You Cannot Edit a Blank Page · 16 October 2021

I never really thought about it, but you cannot edit a blank page.

Apparently, Jodi Picoult said, “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” As obvious as it sounds, the quote is very deep. There is a truth to it that cannot be denied. Or can it?

By the way. If you are like me, you may not know who Jodi Picoult is. She is an author of many books, none of which I have read. Not that I would not read her stuff, I just have not. There are so many authors like that these days. Authors who are famous and have written a lot, but who I have not read. There are just too many books to read. At any rate, she has many books out there. Perhaps I will read one.

But back to Picoult’s quote. You cannot edit a blank page. Really. Try as you might, you just cannot change the writing on a page that has nothing on it. Then again, once you put something on it, have you not edited it? After all, editing is changing. Once you put a single word on a page, you have altered the page. And so, you might consider the page edited. At least from a certain point of view. A technical point of view.

Still, I agree with Picoult. I think that adding a word to a blank page, is not editing. It is just getting started. And that is what writing is all about. Getting started.

Mary Poppins said that well begun is half done. I agree. Especially when it comes to writing. Getting that first word on the page is well begun. At least for many writers. And would be writers. Actually, probably more for would be writers. After all, they are the ones who still believe in writer’s block. (Which is a completely different story. One which, by the way, I have already written. Thus the link.)

But back to the quote. You cannot edit a blank page. And even one word is not a blank page. That one word can be edited. And that is the point of the quote after all. Just get to it. Just write. If you want to be a writer, you need to write. Period. Rather, exclamation point! Write! Write! Write!

Or sit there and pretend that you want to write. Sit there and give in to the myth called writer’s block. People who sit down to write and end up with a blank page at the end of a writing session are destined to never be writers. Or they are people who take a long time to write stuff in their brains and then spew them out when the time is right. I know because I used to be like that. Now, I just spew. Write, write, write. Nothing else matters when you are a writer. Get words onto the page. And if they are worthy words, publish them. And sometimes, if you are trying to meet a deadline or you are bent on getting something out there for your next blog post, publish them even if they are not so worthy. (Not that I always do that, but…)

When it comes right down to it, Jodi Picoult is right. “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”

So if you want to be a writer, get to it. Write. And if you feel like it, edit. But for Pete’s sake, get started. Start writing. Get rid of those blank pages.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

Share on facebook



Driving a Hybrid · 9 October 2021

Driving a hybrid vehicle is a different experience.

We have two hybrid cars now. A RAV4 and a Camry. I know. They are both Toyotas. There is something to be said for brand loyalty. Maybe they ought to make a commercial about my family. After all, we have five Toyota’s for the four drivers in our household. And our son who lives across town drives one too. Personally, I like Toyotas for their reliability and value. And I have not driven many vehicles I like more than a Toyota. (Too bad this is not a paid commercial.)

At any rate.

Driving a hybrid vehicle is a different experience than driving a vehicle that has only an internal combustion engine. For one thing, they are quiet when stopped. The engine does not run unless it is trying to keep the cabin warm or charge the batteries. That quietness is the easiest thing to get used to. Especially when it carries over to the road. I am sure our vehicles do not have the quietest cabins out there, but not having the engine noise on top of the road noise does make a quieter ride. And the road noise on our two hybrids is less than I have had in any vehicle for a long time. Not less than all the cars I test drove when searching for the right vehicle, but certainly less than most.

One of the nicer things about our particular hybrids is that they have some get up and go. I drove a couple hybrids that I thought should have that immediate acceleration of an electric motor, but did not. I pressed the accelerator and there was a lag in vehicle movement. It was like being in an internet video game or a car without any pep. (One of those vehicles was even a Toyota.) I could not believe I did not have near immediate full power when I stepped on the gas. Both of our vehicles can lay rubber from a stop (not that I have done so on purpose much), and they also have nearly immediate acceleration when moving.

The most interesting thing about driving a hybrid though is that I have had to change my mindset about braking. My dad taught me long ago that when going down a steep grade, I should downshift and use the engine to slow the car instead of wearing out the brakes. I have done that for decades whether the vehicles had manual or automatic transmissions. I did that a few times in my hybrid too. Until I remembered. Braking in a hybrid is regenerative. Which just means that braking charges the batteries. The electric motors are used as generators when braking. That remembrance took a few times to sink in. I had to go downhill using my brakes and see that the batteries were charging to fully appreciate regenerative braking. But I get it. Yes, I understood the principle of regenerative braking before, but driving the hybrids has given me a better understanding and a practical demonstration of the concept.

There is one other thing that has been interesting with driving hybrid vehicles downhill. When the hill is not very steep, you might need to press the gas to avoid slowing down. I was amazed at the concept. I was driving down the hill by our house when I first noticed it. I let my foot off the gas and poised it above the brake like I would in our other vehicles. I wanted to make sure I did not go too fast down the hill. But it felt like the hybrids were slowing down as I went down the hill. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the speedometer and saw that my feeling was correct. I had to press the accelerator just to stay at the speed limit down the hill.

I never thought I would be driving a hybrid as my main vehicle, but I do not know that I would drive anything else now. I just hope Toyota has an option one day for all their vehicles to be hybrid. Because I like Toyotas. And because driving a hybrid is a pleasantly different experience.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

Share on facebook



Writing through the Grief · 2 October 2021

Margie (Matsushima) Miyoshi
(May 31, 1942 – September 16, 2021)

It might seem strange, but writing is a big part of my grieving process.

I do not know how it started but I always need to write something when somebody I know dies. Some sort of tribute.

Often times I think that we do the tributes too late. We ought to write tributes and eulogies before a person dies so that they can hear them. Which is just another way to say that we need to appreciate people while they are still with us. Seems so obvious. I wish I did it more often.

Regardless of when I started writing as part of the grieving process, I know that it is an important part. I process with words. And often music. And so it has been with Mom going to meet Jesus. I cry through the writing. And the music.

I wrote the obituary and a eulogy for my mom. And I was given the gift of a song at her passing. Maybe someday I will share the song with the world too. Who knows. All I know is that that song is stuck in my head. And I know that I am not the one singing it.

Well, I have a lot more to say about writing through the grieving process, but I think that I will save it for later. I really just needed to let the readers of my blog know that I am okay. I am grieving. I am hurting. But I am okay. I know I will see Mom and Dad again in the presence of the Lord.

I also want to say thank you. Thank you to those who have said kind words. Those who have given hugs. Those who are always there. Family and friends are such an important part of going through the grieving process.

By the way. There are few words that are not appropriate when offering condolences. At least as far as I am concerned. Just that people acknowledge that they are sharing in your pain and grief is enough. Words do not need to be eloquent. Sometimes they can even be unsaid. Sharing those silent moments of knowing what the other person is going through can be a powerful thing.

I have more to say on grief and the grieving process, but I think Mom’s eulogy and these few words here are enough for now.

I am thankful for and to my family and friends as I grieve for Mom. And even though it is strange, I am thankful I am able to write through the grieving process.

© 2021 Michael T. Miyoshi

Share on facebook