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by Albert Chapin, West Roxbury, Mass.


We had written at some length on a theme for this editorial when along came the classy Christmas number of Conleur de Rose with “Timely Topics” by E. A. Edkins, something of paramount importance to all and should be thoroughly discussed from all angles to get the ideas of our entire outfit, hence, we tossed our article aside. We agree with Mr. Edkins and we can suggest no better way of correcting the evils that beset us than as he suggests.

To ignore the crude works of those who will not or cannot brace up and show some inclination to climb above their little world is censure enough, putting it squarely up to them to “step on it” if they would gain recognition.

There are those too, who are scholarly students of literature, hibernating the year round who will either show their product or suffer the consequences when the year’s check up is made of the entire year’s literary activities in all its phases.

In the event Mr. Edkin’s plan is adopted we would add one more “Merit” to the present number of awards since the new method of checking a year’s output will be fair to everybody, then if anyone has a kick coming it will be because he failed to show his “goods.” If the gentlemen named, Messrs. Spencer, Morton, Cole, and Moe were unable to handle the amount of work involved or any similar group of four critics, there are other well informed members who might be prevailed upon to strengthen their numbers.

Effective Brevity
by William Haywood

The publisher of The Minstrel has requested me to write something of “a helpful, corrective nature” for his journal. I realize immediately the inadequacy of the writer.

But since I have been in the amateur publishing hobby five years, I may have learned something that will aid the tyro. I will attempt to be of assistance to him, with the hope that it will make our hobby more adventurous.

Small journals are not criticized on account of their size. It is, rather, the lack of worthwhile content. There is absolutely no reason why a miniature magazine cannot be fully as good as a giant journal. It all depends upon the material provided by the publisher.

Small paper publishers should realize their handicap at the start. They have to tell as much as the big paper in a smaller space. Therefore, every manuscript should be read with a blue pencil in hand. Any unnecessary word should be extinguished, every repetition stifled, all sentences not pertinent executed. Ruthless editing will bring to light a short article or story that is brief, right to the point, and impressive. If well-written to begin with, it should be aided by good editing. If not, this method will soon show up the shabby writer. If you cannot cut anything out of a story, get someone else to try it, too. The more editors who cut your writing to the bone, the better.

The same applies to writers. When you start in, write as much as you want to, as much as you can think of. Then sit down and be your own editor. Anything you don’t like, out with it. If the same word is used too often, either replace or eliminate it. Try for unusual sentences, good word pictures, and short cuts instead of long explanations. And when you get through, you’ll find that your brevity is far more effective than long-windedness on the same topic.

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Mrs. F. D. R.

In a recent published address our First Lady declared, “The youth of today are more frank and no less moral than the youth of other generations. They want three things above all others, a job, marriage and a family, and a good time,” which seems to be what all civilization has wanted for many moons. Most of the older generation had practically no luxuries compared with those of today and many were unable to support families until well along in life. As one looks back over the years it gets worse.

Modern youth balks at apprenticeship; the word is not in their vocabulary, and we wish to Heavens the words “definitely” and “contact” were unknown.

No form of building starts at the top, careers or other things. Youth has a mistaken idea that the world is unfair to them. Concerning the various subjects on which she spoke, our distinguished first lady grants that everyone is entitled to his own opinion, which is comforting since that is an assurance that Washington does not contemplate taxing free thought.

Is it not frankness for oldsters to call youngsters “nincompoops” and various other names? In this era youth is no more frank than age. The correct words better fitting the occasion are “shocking” and “vulgarity.”

Morals are reflected in women’s dress and conduct, the sex to whom man has looked for all that is pure and noble. Then too, see our news stands, magazine items and pictures, themes on which no one needs jacking up. A child of tender years, able to read, needs only to do so to learn that many of his innocent beliefs do not exist.

Bunker Hill
by Albert Chapin

They sounded horns for men afield in boroughs
A signal blast to leave their peaceful toil.
Their plows and harvest tools were left in furrows;
An instant call to arms from virgin soil.
They fled from homes until the day was dying
And evening sky had donned her silvered dress;
No martial airs, no silken colors flying;
No gatherings to pray their arms success;
But when the light of dawn broke on the morrow
Fresh mounds of earth revealed defenses made,
Men fit and ready for the day’s grim sorrow
Were resting calloused hands on friendly spade.
The motors now purr cold metallic greeting,
Dull echoes of some wounded warrior’s moan
Atop the slope where minute-men were meeting
To fashion us the hill we call our own.

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Vote – New York – 1940

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