Words, vocabulary and writing have been chief personal interests to me since an early age.
When in 1960 a 5th grader, absorbed and astonished, I read the paperback version of Edward Gibbon's history ''The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.''
In 1966 when a junior in high school, I felt gifted to have achieved a verbal usage score ranking of 98%---the average score 59%---in the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test.
I felt exceedingly honored to have been selected for the Phoenix
Newspaper, Fall 1983 Best Feature Story award. The Department of Journalism at San Francisco State University presented the award at a ceremony to recognize talented student journalists. My feature story was entitled ''Renegade houseboats struggling to survive in Sausalito.''
The following letter to the editor of the St. John Valley Times, in Madawaska, Maine, for which I reported, was printed in the paper and I quote its entirety.
''To the editor,
Vive la difference! I would like to compliment your reporter, Michael Bell, for his innovative style with that special taste of New York!
My husband, who is native to the Valley, and I, who have visited there since 1949, greatly enjoy his by-lined articles of the personalities in charge of affairs in this very special area of Aroostook.
Bell does not duck the hard and sometimes controversial questions when interviewing his subjects. He does manage to communicate to us, his readers, both far and near, the philosophies and value judgments as well as the modus operandi of the present members of the power structure in the St. John Valley. He asks the questions we would ask if we were there and then lets the chips fall where they may. Bravo!
Subscribers, the Burns Patrick Savages of Longmeadow and Springfield, Mass., greatly appreciate the professionalism and this journalistic style of reporting. Mr. Bell gets an ''A'' in our book for his objectivity.
Roberta Jane Nodurf Savage
East Longmeadow, Mass.
Journalism suits my interests in politics and government, as well as words and writing.
Another congratulatory letter which made my day was addressed to me when I worked in 1985 to report for the King City Rustler in King City, CA.
Your article titled ''La Buena Esperanza, Part of an American Dream'' exceeded my expectations. It captured the true spirit of the project. This article will remain forever a part of my scrapbook.
J. Vasquez Jr.
In my career life besides writing as a reporter, I worked as a professional furniture finisher and re-finisher. I learned the trade inside and out because I felt much satisfaction from turning old, dismembered furnishings into pieces of furniture fit for the drawing rooms of elegant homes. I utilized my experience, in September 1992, to write an article for the San Francisco based Antiques West newspaper titled ''Restoring Oriental Lacquer and Paper Screens.'' Similarly I re-finished a reconstructed copy of a 17th century Queen Anne tea table, and wrote content and shot photos of the work in progress from initial stripping to final waxing. It appeared in my blog ''Me Speaking.''
The story is at http://www.freelancewritingjournal.com/ , the blog I started in November 2013, continuing on to write fifty published posts until July 2016. I enjoyed the writing--- book reviews, movie reviews, history, stories based on childhood memories, opinion and thoughts about culture and society. The practice of writing not only served to polish my skills as a writer, but also management of the blog taught much to me unfamiliar about computer technology. I plan to take the blog off its hold to craft more posts beginning this year.
My love of words eventually grew into the field of writing poetry. The National Library of Poetry, based in Owings Mills, Maryland, sent an inspiriting letter to me, dated June 15, 1998, to inform as quoted below:
Over the past year we have been reviewing the thousands of poems submitted to us, as well as examining the poetic accomplishments of people whose poetry has been featured in various anthologies released by other poetry publishers. After an exhaustive examination of this poetic artistry, The National Library of Poetry had decided to publish a collection of new poems written by the most Outstanding Poets we have encountered.
I am pleased to tell you that you have been selected to appear in this special edition.
Outstanding Poets of 1998
Congratulations on your accomplishment, Michael. Only a small percentage of individuals whose poetry we have examined was selected to be part of this distinguished group of Outstanding Poets.''
...''The poem which you will submit for this edition has already been selected for publication on the basis of your previous poetic accomplishments...We believe you to be one of the most interesting poets we have encountered...''
My first book of poetry, in June 2018, was published on Amazon, at this link,
I'm currently writing poems for my second book, and I look forward with great anticipation
to writing for customers on Clear Voice.
Article, Interview, Blog Post
San Francisco State University, BA in Journalism
City College of San Francisco, Paralegal Certificate