Mondays with Martin: Content in My Bliss

Let’s keep in mind that this year’s writing camp is only about a month off.  Camp runs from June 20 to 24 and all the details are found here — Summer Camp homepage.

Today’s Mondays with Martin essay is one that focuses on the need to write, journaling, and the discovery of self.  Although this short piece dates back to 1992, the message in timeless.

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By David Martin
By David Martin

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.

I 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.”

I 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.

2015 Camp for Creative Writers Presentation Schedule

2015 camp logo


AlcaJazzDavid Martin – Emma Vinchur (8:30-8:45) – “Let’s Get Organized: How to Take Notes”

Escape from AlcaJazz (8:45-9:45) – “Jazz and Composition”

Writing Reflections (9:45-10:00)

Snacks (10:00-10:15)

Small Groups (10:15-11:30)

Auditorium (11:30-12:00)



julian adiar rsMetaphor” Martin – Emma (8:30-8:45) – “Our Lives Depend on Metaphors”

Julian Adair (8:45-9:45) – dance, music, rhythm, photography

Writing Reflections (9:45-10:00)

Snacks (10:00-10:15)

Small Groups (10:15-11:30)

Auditorium (11:30-12:00)



maria rs“Metaphor” Martin – Emma (8:30-8:45) – “Inspiration and Discipline”

Maria Harding (8:45-9:30) – “Living the Mozart Effect”

Writing Reflections (9:30-10:00)

Snacks (10:00-10:15)

Small Groups (10:15-11:30)

Auditorium Readings (11:30-12:00)



Campbell, Michael-2012  RSMetaphor” Martin – Emma (8:30-8:45) “Writing Goals”

Michael Campbell (8:45-9:45) – “Song Writing: Lyrics and Life”

Writing Reflections (9:45-10:00)

Snacks (10:00-10:15)

Small Groups (10:15-11:30)

Auditorium Readings (11:30-12:00)



LtaBMetaphor” Martin – Emma (8:30-8:45) “Mean what you say. Say what you mean.”

Louder than a Bomb (8:45-9:45) – “Slam Poetry Wonders”

Writing Reflections (9:45-10:00)

Snacks (10:00-10:15)

Small Groups (10:15-11:30)

Auditorium Readings (11:15-12:00)


Register For Camp Today!

Register online, click here.

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? 🙂

Mondays with martinAt Fine Lines – Where Writers Grow!


 – David Martin


Our Thanks for Another Successful Writers Camp

Volunteers teach, move, inspire and work – work – work to make the Fine Lines Camp a success!

Participants engage, inquire, listen and write – write – write, and this makes Fine Lines Camp a success!

Thank you for being a part of camp this year. Share with us your experience. Submit your work!

Stay in touch, we’ll see you next year, and Write On!


3×5 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Letters from Campers

Here are some notes from grateful campers at this year’s writing camp. Thanks for joining us and Write On!

Dear Fine Lines,

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to write. I was very excited to come to a writer’s camp. I enjoyed everyone who was here. Thank you for all your hard work and support. I would also like to thank you for noticing my writing; it means a lot to me. Write on!
Your student,

Dear Fine Lines,

Thank you for accepting me in camp Fine Lines. I would love to come again. It was so nice to be here. Thank you for having Mrs. Wendy Lundeen for a teacher. I have only known her for one week, but that week has been wonderful, especially club I really worked at rhyming, and I love poetry, so I love this website. It’s phenomenal. Write on!

Continue reading “Letters from Campers”

Fine Lines Writing Camp 2012

Fine Lines Summer Camp 2012

This is our thirteenth year sponsoring Fine Lines creative writing summer camps for students of all ages. Join writers who add clarity and passion to their lives with the written word.

We will have fun with sentences, learn to play while developing poems-stories-essays, and discover creative corners of our minds that we did not know existed. Metaphorically, we will take our journal under a “shade tree” and talk together about issues that matter. We will swim around important “buoys” in our educational journeys. We will row a boat to a “lighthouse” that shows us our path through the fog. We will take our minds for a “jog” to the library. We will learn to write more, write faster, and write better. More than anything, though, we will create time to dream about our ideas and celebrate the power and beauty of words.

Where: Beveridge Magnet Middle School

1616 South 120 st, Omaha

When: June 11-15, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Contact the school office if you have questions (402) 557-4000.
Use PayPal (button below) or make checks out to Fine Lines ($150/person). The registration fee includes a notebook, a camp t-shirt, frequent snacks, daily guest speakers, editing help for your writing, and a yearly subscription to the Fine Lines Journal.

Click Here to Download the Flier: 2012CampApp

Click the button below to make a paypal payment! Or download the attached form, fill it out and send it in! Hope to see you there!

Youth Writing Festivals 2012

Youth Writing Festival

The Nebraska Writing Project is sponsoring two youth writing festivals this year. The first is on Saturday, March 3rd at Elkhorn High School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The second is at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on April 28th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Both festivals are open to any student or teacher grades 9-12.

Cost per student is $15 early registration: $20 late registration.  Registration includes a t-shirt, notebook, and pencil  (subject to availability with late registrations).

To register or for more information, including scheduling updates, go to the Youth Festival Homepage.

Youth Writing Festival Brochure