He was hired to do a job that was very like balancing one’s check book all day long, but during non-work hours and days he enjoyed a rewarding and rich life with his wife, Cassandra Coates, who nurtured in him a love of language, the classics, and literature in general. His mind, mostly free during work hours to wander and ponder, eventually led him to return to first love, writing fiction.
In 1986 he won an honorable mention in the California Short Story Competition sponsored by The Nob Hill Gazette and The Squaw Valley Community of Writers.
Sometime in that same decade his play Vado Peligroso won an honorable mention in a competition somewhere in California… Maybe, Redlands, he doesn’t remember and can’t find the notification.
His crowning achievement for something written under his own name has to be a letter he’d sent to the San Francisco Chronicle, published on May 14th, 1989, in the idiot’s corner.
“Editor – I’ve a lot of questions, a few opinions, some questions, and absolutely no answers, all of which make it rather unlikely that you would ever publish a letter of mine. But would you mind terribly. I’d sure like to see my name in print.” J. M. Miles, Oakland
After the boredom of clerking and bookkeeping became unbearable, he followed his wife’s advice and took up teaching. At the same time he gave up creative writing – not enough time. Remembering the mostly pleasant and rewarding days of elementary school, he choose to try to educate and inspire young students, maybe a sixth grade. Unfortunately, the Oakland School district, desperate for teachers at the time, assigned him to teach a first grade bilingual class (Cantonese or Mandarin, didn’t matter, he didn’t know a word of either). He says it was a fun and interesting year, but appreciated being moved up the grades. His career advanced steadily upward and eventually he was assigned a fifth grade. Then his wife died, he fell apart, quit his job and became a hermit. After a few years of self pity, the love of his family and friends coaxed him out of the mountains and back into writing. The results of which you can read at this website. Do him a favor, read some now.