I agree with Sondheim and Streisand

Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Art isn’t Easy

“Putting It Together”




[Barbra:] Look, I’ve spent a lot of time working on this
[Producer 1:] Look, no one’s gonna buy it — no one.
[Producer 2:] No one in Middle America, anyway. That’s for sure.
[Producer 3:] He’s right!
[Producer 1:] Sweetheart, it’s just not commercial!
[Barbra:] What is commercial?
[Producer 2:] It’s not what’s selling nowadays.
[Producer 1:] I mean – personally, I love it, but
[Barbra (sung):]Be nice, girl!
[Producer 3:] Nobody’s into this kind of material.
[Barbra (sung):] You have to pay a price, girl!
[Producer 2:] This album needs a hit single we can push.
[Barbra (sung):]They like to give advice, girl!
[Producer 1:] The whole idea’s too risky.
[Barbra (sung):] Don’t think about it twice, girl!
[Producer 2:] The audience won’t understand this kind of thing!
[Barbra (sung):]It’s time to get to work!
Barbra (spoken): I disagree! Why don’t you wait until you hear it?
[Producer 3:] This is like your old stuff!
[Barbra (sung):] Art isn’t easy.
[Producer 3:] You’ve got to appeal to the kids.
[Barbra (sung):] Even when you’re hot.
[Producer 2:] Why would you want to make an album like this anyway?
[Barbra (sung):] Advancing art is easy.
[Producer 1:] I think we ought to talk seriously about this.
[Barbra (sung):] Financing it is not!
[Producer 2:] Why take chances?
[Barbra (sung):] A vision’s just a vision if it’s only in your head!
[Producer 1:] Nobody respects your artistic integrity more than I do, but
[Barbra (sung):] If no one gets to hear it, it’s as good as dead!
[Producer 2:] You have to think about you career!
[Barbra (sung):] It has to come to life!
Bit by bit, putting it together
Piece by piece, only way to make a work of art
Every moment makes a contribution
Every little detail plays a parts
Having just a vision’s no solution
Everything depends on execution
Putting it together, that’s what counts!
Ounce by ounce, putting in together
Small amounts, adding up to make a work of art
First of all you need a good foundation
Otherwise it’s risky from the start
Takes a little cocktail conversation
But without the proper preparation
Having just a vision’s no solution
Everything depends on execution
The art of making art
Is putting it together, bit by bit
[Producer 2:] Do we really need all these musicians?
[Barbra:] Link by link, making the connections, yes we do!
Drink by drink, taking every comment as it comes
Learning how to play the politician
Like you play piano, bass and drums
Otherwise you’ll find your composition
Isn’t gonna get much exhibition
Art isn’t easy
Every minor detail is a major decision
Have to keep things in scale
Have to hold to your vision
[Producer 1:] Why don’t we talk about this over dinner, darling?
What’s a little cocktail conversation
If it gets the funds for your foundation
Every time I start to feel defensive
I remember vinyl is expensive!
[Producer 3:] Would you agree to do an interview?
[Barbra:] Maybe one!
Dot by dot, building up the image
Shot by shot, keeping at a distance doesn’t pay
Still if you remember your objective
Not give all your privacy away
A little bit of hype can be effective
As long as you can keep it in perspective
Even when you get some recognition
Everything you do you still audition
Art isn’t easy
Overnight you’re a trend
You’re the right combination
Then the trend’s at an end
You’re suddenly last year’s sensation!
All they ever want is repetition
All they really like is what they know
Gotta keep a link with your tradition
Gotta learn to trust your intuition
While you re-establish your position
So that you can be on exhibit…
So that your work can be on exhibition!
Be new, girl!
They tell you till they’re blue, girl!
You’re new, or else you’re through, girl!
And even if it’s true, girl,
You do what you can do!
Bit by bit, Putting it together
Piece by piece, working on the vision night and day
All it takes is time and perseverance
With a little luck along the way
Putting in a personal appearance
Gathering supporters and adherents…
[Producer 1:] Well, she’s an original!
[Producer 3:] WAS!
[Barbra:] Mapping out the songs but in addition
Harmonizing each negotiation
Balancing the part that’s all musicians
With the part that’s strictly presentation
Balancing the money with the mission
Till you have the perfect orchestration
Even if you do have the suspicion
That it’s taking all your concentration
The art of making art
Is putting it together, bit by bit
Beat by beat, part by part
Sheet by sheet, chart by chart
Track by track, bit by bit,
Reel by reel, pout by pout
Stack by stack, snit by snit,
meal by meal, shout by shout
Deal by deal, spat by spat
Shpiel by shpiel, doubt by doubt
And that… Is the state of the art!

A-Z Lyrics

What do you think? Tell us where Sondheim gets it right and where he got it wrong. Let’s discuss…

Our Motto is “Write On,” Do You?

Posted on Monday, September 15, 2014

Dear Writers,

Mondays with martinPlease tell all people you know who like to read and write and have good stories to tell that Fine Lines wants to hear from them. Contact the elementary schools in Oregon. Invite the community college students in Florida. Notify the writers on your email list that we are looking for traditional and non-traditional writers and creative ideas wherever we can find them.

We are now in our twenty-third year of publication, have traversed many publishing hurdles, and transformed ourselves often to keep this 501 (c) 3 non-profit, educational, literary organization available for all, because we are involved with a wonderful labor of love. Our enthusiastic and rowdy editors enjoy opening the mail to find submissions that ask readers to share the authors’ messages.

We fill four issues per year with writing from the heart, human interest stories, essays, and poems that make us want to fly. Well-crafted declarative sentences make the world a better place in which to live, no matter the academic status of the writers. A third grader who wrote a wonderful three line observation about winter and several poems from a ninety-four year old great-grandmother both earned our equal respect.

Our motto is “Write on,” and we do.

We are pleased to have you involved with our mission to change the world one page at a time. If you want to become more involved in our efforts to increase world literacy, let us know, and we will be happy to send you some “stuff” that you can share with writers in your community. Give us your mailing address, and Fine Lines will get it to you.

Answer our “Call for Submissions” before the end of this year.

Let the beauty of our language live on in your words.

- David Martin

One Voice Matters – Let Your Voice be Heard

Posted on Monday, September 8, 2014


ondays with martinWhen I hear people complaining about what is going on in their lives and the world, I ask them what we should do about those issues. Usually, they say, “Oh, nothing,” because their vote doesn’t really count, no one will listen to their ideas, and they do not matter in the big picture of world events, anyway. Across time, people have used this reasoning for not voting, not getting involved, and letting less qualified people run our world; however, history demonstrates that one vote has made the difference on several important occasions, and when “little people” unite, their impact may become a most powerful force.

Consider This


In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.

In 1776, a few votes in the Continental Congress gave the United States the English language instead of German.

In 1820, President James Monroe ran for a second term. He was so popular that he won all but a single vote in the Electoral College. John Quincy Adams cast the one vote against Monroe. Adams stated that the reason he did this was “to make certain that only George Washington would ever have the honor of being elected President by a unanimous vote.”

In 1845, one vote in the U. S. Congress brought Texas into the Union. That same vote also resulted in the U. S. acquisition of Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, California and part of Colorado.

In 1868, Andrew Johnson, who became President after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, was impeached by the U. S. House of Representatives for abusing his executive powers and was tried in the U. S. Senate but was found not guilty by one vote.

In 1875, one vote changed France from a monarchy to a republic.

In 1920, one Tennessee vote ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, giving women the right to vote.

In 1923, one vote gave Adolf Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party.

In 1941, one vote saved the Selective Service, just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

In 1960, Richard Nixon lost the presidential election, and John F. Kennedy won it by a margin of less than one voter per precinct in Illinois.

In 1976, one vote derailed HR-11193 and prevented the U. S. from adopting the handgun ban.

In the 1996 U. S. presidential election, fewer than half of the nation’s voters voted!

Even as recently as in the year 2000, only a few more votes from only a couple of counties in Florida would have resulted in Al Gore being elected the President of the United States.

 Martin Luther King said, “Voting is more than a badge of citizenship and dignity. It’s a tool for change.”

Cast your vote and make a difference in the next election. One vote can make the difference. If the person who cast the deciding vote in the examples above had not voted, what would have happened to our country and the world?

Words and Action

When we write and share our positive ideas with readers, we are “voting” for humanity. When we choose to increase our literacy and help others do the same, we are “voting” for the betterment of all. When we take even one step to improve the way we move through the world, we are “voting” to bring a little more light to those areas filled with shadows.

Join Fine Lines now, and submit your best writing today.

Do your part to celebrate our language and reduce the darkness in the world.

  – David Martin

It’s Here!

Posted on Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hello Fine Lines Friends,

Have you seen the current issue?

Here it is!

Our first electronic issue is Free to the public.

We are excited to share with you over 200 pages that include a variety of styles and experiences.

Kick back and enjoy.

We’ll see you again in the Fall.






Writing Advice from an Avid Football Fan

Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Today’s writing advice comes to us from
Fine Lines friend Jennifer Lovett Herbranson a loyal ‘Bama Fan.

Born into the Lessons

I was raised down South by a strong Southern woman who felt every challenge was an opportunity for character growth, and she lived by the mantra, “Hardwork gets you what you want.” In Alabama, football is like a religion and coaches are like gods. University of Alabama legendary Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant is one of them. My father played for him in the mid-1960s and raised us on Coach Bryant’s life lessons. Combined with my mother’s strong will, Alabama football lessons taught us everything we needed to be successful in life.

I’m also a serial procrastinator

I find nothing compelling about doing something early. But give me hard deadlines and 24 to 48 hours out, I’m on fire. Recently, though, I’ve noticed something troubling among writers I’ve met. They are dissatisfied with their writing lives. They can’t find enough time in the day or they can’t wrap their heads around their ideas or they have no idea how the business runs.

If you want to be a writer, you have to accept that it is not easy. But then again, when it’s hard, it’s worth it. So get on up, dust yourself off, grab whatever tool you need to succeed and get to work. You know you want to do this and you know you can succeed. Here are three ways to help you:

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Fine Lines, Good Writing

Posted on Monday, August 25, 2014

The Fine Lines project is all about good writing.

Good Writing

What we want to do is make the clear thinking of our authors visible in print and on our website. Since 1991, Fine Lines has provided a place where creative writers share their written ideas. Our quarterly publications are dedicated to the writing development of all its members. What started out as a single classroom project is now a fifty-state network of authors who love the written word, and it has developed into a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit educational organization.

New Publishing Frontiers

When we found out that WriteLife, our publisher for the last six years, closed its doors at the end of July, we knew Fine Lines would have to evolve once more. As we pursue the many options available writers, we have chosen to start by sharing the summer 2014 issue via our website, www.finelines.org. It will be there, by September 15, 2014. In the future, we may try to publish in both mediums. Time will tell.

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What I Have in My Heart I Must Out

Posted on Monday, August 18, 2014

ondays with martin“Have you ever had a realization that the whole beautiful, terrible crazy drama of life was perfect? Sometimes, this realization comes during holy moments, those brief suspensions of time when eternity steals over us, and we feel the inherent integrity of life” (Joan Borysenko, Fire in the Soul).

Recently, I was reading a CD cover on Ludwig van Beethoven’s concertos and came across his quote:

“I have never thought of writing for renown and glory. What I have in my heart I must out: That is why I write.”

Beethoven’s story still inspires many people. He discovered at age 26 that he was losing his hearing, became moody and withdrawn due to his embarrassment of impending deafness, and was ashamed to tell people to “speak up.” “Alas! How could I possibly refer to the impairing of a sense which should be more perfectly developed in me than in others, a sense which once was perfect.”

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Creative Non-Fiction: What You Need to Know

Posted on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

There often seems to be a consensus among folks when talking about writing, that creating creative non-fiction is difficult, and only for the most expert writers. However, this is a monstrous falsehood! Anyone can write creative non-fiction; here’s what you need to know ->

The Non-Fiction in Creative Non-Fiction

The first rule to writing non-fiction is to be as truthful as possible. Yes, the word creative means you’ve created bits, but that doesn’t mean you’ve created something from scratch. For example, begin with a place you’ve visited, an interesting person you met, an experience you had, a funny joke you were told, and start your story there. The place, the people, the sounds, the smells, those are all real things you’ve experienced. Remember; the definition of non-fiction writing is a story based on real facts and information.

The Creative in Creative Non-Fiction

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