Michael enthusiastically approaches complicated ideas and works to form them into neat lines of easily digestible text. He honed this skill in the world of educational grant writing and now applies it broadly. He has found it is as useful in product description and internal memos as it is in curriculum design and academic writing.
He also specializes in travel writing, academic or critical analysis, prose, and descriptive writing.
In prose, he has a passion for writing that creates the sense of being in a place. You will find the texture of rolling meadows, steep rocky slopes, and lazy river beds in his words. For this type of writing, Michael draws on his experience translating classical Chinese Buddhist scripture and reading religious texts from all over the world to invoke a world thick with meaning.
In descriptive writing, he uses clear and simple argument and concise expository styling to make his points without preamble.
Michael is interested in religious traditions and texts of all kinds, but especially Buddhist and Christian mysticism. As a clinical social worker, he is constantly engaging questions about social justice, human rights, and racial equity. He reads and speaks widely with peers in advertising, media, finance, and politics. He finds he is at home anywhere where people are asking intriguing questions of complicated issues.
Graduated with academic honors. Thesis title, "Translating the Wordless Transmission: The American Koan."
In 2010 Michael completed an academic thesis on Buddhist Koan usage in American psychoanalysis. To help understand what was being seen in the modern West, Michael examined a brief period of history in Song Dynasty China. Below is an excerpt from a portion of Michael's thesis telling the story of a particular Chan (the Chinese Zen) master named Dahui Zonggao and his contribution to Koan study.
Travel has always been a central feature of Michael's life. He has lived in London, South Africa, China, Oregon, Washington, New England, and New York. Movement, landscape, and adventure are always prominent in Michael's writing. Below is a sample from a short piece about a long night's drive between Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California.
Michael's experiences in education primarily involved crafting lessons, grants, and networking with other organizations to fulfill the needs of various projects. Provided below is an excerpt from a lesson plan that was designed as an early part of a sequence on soil science. This lesson was developed by Michael while managing a school garden program near Xian, China.
Michael has written grants and project proposals for school garden programs in California and China. These grants and projects focused on procurement strategies, educational programs, and garden infrastructure. Michael's grants were successful on many accounts, but not on all. He successfully funded an expansive Farm to School program in his home district with a series of large and small grants supporting a network of projects oriented around food, agriculture, and sustainability projects in the classroom. Below is a sample from a grant application for a local foods procurement program.