Mondays with Martin: Work Blissfully

This essay from David Martin dates back to 1994.  As always, there is plenty of good advice to be found here.  Enjoy.

* * *

By David Martin
By David Martin

People spend too much time running away from things they should face. We run away from threatening people, embarrassing predicaments, scolding mothers, belligerent fathers, crying sisters, awkward brothers, boring husbands, silent wives, suffocating jobs, stifling homes, uninteresting schools, and tough homework. However, more people run away from themselves than from anyone or anything else.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “No thing is at last sacred, but the integrity of our own minds.” If this is the case, most of us have little that is sacred, even less integrity, and we don’t know our own minds. Fear of the unknown and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were a great pair. Remember? “There is nothing we have to fear but fear itself.” I think Emerson would agree with FDR. They suggest if we knew our own minds, there would be nothing to fear after all.

I give myself notice. I accept the challenge. I will say the truth and live accordingly. This process will sting at times, but I vividly remember what it was like to live behind facades. I was afraid of trying new ideas; I did not enjoy each day. I wasted good friends, and I forgot how to live. I want the real me to be on the surface of life, swimming in the sunshine. I hope to be more like the “Sage of Concord” with my feet on the ground and my head in the air. I must make life’s journey by myself. I may only care for other people, but in the final analysis, I only learn what I teach myself.

I do not have to run anymore. I am not competing against anyone in this life, unless it is I trying to achieve the true potential that resides in me. I go at my own pace. I don’t have to be Gandhi or Jesus Christ. I only have to be myself.

I know I am a seeker. I know my drummer beats at a progressively different tune than many hear. I find it hard to pay attention to the rhythm that is in my mind alone. It is hard to leave the herd and dance my own dance.

I was an average student in school. Infrequently, I would reach for an “A” and achieve it, when I felt motivated by the subject matter. I remember one day in twelfth grade, however, when I wanted to learn for the fun of learning. I wanted to absorb all I could about why the mind works the way it does. I also hoped to see the shocked surprise on the faces of all those gifted girls who traveled all the way from kindergarten to high school graduation. Just once, I wanted to show those intelligent girls who always got better grades that I could beat them at their own game. I felt they thought they were much better than I was, and usually, they were. Most often, I didn’t think I could compete with them, so I did not try, but this day was different.

Mrs. Kaiser’s twelfth grade psychology class intrigued me. She was a big woman with a strong, German accent. A quiet and stern lady, she ruled her class with a no-nonsense approach to teaching. When she tried to smile, her lips formed a thin, straight line that barely curved at the corners. She never repeated herself twice, nor did she have to. Everyone listened intently rather than get burned by her piercing stare when a mistake was made. Everyday, the class valedictorian and salutatorian answered all her questions, while the rest of us watched.

One day, this woman and human psychology appeared warm and human. Something clicked inside me during class discussion, and I started answering the questions she did not think to cover or the class all-stars did not mention. She looked at me in an odd way. She leaned her head to the side, and her reading glasses rose slightly, when she stopped talking to the class to look at me directly, coolly, without speaking.

I did nothing wrong. I couldn’t figure out what happened. I dressed well. I sat straight in my seat. I didn’t talk to anyone. I smiled at her. I was alert, and I knew the material. What was wrong? She never said a thing to me the rest of the period but went on with assigning the class a unit test for the following day.

That night, after supper, I puzzled over those looks and the stare Mrs. Kaiser gave me in class for no apparent reason. I felt angry, but I didn’t understand why. What was the matter with her? I did everything correctly, and she still acted upset with me. I wondered if I would ever understand teachers. Probably, she thought I was too slow to be in her special class.

I reread the entire unit that night, which was something I never did. I even read a few extra chapters because they were interesting. I spent all evening preparing for that unit test. I went to bed early, so I would have plenty of rest to tackle her intimidation the next morning. I ate a good breakfast, which I knew would give me enough endurance to persevere through her class.

When I took the test, I was calm. I answered the last question before anyone else did. I looked around the room and was surprised how much time was left in the class period. The other students were still struggling with the last few questions. I forced myself not to turn in my paper first. I stayed in my seat and reviewed every question one more time. I took the full period and turned in the paper two minutes before the bell rang. On purpose, I was the last person to lay my test on Mrs. Kaiser’s desk. As she took the test, I looked her in the eyes and smiled. She noticed that. Her eyes met mine, and I grew more confident because I could see her puzzlement.

She asked, “Is there anything wrong, David?”

“No, Mrs. Kaiser. I thought this was a most interesting group of chapters we studied in the last few weeks. I wish the entire book and this class could be so informative about why humans do what they do.” She stared at me without saying anything.

The day following the test Mrs. Kaiser passed out the graded exams. She returned my paper last and mentioned that I received the highest grade of all. Without raising her voice, she looked at me and said, “I never thought anyone would score this highly on my difficult test. Certainly, I never thought it would be you, David. Well! Well!”

I thought she smiled. It appeared that she did not know how to handle the situation, so she dropped her eyes, turned her back to me and the class, and we started working on the next unit.

This nearly negative reinforcement did have a positive effect on me. I knew that I made an impression on her. I was interested in the subject and tried to do my best. When I decided to study hard for the exam, I was surprised that the material flowed through my eyes, effortlessly, because my interest pulled the pages through my mind. This was one of the few times in any classroom when I felt completely relaxed. I found myself studying psychology for the simple interest of learning, not to achieve a grade, or to impress the teacher. Unconsciously, I discovered synchronicity.

This surge of energy occurred when I studied the topic simply for my own enjoyment. I now know that I waste my time if I do not find myself absorbed in the message of what I am doing. This is the only way I overcome my fear of failing and achieve my potential. Thanks to Mrs. Kaiser and those students in my class, I now see my potential reflected more completely when I blissfully enjoy my work.

It’s nice to be in the Omaha World-Herald

So being in the Omaha World-Herald is still a BIG deal.  The journal and David Martin were featured on April 25.  The link to the story by Lauren Brown-Hulme (it’s terrific) is right here — Get to Know: English teacher created a ‘safe place to be truly creative’

The article also mentions the upcoming summer camp, too.  Check it all out.  And as David Martin says, “write on.”Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 6.12.16 PM

Mondays with Martin: Dragon Slayers

Editor’s note: This David Martin essay dates back to 1993.  The points made here are still as important ever.  Take a look and think about your own writing.  And there are dragons out there waiting to be slayed.

* * *

By David Martin
By David Martin

It is now 3 a.m. Lightning and thunder pound my head. I am tired and can not sleep.

An awful dragon chased me for 5 ½ hours tonight. Our battle sounded like the thunder and looked like the lightning of my dreams. I heard my sword crash against the fire breathing monster’s neck, and I awoke to hear real monsters clash with Zeus’ bolts of fire in the sky.

The monster of my dreams aroused the emotional “donder and blitzen” that took place yesterday at our monthly Dragon Slayer’s meeting. Those flashes of insight and the sound of truth now stir in me to write once again.

Outside, Mother Nature’s rain falls softly. The natural thunder and lightning keep calling my attention to life’s rebirth, baptismal cleansing, and regeneration. It’s never too late to start over.

Our discussion went from patience to parking lots, nuclear holocaust to Nikki Giovanni, a search for passion to paternalism, native desires to Nietzsche, individual courage to Camus, a creative swim to Schopenhauer, and a quest for real education to erudition. My mind became tired and excited as a result of our four-hour sharing. I feel there is much electricity in this group of writers. It is no wonder that Donder and Blitzen are now more to me than just two of Santa’s reindeer.

If Giovanni said there are no conversations, just intersecting monologues, what would she say about Sunday afternoon? Our sharing and discussion prove that good exposition and feedback occur when writers commit to their tasks.

No one really knows the mind and soul of another. Friend, husband, wife, child, do we really know who other people are? Probably not, but yesterday’s attempt was a huge beginning. Let the flow of written words never stop, as we follow our quest to write ourselves into our destiny.

“I can feel again . . . there but for the grace . . . it is the moments I like . . . memories last longer than experiences . . . suffer in order to create . . . passion and pride. . . courage to be . . . over the edge . . . eye of the tiger . . . it is a question of vision . . . a search for truth . . . be the rebel . . . personal battlegrounds . . . celebrate our 26 letters . . . a struggle to be authentic . . . .”

These glimpses of everyone’s participation are sparks for much contemplation and great composition. Don’t be satisfied to talk about them. Write them down. Develop them before they vanish. We must challenge our dragons before they disappear.

I try not to worry about the past. What is done is done. Just let me learn from my mistakes and move on. I pray I don’t repeat the same errors. I hope to move to a higher ground. Then, if I make more mistakes, at least, they will be new ones.

I use to spend so much time worrying about the “boo-boos” I made, people I hurt, and opportunities I lost, that I only made myself depressed. When I learned that my unhappiness was only sublimated anger at myself, I decided I was not progressing by hurting myself, so I stopped it. I am only human. Yes, I made mistakes. I will make more, I am sure, but I don’t want to dwell on them. I choose to think of the future, to emphasize that aspect of my life, to accentuate the positive things I can influence. The little things I know will be affected by my attention.

Living is endless “being,” a continuous growth. There is no finish line; just life in a marathon and small victories tacked onto each other. An ending is a new beginning. I try to keep my eyes on the road and relax behind the wheel. Instead of going around and around in circles repeating the same mistakes of the past, if I can slowly, continuously, move to a higher level, my circles will become spirals. That is enough for me.

The only responsibility a river has is to flow to the sea. I don’t have to be anything else but the river I was created to be. My mission is to simply live what I am. If I am the Missouri, I don’t have to be the Amazon. If I don’t do what the Missouri is supposed to do, that is my only mistake.

Rivers don’t go upstream. I don’t have to push the current. The current will flow by itself. The river’s job is simply to be patient, take the curves and bends as they come, and ride, ride, ride to the sea.

The Greeks said happiness was attaining perfect balance and moderation in all things. When I am not happy, I find that parts of my life are more emphasized than others. Often, I notice my unhappiness comes about when I am thinking only of myself. When I want something so badly that I crave nothing else, when I am obsessed by possessing something, when I am greedy, then my displeasure with life is at its highest point.

When I quit worrying about the getting, when I begin thinking about the giving, my happiness returns. When I am aware of serving others or something larger than myself, when I volunteer my time, when I let good things pass through me to someone else, my happiness returns. It is not the taking that is important; it is the touching. It is not the getting that counts; it is the giving.

If someone asked me, “What are the Dragon Slayers all about?” I would say they are about all of the above and more. Individuals have their own personal dragons to overcome, and according to Joseph Campbell, we may have more than one. The dragons can be many things: possessions, fears, ideas, jobs, school, teachers, wives, husbands, children, and egos. The monsters are concerns in life that prevent us from being ourselves and pursuing those things that let us become happy.

Campbell used the idea of following one’s bliss to find rapture and defeat one’s dragons. The barriers in our lives block our pathways and prevent us from going down the yellow-brick-road to Oz where we will surely be able to find ourselves a brain, a heart, and the courage we need to be successful.

Dragon Slayers travel the road of life searching for its truth through writing. Once the truth, as we see it, is found, the next step requires action. Knowledge is the knowing, but wisdom is knowledge in motion. We want to do more than just find the dragons. Going past those monsters to a better emotional and physical world creates the thunder and lightning that I hear. Let’s confront those dragons. Let’s keep our faith! Let’s write on!

Keep the Faith

David
By David Martin

The more I write in my journal, the more I learn about the world and myself. The more I share my writing with my classes, the more open I become to my students, the more open they become to me, and the better all of our writing becomes. 

Often, I hear students refer to their feelings of isolation from family, friends, and other students. I sense they are stranded on a metaphorical, desert island waiting for a passing steamer to rescue them. Sitting alone under a palm tree, sunburned, and tired of eating coconuts, their lives are blocked. Writing in a journal – one that takes on a personality of its own, one that becomes an extension of the author, one that holds the truth like notes placed in a bottle thrown into the Gulf Stream as a means of salvation – will help create that puff of smoke on the distant horizon indicating help is on the way. 

Many times, students need to see themselves unique individuals. Being different is the price we pay for being better. Following the herd creates a boring sameness, a death-like monotony, and keeps us from achieving our potential. Writing in a journal reflects back to us how truly original we are.

John Hancock Field said, “All worthwhile people have good thoughts, good ideas, and good inventions, but precious few of them ever translate those into actions.”

Wait no more. Writing in a journal encourages me to translate my ideas into actions. If I can write about my ideas, I can see them as real possibilities. If I can capture them in a journal, I refer to them later when I act on them. 

Many students dwell on their negative life experiences, and most of us go through periods like this, sometimes. When I have no one to listen to me, my journal becomes my best friend, my voice in the night, the big brother or sister I never had, my guiding light. Often, simply writing my feeling onto a blank page helps me get through the darkness.

The seventh century Chinese Philosopher, Hui-neng said, “The meaning of life is to see.”

Looking at something is not the same as seeing it. In our complicated world, we have so much to look at, but we see so little. Looking at things demeans life. Seeing things, clearly, gives life meaning.

Writing in a journal forces me to see things, not look at them. I can’t count how many students have told me that by simply writing devotedly in their journals they found a meaning in their life they didn’t know existed.

One of the wisest men I know told me that everyone searches for the meaning to life. He said the answer is not to be found but created. If there is no particular purpose, we must develop one. Following our own unique destiny is challenging for all and frightening for many. We can’t hide in the herd any longer, when following our individual path. Keep the faith. Write on.

Writing a Window

I love windows.

window3

I love their beauty, their simplicity, and their view. They provide protection from the cold. Their light pierces the dark. They give hope to the confined. Windows symbolize so many things to me, and they help make me whole. How I remember these windows is how I remember my past. How I feel about these windows is how I feel about my future.

 

For many, life is a bleak, passionless existence. I see lives of boredom all around me. Barriers of all kinds, real and imagined, keep people from participating in active, productive lives. Blank stares, uncreative minds, and empty hearts reflect this lack of direction and purpose.

 

Windows are miracles of glass, silica and heat.

They protect us and provide decoration in our world. They allow us to dream in safety. A window is frames what we see and limits our vision. They outline our view of the world.

 

Windows show character and variety as an individual’s personality does. Windows come in many shapes and sizes. Their diversity reflects their uniqueness. A simple, four-pained window symbolizes a simple life. Beveled glass window allow the sun to reflect through prisms creating rainbows on the floor and walls. Elements from nature produce visual kaleidoscopes.

Stained Glass Windows 

Stained-glass windows do not allow people inside a room to look outside, but they let the sunlight teach stories by reflecting images from the glass. These beautiful spectacles of art, nature, and philosophy provide inspiration hundreds of years after their construction.

 

A room with windows is a room that breathes. Windows become metaphors for transmitting images of hope, vision, and energy. They allow us to examine all aspects of our lives by focusing our attention on specific developments.

 

When windows are cloudy, dirty, or clear, they imitate confused people, unpolished individuals, or those with nothing to hide. Shaded windows prevent others from viewing inside, and people in the same way shade themselves by remaining closed to others, inhibited, and not seeing the light.

 

Where windows are placed in a building affects their appearance. Windows placed on the north side of a home receive less punishment from Mother Nature in this region. Southern windows are tortured by the sun’s rays and the strong winds from the southwest. While the north windows remain smooth and clear, the sun’s radiation on the south side forces the glass to expand and damages them.

 

Mirrors are windows coated on one side. They reflect backward what they see. Certain people are like mirrors. They reflect backward and use none of their energy to perceive the visions in front of them.

Metaphors 

If windows are metaphors for our lives, they come in all shapes and sizes: tall ones, skinny ones, short ones, some stronger than others, ones easily broken, old ones, and new ones with many different levels of tolerance.

 

Like the masks we wear during the day to conceal our feelings, window shades allow different amounts of sunlight to enter our rooms. When we are depressed, we pull down our shades. When we feel happy, our shades let in more sun.

 

If the eyes are the windows of the soul, a person’s view can be influenced by the thoughts and feelings allowed to penetrate those windows. A glass of waster may be either half full or half empty depending on a person’s point of view. Positive windows may simply be clean ones. Negative windows reflect life’s dirty smudges.

 

Windows hold anything a person’s mind imagines. “If dreams were for sale, what would you buy today?” Unlimited possibilities present themselves to some; others whose creativity is poverty-stricken limit themselves to the common. Windows for some only hold items of the past; some see only the present; a selected few reach into the future. Seeing from inside one’s heart and outward into the world is how some use their windows.

 

write worldWriting is a window for many. It allows people to see what they feel after writing words on paper that best illustrate their specific emotions.

 

“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion” (Friedrich Hegel, German philosopher, 1770-1831). A wonderful quotation like this one becomes a window of wisdom that travels the ages. What a wonderful window we look through when we learn to read.

 

In an Eskimo language, the word “to make poetry” is the word “breathe.” Poetry is one of the windows important to me, and poetry allows me to breathe fresh air and see farther into my world.

 

Like pages of glimpsed clarity, a panoply of window panes, they make me aware of sunshine, the clouds, and the unlimited possibilities available in life. In my home, I built a sunroom and am surrounded by windows. I see the birds in the sky, the stars at night, and a rainbow of colors during each day.

 

Each window fine tunes my day. Each pane of glass adds increased focus to my life. An occasional cracked glass or a little dirt in the corners affects the vision I achieve out of each respective one. Each window becomes a frame of mind, a frame of hope, a window of my dreams.

 

Handshakes, books, connecting the “1,000 points of light,” five fingers turned into a fist, nets made from single strand are all windows of meaning. These images provide different cultural lenses, blazing insights through which we teach ourselves from our own life experiences. These windows of perception show the way to the other side.

 

As dogs are said to resemble their masters in looks and temperament, windows in homes reflect the personalities of the owners. A window’s appearance shows the owner’s concern, attitude, and imagination. Owner’s who take the time to keep their windows clean enhance their ability to see clearly more of the world around them.

 

One of the largest windows of my life is my work. Out of the day’s chaos, this window brings order. In an educational forest, I build a path. Confronted daily with despair, I create purpose. Surrounded by youth, I search for maturity. Enveloped by barriers, I imagine transcendence. Given yarn, I knit a sweater. Given colors, I draw a picture. To escape a death of spirit, I breathe a new beginning. Trapped by four ordinary walls, I build a picture window. As I continue to grow, the view from these windows becomes more focused.

– David Martin

A Writer’s Prayer

Vanishing Point by Oliver Hellowell
Vanishing Point by Oliver Hellowell

Great Spirit!

You give me a reason for being,

a sense of mission in this life.

I see small accomplishments and realize

there is a purpose behind them.

My creativity is a gift from You.

I recognize these blessings

more and more each day.

I know I am on the right path.

Continue to guide me.

Give me more strength,

so I can reach my distant goals.

I search for peace in my writing.

I ask for others to find happiness there.

I know You will guide those who listen.

I look to my writing in hopes of seeing visions,

those windows You open for me.

I ask for wisdom.

Touch my shoulder and guide me.

I pray to hear Your voice in the silence of the night,

in the noise of confusion,

and with the terror of the blank page.

– David Martin

Dragon Slayers

Our battle quote
Photography by Timothy Wright of Omaha
Photography by Timothy Wright of Omaha

It is now 3 a.m. Lightning and thunder pound my head. I am tired and can not sleep.

An awful dragon chased me 

Our battle sounded like the thunder and looked like the lightning of my dreams. I heard my sword crash against the fire breathing monster’s neck, and I awoke to hear real monsters clash with Zeus’ bolts of fire in the sky.

The monster of my dreams aroused the emotional “donder and blitzen” that took place yesterday at our monthly Dragon Slayer’s meeting. Those flashes of insight and the sound of truth now stir in me to write once again.

Outside, Mother Nature’s rain falls softly. The natural thunder and lightning keep calling my attention to life’s rebirth, baptismal cleansing, and regeneration.

Dragon

 

It’s never too late to start over.

Our discussion went from patience to parking lots, nuclear holocaust to Nikki Giovanni, a search for passion to paternalism, native desires to Nietzsche, individual courage to Camus, a creative swim to Schopenhauer, and a quest for real education to erudition. My mind became tired and excited as a result of our four-hour sharing. I feel there is much electricity in this group of writers. It is no wonder that Donder and Blitzen are now more to me than just two of Santa’s reindeer.

If Giovanni said there are no conversations, just intersecting monologues, what would she say about Sunday afternoon? Our sharing and discussion prove that good exposition and feedback occur when writers commit to their tasks.

No one really knows the mind and soul of another. Friend, husband, wife, child, do we really know who other people are? Probably not, but yesterday’s attempt was a huge beginning. Let the flow of written words never stop, as we follow our quest to write ourselves into our destiny.

“I can feel again . . . there but for the grace . . . it is the moments I like . . . memories last longer than experiences . . . suffer in order to create . . . passion and pride. . . courage to be . . . over the edge . . . eye of the tiger . . . it is a question of vision . . . a search for truth . . . be the rebel . . . personal battlegrounds . . . celebrate our 26 letters . . . a struggle to be authentic . . . .”

These glimpses of everyone’s participation are sparks for much contemplation and great composition. Don’t be satisfied to talk about them. Write them down. Develop them before they vanish. We must challenge our dragons before they disappear.

I try not to worry about the past.

What is done is done. Just let me learn from my mistakes and move on. I pray I don’t repeat the same errors. I hope to move to a higher ground. Then, if I make more mistakes, at least, they will be new ones.

I use to spend so much time worrying about the “boo-boos” I made, people I hurt, and opportunities I lost, that I only made myself depressed. When I learned that my unhappiness was only sublimated anger at myself, I decided I was not progressing by hurting myself, so I stopped it. I am only human. Yes, I made mistakes. I will make more, I am sure, but I don’t want to dwell on them. I choose to think of the future, to emphasize that aspect of my life, to accentuate the positive things I can influence. The little things I know will be affected by my attention.

Living is endless “being,” a continuous growth. There is no finish line; just life in a marathon and small victories tacked onto each other. An ending is a new beginning. I try to keep my eyes on the road and relax behind the wheel. Instead of going around and around in circles repeating the same mistakes of the past, if I can slowly, continuously, move to a higher level, my circles will become spirals. That is enough for me.

The only responsibility a river has is to flow to the sea. I don’t have to be anything else but the river I was created to be. My mission is to simply live what I am. If I am the Missouri, I don’t have to be the Amazon. If I don’t do what the Missouri is supposed to do, that is my only mistake.

Rivers don’t go upstream. I don’t have to push the current. The current will flow by itself. The river’s job is simply to be patient, take the curves and bends as they come, and ride, ride, ride to the sea.

The Greeks said happiness was attaining perfect balance and moderation in all things. When I am not happy, I find that parts of my life are more emphasized than others. Often, I notice my unhappiness comes about when I am thinking only of myself. When I want something so badly that I crave nothing else, when I am obsessed by possessing something, when I am greedy, then my displeasure with life is at its highest point.

When I quit worrying about the getting, when I begin thinking about the giving, my happiness returns. When I am aware of serving others or something larger than myself, when I volunteer my time, when I let good things pass through me to someone else, my happiness returns. It is not the taking that is important; it is the touching. It is not the getting that counts; it is the giving.

If someone asked me, “What are the Dragon Slayers all about?”

I would say they are about all of the above and more. Individuals have their own personal dragons to overcome, and according to Joseph Campbell, we may have more than one. The dragons can be many things: possessions, fears, ideas, jobs, school, teachers, wives, husbands, children, and egos. The monsters are concerns in life that prevent us from being ourselves and pursuing those things that let us become happy.

Campbell used the idea of following one’s bliss to find rapture and defeat one’s dragons. The barriers in our lives block our pathways and prevent us from going down the yellow-brick-road to Oz where we will surely be able to find ourselves a brain, a heart, and the courage we need to be successful.

Dragon Slayers travel the road of life searching for its truth through writing. Once the truth, as we see it, is found, the next step requires action. Knowledge is the knowing, but wisdom is knowledge in motion. We want to do more than just find the dragons. Going past those monsters to a better emotional and physical world creates the thunder and lightning that I hear. Let’s confront those dragons. Let’s keep our faith! Let’s write on!

– David Martin

Content in My Bliss

Someone once said they read books to discover the souls of others. I write to discover my own.

I want to discover who I am. Few things in life teach me who I am more than writing in my journal does. This desire for self-knowledge inspires me to write almost every day.

papers andI seldom lack inspiration to write, but I often lose my focus. I spend too much time doing many things other than writing. Earning money, pursuing life’s pleasures, and trying to please others causes me to get lost in the fog of daily existence. I get tired making a living in a stressful environment. I feel waves of people, emotions, and work wash over me and knock me off my feet.

I search for my footing in my journal. I look for meaningful reflections in my sentences and metaphors, and my journal becomes a symbol revealing my true self.

I want to be good at a few things in life. Conveying accurate images through my choice of words is one of them. I want to use my gifts well.

 Simple things in life inspire me to write. My heart lifts when I see a male cardinal in a bare tree above the mounds of white snow. My soul warms when I see a strong, male hand hold a tiny child’s little fingers. Fathers teaching sons and daughters the sacrifices needed to reach maturity turn my pages. Lovers look into each other’s eyes and inspire me to paint the scene with words. Close friends sitting together, silently drinking coffee, as they watch moisture form on a window while the cold, Nebraska wind howls outside makes me warm to the possibilities.

I am urged to write when I feel friendly eyes locate me in a crowded room; when loved ones bare their souls to me; when a student comes to class with the attitude, “I am ready to learn today, and you can teach me.”

write worldI write eating gumbo, listening to Cajun music. I look for pen and paper when I hear the carol, “Silent Night,” pierce the air on Christmas Eve. I sit down under a tree to record my emotions when my daughter chooses on her own to take the training wheels off and ride her bicycle solo for the first time. Ray Charles’ “Georgia,” Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” and the children’s story, “The Little Engine That Could” all speak to me in the same way. I can not pass up these opportunities.

When my work captivates me, when I hear, “Daddy, I love you!” when I see outstretched hands reaching for a baby’s face, when I feel soft fingers on my shoulder, when I hear the words, “Everything will be all right, now. I am here with you!” I feel fortunate if I can put half of what I feel onto paper.

 When I remember my writing passions, I stay on the path meant for me. These times inspire me to write. I am content in my bliss.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://finelines.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/David.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]David Martin is the founder of Fine Lines community. Also he is a writing professor, the Fine Lines Camp director, and head editor of the journal.[/author_info] [/author]