Friday From the Journal – Sneezing Trees

Today we are delighted to share the first place poem:

Sneezing Trees

Through my window, elms

Sneeze showers of zealous leaves

Swarming barren grounds

 – Rose Gleisberg

We asked Rose to share about her inspiration for this piece:

My poem, “Sneezing Trees” was inspired by my husband’s work environment – working several floors underground for several years and having no window to view nature’s surprises. After several years of this, he was finally moved to a traditional office setting with a window view. One fall morning, he noticed the leaves falling from the trees. This was a pleasant sight, that until the move, he had little time to appreciate. With each new breeze, a shower of leaves could be seen. To him, it was as if the trees sneezed.

Author Bio: Rose Gleisberg graduated in 1980 from the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska, with a degree in Early Childhood Education. After a few years, she left full time teaching to travel with her husband during his military career. Rose received a Creative Writing certificate in 2003 from Creighton University, also in Omaha. She currently substitute teaches, is involved in local writing groups, and writes poetry in her spare time. She resides in Bellevue, NE with her husband, Bob, and has three children.

Rose’s poem, “Holland’s the Place for Me,” was published in The Nebraska English Journal in 2001 and Bending Light in 2002. “Swish, Crackle, Crunch” appeared in Ideals in 2004. In more recent years, Rose’s poetry has been published in The Pen Women as well as Celebrate – A Collection of Writings by and about Women. Her poetry can also be found in Fine Lines, a literary journal published in Omaha. Much of Rose’s writing is inspired by her daily experiences with children – her own and her students. She also enjoys writing about nature and the many places around the world she has visited.

Friday From the Journal – The Wordsmith

Today we have a double treat for you!

First, the poem the poem that placed second in the Fine Lines Poetry Contest:


With pen in hand I slide to the other side,

Where fireflies shatter twilight’s veil,

Pine needles crinkle on the path,

Moonbeams whisper a melody,

Chanting waves enthrall,

Rushing winds caress,

Stars glisten above,

Blood tingles as

I drink from the

Fountain of


  – Marion Young

Now – join us in this interview with the author Marion Young

“Hello, this is Zoe at KPSK Radio. Today we’re talking with Marion Young, a local poet who scooped up second prize.”

Creek. Creek. The faux-leather chair cracked as I sat next to my talk show host. “Howdy.”

Continue reading “Friday From the Journal – The Wordsmith”

Friday From the Journal – Frozen Like a Statue

Today we bring you the Third Place Winner in the Fine Fines Poetry Contest


Frozen like a Statue


My teeth chatter against each other,

like a beaver gnaws on wood.

I’m frozen from my toes

to the tips of my auburn hair,

frostbitten to the very depths of my soul

battered by icy, bitter wind,

as Christ of the Deep withstands currents

and growth of marine life within its matter.

Icicles have formed on my eyelashes,

the only part of me not swaddled like a babe,

unshielded from the ruthless air,

as statues in open-air bear the brutal weather

that sears their foundations,

and cracks the stone.


My scarf whisks away from my neck,

yearning to break free,

to soar o’er the jagged, snowy mountain,

like Christ, held captive

by shifting sands and anchored by barnacles.

Tugging on my scarf, protecting my face,

I choke on the arctic bite of the air,

the bitterness cuts through my cracked lips

like saltwater on a wound,

then dig my poles into the freshly packed snow.


For a moment they are trapped;

and I am frozen like a statue,

Christ of the Deep trapped in the murky depths of silt,

yet instead of awaiting my doom,

I grasp the poles

like Christ reaching for the heavens,

I extinguish the cold soaked marble of my snow-sculptured figure.

Launching my gelid skis towards the distant lodge,

I carve ribbons into the icy snow,

like Michelangelo,

setting free the angel in the marble.

By Anne James

Author Bio:

Anne James works as a research lab technician in the department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at Creighton University. She completed her B.S. in biology and French at Creighton. In her free time, Anne enjoys writing poetry, playing the trombone, knitting, and scuba diving.


What Do You Write?

As a writer, the subject of writing tends to find its way into introductory conversations. Even if not your full time profession, even if you consider writing a hobby, or an uneconomical passion, you are still a writer and when the subject comes up, as it often does, the inevitable question that follows is: “What do you write?”

Uh, oh. If you’re like me, suddenly every genre I’ve touched on dances around in my head waiting to be mentioned, my current projects and old projects clamor for status and then, worst of all, suddenly nothing feels worthy to mention. The impulses to justify and yet downplay my passion begin duking it out while the innocent inquisitor stares politely at me waiting for an answer.

mwt square

Market-Write Tip –

When asked, “What do you write?” Have your answer ready.

Perhaps you’ve heard the term elevator speech. This is the idea that a short 3 minute “pitch” is ready and prepared for any occasion, but especially for the opportunity to sell to a new prospect. In publishing there is also the logline. A logline is a one or two sentence summary of your written work primarily used to sell to an agent or publisher. Both of these examples are important for when you’re selling your work.


Today we’re not talking about selling, we’re talking about answering a question in a conversation. Why is this important if you’re not selling? Because, as writers, we should always be connecting: connecting to readers, connecting to writers and connecting to community. This question is the most commonly asked and the best starting point for making connections.


Also, it’s a hard question to answer. That is why the answer is important to think about ahead of time and even practice. To make it easier, put your answer into 3 short parts.

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Friday From the Journal – Concert

Dear Friends,

In the month of January we will bring you poets and poetry from the Fine Lines Journal.

This piece was created by a student who enjoys reading and writing in her spare time. We hope you enjoy her art:


i am the pulsing at a concert when everyone screams and the noise rises into the ceiling and the vibrations thrum in the clouds
i am the crowd clapping and jumping in unison to the song that plays every night on the radio three or four times that everyone says they hate
i am the soft moment of silence in between songs when the crowd is holding their breath and no one cares about: work, school, parents, pain, blood
i am the moment of fear before the encore when each soul worries that maybe there won’t be an encore this time and
i am the sigh of relief and excited shriek a moment later when the bassline to one of their oldies thrums through the stadium
i am the rush in the car when you roll the windows down and your mom snaps at you for not hearing her remind you of the “real world”
i am the slow downslide of remembering all the things you forgot when they were right there and
i am the push of adrenaline when you hear one of their songs and you feel it all over again and your throat feels newly raw from screaming

 – Selena Dobles-Kunkel


Five Tips to Jump Start Your Writing

Today’s tips come from UNO student and Fine Lines special editor and intern, David Waller


Sometimes life throws you incredible opportunities as a writer: calls for submissions to literary journals, writing contests, or the discovery of new magazines featuring material you love. You see these golden chances and think, “Yeah, I could write something for that.” You get out your pencil and notebook, word processor, or whatever medium you use to capture the visions the muses have granted you, only to discover one small problem.

keyboard workThere are no visions. You stare at a blank page and realize that you have nothing. There are few things worse to authors than writer’s block. No matter how desperate you are to get something out, ideas will not come. You cannot force yourself to be creative; you have to coax your brain and stoke some mental fires if you want to get anywhere. But how? Well, first of all, counterintuitive as it may seem, you are going to want to step away from your writing for just a little bit. If you keep thinking about it, you are just going to wind up grinding your gears. Once you have put some space between yourself and your work, here are some strategies to help the creative process along:

                #1 Pay Attention to Your Conversations.

Be an active listener in what you say when you talk to your friends, family, co-workers, etc. What stories are you telling them? What topics do you bring up? What words do you use? Chances are, if you are willingly offering the topic for discussion, it is something that comes to you naturally, something you enjoy telling people about. Your brain has already shifted out of park, so take the wheel, drive, and see where it takes you.

                #2 Look into Other Cultures.

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