Fine Lines is Dedicated to Improving Literacy

Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014

First, The Importance of Literacy

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right . . . . Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”

-Kofi Annan – a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. Annan and the United Nations were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world.”

Fine Lines is dedicated to the development of writers and artists of all ages.

Mondays with martinWhat started out as a classroom newsletter in 1991 has now turned into a 50 state writing network and a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, educational organization. The first issue was 4 pages long and allowed students many opportunities to show others clear thinking and proper written expression. Each quarterly issue is about 300 pages filled with fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art by “authors and artists in process” who wish to improve their composition craft.

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Calling All Authors, Poets, Essayists, and Artists

Posted on Monday, October 20, 2014

We Want to Hear From You

Fine Lines wants to hear from everyone you know who likes to read and write and has a good story to tell. Contact the schools in your community (all levels), tell students (of all abilities), and writers on your email lists (the good ones and the “wannabees”) that we are looking for traditional and non-traditional creative writers wherever we can find them.

Twenty Three Years and Growing

Mondays with martinWe are now in our twenty-third year of publication, have traversed many publication hurdles, and transformed ourselves frequently to keep our 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization going, because we are involved with a labor of love. We have some rowdy editors who enthusiastically fill four books per year with writing from the heart. Human interest stories, essays, poems, and artwork make us want to fly, and well-crafted declarative sentences make the world a better place in which to live, no matter the academic status of the writer.

Last year, we published a third grader who wrote a wonderful three line observation about winter and several poems from a ninety-four year old great-grandmother. Our motto is “Write on,” and we do.

We will be pleased to have you involved with our mission to change the world one page at a time and one writer at a time. Check out our Summer 2014 edition FREE here.

Thank you for helping us celebrate the beauty of language.

David Martin

The River Keeps Flowing

Posted on Monday, October 13, 2014

Mondays with martinThe day was warm and the breeze gentle.

 

This combination made many students want to lie down on the green, campus grass after lunch and take naps. I made myself comfortable on a shaded bench under the largest oak tree and relaxed. With twenty minutes to spare before starting my next English class, I felt the warm, August sun trying to find me. I looked up at the white, floating clouds, and my mind began to wander.

Imagining what Huck Finn and Jim felt on their crude raft while floating down the mighty Mississippi River, leaving their troubles behind, ignoring their families, forgetting the problems of growing up, averting their minds from mature challenges, overlooking racial prejudice, and communicating the way two males, a young white boy and a black man, would have in that place – in that century, I smiled. As each day began for those runaways, the warm sun twinkled between the fluttering leaves of cottonwood trees along the river banks, gently rousing this friendly duo to new adventures.

Huck and Jim were thankful for the many opportunities that came their way. With child-like understanding, they did their best to comprehend that little corner of the world and their places in it. If life is a stochastic process, they enjoyed and accepted their days as they found them. They did not hate life away, and they would not waste time ignoring it or being ungrateful. In their simplicity, consciously or not, they found excitement in learning, even though their vision was short and blocked by the bends in the river.

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Five Questions to Consider Before Writing a Horror Story

Posted on Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Halloween writer It’s October, the month of Scary.

Let’s talk horror.

Today’s Guest Post is by Friend of Fine Lines Larry Leeds
and comes with the caution:
The following may contain gruesome examples of horror
that has been known to offend
the faint of heart, small children, and/or spiritually persuaded.

 

Why Horror Stories?

In his book The Philosophy of Horror or Paradoxes of the Heart, Noël Carroll offers two Paradoxes of the Heart: “…this is the question of how we can be frightened by that which we know does not exist.” and his second. “It is the question of why. . . anyone would subject themselves to it.” I would like to add my own question: Why would anyone want to tell such stories?

Some say we read horror stories for the adrenaline rush; to satisfy the “fight or flight” situations we rarely have in these modern times. Perhaps it’s for the visceral reaction that others get jumping out of a plane, usually with a parachute. Familiarity, maybe, like the way dad used to turn you upside down and toss you in the air, scaring the wits out of you the whole time you were laughing. I approach a horror story as a controlled nightmare from which I can awaken anytime I want. Others read horror for the reasons some like watching road accidents – so they can say, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

 

What Is Horror?

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Searching for Significance

Posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Today’s guest blog is by Fine Lines friend, Ashley Kresl

Why Me?

keyboard workThere are endless struggles associated with being a writer. We face them at different times and for different reasons. The battle tearing through my writing life lately seems simple enough: significance. Even in writing this blog post, I had so many questions. Why my thoughts? Why these thoughts? Why today? The request to write a guest post was straightforward enough. But… you want me to write something just to write it? Just to hear the sound of my own voice? And then there was the most frightening question of all: what if I don’t have anything to say?

 Key principles to consider:

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Lightning and Mental Floss

Posted on Monday, September 29, 2014

Good writing is a collection of ideas and symbols that make a difference in our world. Authors and poets must find what they are good at communicating and share it in words, so readers know what they believe.

They must speak their message like they mean it.

They must mean it when they say it.

They must commit to finding the truth.

There is no mystery here.

Do the work.

Share the results.

Where shall wisdom be found?

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Quantifying What Matters to Fine Lines

Posted on Monday, September 22, 2014

Recently, I was asked to “quantify” Fine Lines,

In the hopes I could prove statistically that our non-profit organization is worth his donation to our mission. To put a value on increasing literacy, one writer at a time. I wonder, is it possible to quantify something as unique as Fine Lines?

Fine Lines Is Powered by Volunteers

Last month 22 trained, volunteer editors devoted 3 hours each of their time, while reading submissions (essays, historical writings, poetry, short stories, fiction, non-fiction, and human interest articles). They collaborated during these 66 hours of reading to find the best writing for our readers. In our 23 years of publication, the number of submissions has increased substantially in recent years. In 2014, Fine Lines has reached all 50 states in the USA and 33 foreign countries

Our editorial group is an eclectic group that includes various ages, jobs, and backgrounds: high school and college students, math teachers, Spanish teachers, English and journalism teachers, novelists, memoirists, journal writers, an insurance executive, a grant writer, a nurse, university English professors, computer IT managers, medical biologists, one retired CIA agent, and lawyers. This diversity of editors gives a widespread perspective when reading the submissions and adds flavor and value to our team.

Write On Summer Camp

Fine Lines provides a summer writing camp each year in June. Last summer was our 15th year of combining all the arts with composition. The 150 campers turned in so much good writing that it will take a year to publish it all. The positive comments from the campers have grown every year, and we are already planning our next one in 2015. Stay tuned.

What Matters

To “quantify” means to count “how much” and is often used with statistical analysis. This term originated in Medieval Latin, and some people, today, dismiss educational creative concepts if they cannot show numerical growth to the end results of applied theories. Yet, the following statement from an Omaha metropolitan educator tells what really matters:

“Fine Lines offers an outlet for young students who suffer academically. A fourth grade student of special education from a recent summer school creative writing class, struggled with written expression. However, he was so excited to tell the story about his wood-carving experience that made writing his short poem a little more bearable. I submitted his poem, and it was published. When he came to my home to pick up his copy of Fine Lines, I saw the look of pride on his face that was wider than a steamboat. In elation, he cried, ‘I’ve never had anything published before!’”

How’s that for quantifying? :)

Mondays with martinAt Fine Lines – Where Writers Grow!

 

 - David Martin

 

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…

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