Posts made in September, 2014

Lightning and Mental Floss

Lightning and Mental Floss

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? Its discovery may appear at any time and in any location. A wise person is always alert to the elements and specific incidents, because epiphanies can strike as quickly as lightning. Trying times, unforeseen storms, tasks causing much sweat and strain become the necessary preparation for unexpected disclosures and revelations. True learning happens only after authentic encounters. Just as a small string can dislodge a troublesome object between two teeth and relieve a person of great discomfort, an unearthing of truth may shine a bright light into a previously dark corner and allow for a sudden realization of understanding. Dentists tell us to floss every day. Good writers can use writing as “mental floss” and jog their minds to increase perception, exposition, and discernment.    “Sweet are the uses of adversity, Which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious jewel in his head; And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything.” – Shakespeare, William – As You Like It, Act 2, scene 1, lines 12–17 Write on, David Martin     Share...

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Quantifying What Matters to Fine Lines

Quantifying What Matters to Fine Lines

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? 🙂 At Fine Lines – Where Writers Grow!    – David Martin   Share...

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I agree with Sondheim and Streisand

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...

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Our Motto is “Write On,” Do You?

Our Motto is “Write On,” Do You?

Dear Writers, Please 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 Share...

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One Voice Matters – Let Your Voice be Heard

One Voice Matters – Let Your Voice be Heard

  When 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...

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