Summer’s Almost Over · 24 August 2019

There is something melancholy about the words, “Summer’s almost over.” But whether you are a kid, a parent, or a teacher, the words, “Summer’s almost over,” conjure up different images and feelings.

We have all certainly heard those words as students and thought we needed to shush our peers for saying them. Or we cursed our parents under our breath for saying those words. Or we secretly cheered when somebody said those words. At least those are the reactions that I imagine my friends and I had at the end of each summer growing up. We were sad that the time of little responsibilities were going away. We were sad that we did not get to just go to swimming lessons and then later go back for free swim. We were sad that we did not just get to go to our friends’ houses to goof around. We were sad that we had to get back into our normal clothes and put on our shoes. I know that I was always sad that our family did not get to spend as much time on our relatives’ farms as we did in the summer. Working and playing and making mischief with our cousins. Yes, it was always sad to hear the words, “Summer’s almost over.”

I have not been one of those parents who sighed a sigh of relief when hearing the fateful words, “Summer’s almost over.” Those parents who know they will be free from worrying about scheduling every minute of every day of summer for their kids. Those parents who for whatever reason cannot just tell their kids to go out and play when those kids are bored or rowdy or just bouncing off the walls. But I know they are out there. Those parents who are relieved when they hear the words, “Summer’s almost over.” Many of them even add a word. “Finally.”

I am somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. Not quite relieved that summer’s almost over. Not quite sad that summer’s almost over. Somewhere in between. I am almost like the kid who secretly wants to go back to school. That kid who enjoys summer and all its freedom and fun, but who secretly likes the structure and interaction of school. My feelings are similar. I enjoy summer and I like school. So I have mixed feelings when I hear the words, “Summer’s almost over.”

This summer, like most summers, I feel like I did not get enough done. That I did not play enough. That I did not write enough. That I did not do everything enough. I enjoyed vacation. I enjoyed travel. I enjoyed my time off. I enjoyed the time with my family. But I did not enjoy it all enough. I did not do enough. I did not treasure it enough. Or so it seems, now that summer’s almost over.

There is still time to enjoy the summer. Time to treasure the time with your kids. Time to endure the time with your parents (if you are still a kid). Time to get a little fun in. But life is like summer in some ways. We need to treasure all our time with each other all the time. We need to enjoy life all the time. We need to love each other all the time. For in reality, we never really know when summer’s almost over.

Like I already said, I am somewhat like that kid who is secretly glad that summer’s almost over. Or maybe like the relieved parent. Sure, I did not get everything done that I wanted to do. Not as much writing. Not as much time spent with my family. Not as much treasuring the moments. But I will like the routine again once it has started. I will like seeing my new students. I will like seeing my old students and interacting with my colleagues again. I will like the routine with my family again. But even though I know there is excitement and adventure ahead in all the seasons of the year and of life, there is something melancholy to the words, “Summer’s almost over.”

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Snorestorm · 17 August 2019

I do not know if it is a new word or not, but I am claiming that I created the new word: Snorestorm.

Snorestorm is simply a noun that means one of two things. It is either a boring event or a bunch of people sleeping in the same room. In either case, the people present are snoring up a storm. A snorestorm.

I suppose it could be a Snoresymphony if all those people could coordinate their various snoring styles to make beautiful music. But that does not seem likely. Snorecacophony would be more like it. Unfortunately, neither of those words tells the story behind the snoring. They only tell about the sound quality. Thus, the new word: Snorestorm.

I remember many a snorestorm growing up. Usually at family gatherings. Usually after a large meal. Those snorestorms would start out gradually. One relative (usually my dad or an uncle) would sit on the couch at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Ostensibly to watch TV. Others would also gather ‘round and spread out on different places to sit. Or kinda sit. Inevitably, one after another, their heads would nod and the snoring would start.

(Of course, this was all before people talked about tryptophan causing people to fall asleep after eating lots of turkey, which we know is not really why people fall asleep after gorging themselves at Thanksgiving dinner. The real reason people fall asleep after those big meals is because they let themselves indulge in such big meals. But that is quite another story.)

The snoring when I was growing up never sounded like a symphony, but it almost always built like one. First one person nodded off and started snoring, and then another, and then another. Like a musical crescendo, but the snorers were not all in tune or in time. Not quite a cacophony, but certainly not a symphony. Something more like an improvisation session with people who could not hear each other or take their solo cues from the rest of the tune. Still, the snorestorm was beautiful in its own way. Like a thunderstorm when it is far enough away not to do any damage, but near enough to feel the thunderclaps and kabooms.

Well, the music of those snorestorms of old was not what I originally intended to write about, but it is probably more interesting (especially since I forget what I was going to write in the first place). Certainly more nostalgic. For I do remember those family gatherings with fondness. And I do remember those snorestorms as unique symphonies performed by family members young and old. And I do remember that those who were not making the music were laughing or talking in a different room. Which added much to the whole experience of sight, smell, and certainly sound. Seeing my relatives sleeping in couches and chairs or even on the floor, smelling the aromas of the feast just past, and hearing the sounds of contentment and joy and sleeping. Those are memories worth reminiscing about.

I know I was not heading toward reminiscing when I started this piece about my new word, but I am glad I took the detour. After all, I am not sure where I was headed in the first place. But I do know that I will fondly remember those family gatherings long ago. At whoever’s homes. Where the family members came together for a feast. Then like clouds, gathered ‘round the living room, forming the inevitable snorestorm.

Snorestorm. Maybe I made up a new word. But whether I did or not, the word will conjure up fond memories now. Yes, I will always remember those old snorestorms.

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Love-Hate Relationship · 10 August 2019

I have a love-hate relationship with blogging.

I love to write. I love to post my writing on the internet each week (regardless of its quality). But there are days when I really hate blogging.

I am not new to blogging. I have done it for over a decade now. Every week is different from the one before. But week to week, the process looks something like the following:

Write, edit, post, repeat. Write, edit, post, repeat. Write, forget the editing, just get the doggone thing posted. Write, edit, post repeat. Write, edit, edit, edit, frantically create a picture because I forgot to do so beforehand, post, sigh a sigh of relief. Look desperately to see if I have something ready, grab a picture from the internet (using appropriate citations, of course), post. Forget to write something until the last minute, hastily put together some words that pass as a picture, post at the last minute.

Yes. Some weeks are better than others. Still, I get the posts done, and I enjoy the process. Mostly.

Which is where the love-hate relationship comes in.

You might be thinking that I hate those crazy weeks where I write, edit, edit, edit, frantically create a picture because I forgot to do so beforehand, post, sigh a sigh of relief. Or when I look desperately to see if I have something ready, grab a picture from the internet (using appropriate citations, of course), post. Or when I forget to write something until the last minute, hastily put together some words that pass as a picture, post at the last minute. It would certainly be logical that I hate those weeks. But some of those frantic weeks are the weeks that I enjoy the most. They are the ones that I love. Not that the quality of writing is any better or worse than at any other times. I just enjoy the process as well as the product. Regardless of the quality.

The times that I hate blogging is when I am in a rut. When I have lots to say, but no words to say them with. (Which is different than having writer’s block. Which I have already claimed is a fake malady.) Or those times when I have nothing to say and no words to use. Those are the times that I hate blogging. When the blog just does not want to get written.

But the sign of being a real writer is when you write anyway. When you have too much to say and you do not know where to start, but you write anyway. When you do not have words to say what you want to say, but you write anyway. When you have nothing to say, but you write anyway. When you are in a rut, but you write anyway. Those are the times when you know you are a writer. When you hate to write, but you just write anyway.

Whether anybody acknowledges that I am a writer, I write. Whether anybody ever reads my stuff or not, I write anyway. It does not matter that I have been writing over a decade and still have about the same amount of Facebook fans and Twitter followers as when I started. It does not matter that of my readers (both real and imaginary), I only know two who read pretty much every week. (I am sure there are a couple more out there. Or maybe that is wishful thinking.) But when it comes down to it, all that matters is that I keep writing. And keep working to develop a following. It is not always fun, but I cannot imagine a life without writing. Just like I cannot imagine a life without breathing.

What it comes down to is that I like to practice. I always have. In fact, they call what doctors do a practice. They call what lawyers do a practice. And that is all I do. Practice. I practice writing so that maybe one day somebody besides me will call me a writer. Maybe even a mediocre one. (By the way, as a coach, I tell athletes that they will improve more when they love to practice than when they just love to play the game.)

When all is said and done, I am still just creating a body of work. I am still just practicing to be a writer one day. I am still just blogging one day at a time. And even though they are few and far between, there are those days when I hate blogging. I guess I need to change my premise. I really have a usually-love-seldom-hate relationship with blogging.

© 2019 Michael T. Miyoshi

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