It has taken up a life of its own. It is more than a hobby. It is more than a bad habit too. I do not know that I could live without saying stupid stuff online.

Mike’s point was sincere and more importantly, it was probably right. But he was not really suggesting that I stop blogging. In reality, he posed a question that I have pondered before. He asked what would happen to my writing if I concentrated on just one thing. If I decided that writing juvenile fiction (audience, not content) was where I put all my effort. If I decided to blog every day instead of every week. If I decided that all my writing energy was focused on just one thing. What might happen if I had laser beam focus?

I have wondered this myself. I have wondered what the outcome would be if I took all my waking hours and just wrote.

In my wildest dreams, I see myself being a successful author. I see all my books being printed by major publishing houses and becoming movies. But in my other wildest dreams, I see myself just being a hack with a website. All my books and blogs just sitting there with no readers. And having no job.

Of course, the second wild dream is my reality. Except that I still have a job. Mind you, a job that I love. (Which is no mean feat.)

As I ramble on, I can only think that Mike is probably right. On many fronts. I need to make sure I do not edit the life out of my writing. I need to focus and concentrate on just one project through to its completion. But The Big Green M is also mistaken. I cannot just cut out my blogging to write my juvenile fiction. I cannot just cut out my fiction to write my blog. And I cannot stop editing. I am who I am. A writer (albeit with just a few readers) who just needs to write whatever it is that comes into his brain. I am just a writer with too many ideas. Too many stories. And like all of us, too little time.

So I guess I will continue to work on my writing. I will practice and continue to put stuff out on the web. I will continue to work in obscurity while trying to promote myself and perfect my craft and maybe sell a few books along the way. I will work on making all my writing come from my heart. But I will not quit editing. Still, thanks for the suggestion, Mike.

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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March Magnanimous · 14 March 2015

Graphic by Ray LaBate and Michael Ruhland

March Magnanimous is underway at Cedarcrest High School (CHS) in Duvall, Washington. No, that is not a typo. Even though March Madness takes over much of the country, magnanimity not madness takes over in March at our small high school.

If you have ever wondered what one person can do, all you need to do is look around. For better or worse, individuals have made a difference throughout history. Jesus, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. These few and many more have turned their world if not the whole world upside down in many good ways. And we can too.

One person at our high school has always believed this and he helps our students believe it too. R, as my friend Mike is known throughout the known universe (or at least at good ol’ CHS), is our Associated Student Body (ASB) advisor. He does not like the attention (in fact, he told me to leave him out of this piece), but he is always pushing the kids to do their best and make a good life better for all our students. One of the things R has done is to have the ASB kids put up one word signs around the school. Signs with “Smile” and “Laugh” and “Positive” and “Duck!” started popping up around the school one year. (Sorry, I could not resist putting in the last one. It is one of those “R things” to throw stuff in that is untrue, does not make sense, is just whacky, or all the aforementioned.) I am not sure what effect the positive stuff had on the students, but people got a kick out of them.

As part of this exercise, one of the students decided that magnanimous was her word. Molly put out the sign and then the whole thing exploded. In a good way.

March Magnanimous was born from just that one word and that one person. She wanted to let people know that they could be magnanimous. That they could be generous and forgiving. That they could reach out to others who were less fortunate. March sounded like a good month to be magnanimous since there was the whole alliteration thing and because March Madness would get underway as well. So with Molly’s help, March Magnanimous was born.

What better way to celebrate March Magnanimous than with a tournament. (After all, there is another big tournament that starts in March.)

That first year, the “tournament” had something to do with being nice. Somehow teams were scored on an index of magnanimity. And through some mumbo jumbo scoring techniques, a winner was produced after several weeks. I am not sure I was the only one who thought it strange, but it was a nice thought. A great effort. And who knows, maybe people were nicer in March than they were the rest of the year.

Last year, the tournament really became a tournament. Three-on-three basketball was the name of the game. Students, staff, boys, and girls were invited to play. The final game was played in front of the whole student body at an assembly and one of those two teams had a teacher on it. It was a nice way to end March Magnanimous.

But the March Magnanimous tournament was not just for fun. There was an entry fee, part of which was donated to some worthy cause. And even though the competitive juices flowed, the tournament brought out the best in people. So much so that this year more students and staff members played in the tournament. The staff members were spread around on student (and alumni) teams and had a great time banging around shooting hoops.

I am not sure just how much nicer people are during March Magnanimous. After all, people at our school are pretty nice all the time. But what amazes me is that our students with and without much direction are working to make life better for those around them. R and Molly and a bunch of students who may or may not even be in ASB leadership or in any club or organization are out there making Cedarcrest and their world outside school a better place. It makes me feel good to know that those kids are going to be taking care of the whole world someday. It makes me remember that one person really can change the world. And I can put R on my list of people with significant influence who have changed my world.

Thanks to Molly and R, March Magnanimous is underway at Cedarcrest High School. Let the magnanimity continue.

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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A World Revival · 7 March 2015

Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer
This work is in the public domain.

I wonder what would happen if
   The world had a big revival
If we thought about just pleasing God
   Instead of mere survival
If we cared about our brothers’ souls
   About our sisters’ needs
If we realized God was the One
   Who brings crops when we plant seeds.

I wonder what would happen if
   On Christ the Rock we stood
If we learned to preach the gospel
   In every neighborhood
If we understood the power of
   This great big God we serve
If when we heard the Master’s call to go
   We followed with great verve.

I wonder what would happen if
   We all to self have died
If in all we said and all we did
   God was glorified
If to all we spread the good news
   Without a moment’s hesitation
If we went to every people
   Every tongue and nation.

I wonder what would happen if
   The world had a big revival
If we realized that pleasing God
   Was His plan for our survival
If we understood He calls us all to preach
   To our sister and to our brother
About the Son He sent to say,
   “Love God. And love each other.”

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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