April Newsletter :: “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our April meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 21, 2009, in the Fiesta Room at the Hallmark Apartments in Alpine from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.

Refreshments will be provided by Phyllis Musgrove. Jackie Siglin provided the writing assignment (see below).

From the Atelier of our President:

Whoever says there’s nothing to do out here must not really be here.  I remember thinking that when I first moved here, but it was because I didn’t know anybody.   When I finally got tucked into a friends fold, I got so active I didn’t have time to think that anymore.  I moved here from a big city and of course that kind of busy was detrimental.  Lots of built-in tension goes with maneuvering from home to job to home when living in a crowded metroplex.

Now I live five minutes from work.  It’s an 80 mile drive to more land to explore than I can do in a lifetime.    Daily I run into friends or acquaintances in town and share uplifting exchanges.  I’m a person.

And, I’m involved with things I care about.  Our writer’s group is one of those things.  We are about to launch once more into our yearly writer’s retreat and I thank all of you for all the good work you’ve done and will do.  Once again we’ve had great leadership from Reba Cross Seals.  We will hold our regular meeting April 21 at Hallmark Apartments in Alpine.  During that time we’ll learn what else needs to be done for the retreat.  And, we’ll choose a date for our May potluck dinner at the home of Edy Elfring.

I hope to see you there.


April Meeting Writing Assignment from Jackie Siglin

Do a little pre-thinking about your mystery before you come to the meeting.

  1. Decide where the body is.
  2. Decide who was killed and why
  3. Decide who did the killing
  4. Decide who will be the person who solves the mystery.
  5. If you are not into killing, you can substitute a crime – like a robbery or have something go missing – like a treasure.

Bring your ideas to our April meeting. I’ll talk about writing a mystery a little bit, then we’ll have time for everyone to start writing their mystery short story.

Open Call for TMTW Scrapbook Items

Aleta Belcher, the TMTW historian, is asking for “any type of scrapbook-type stuff from our loyal, long-time members. or new ones, some of our featured guests: news clips of our events, meeting notes of something significant; programs of the conference, pix taken of our group (during parties, the conference, or anything important to the club), short comments or ‘blog’ type info on members’ successes, especially related to a photo or news story of importance to the club.

I would also like to see memorabilia of a print format that might help jog our memories of past events, highlight special moments, etc.

If someone would like to suggest a decor theme for the collection, color scheme, or anything as far as design or layout, I am open for suggestions. We also need a title for the scrapbook–my opinion is the title should be catchy and reflect the purpose of the club.

We could highlight members’ contributions in one section, with short excerpts of their published works, if folks like that idea.

What I would like to showcase during our conference is the rich heritage of our group, how it began and how it is growing. I believe TMTW is helping to put an important cultural stamp on the Region and I would like to showcase that in our scrapbook.

Anything that might hold intellectual property rights for the creator belongs in the Chaos. Items submitted to this scrapbook effort should be something with no ‘rights” attached and be useful in telling our story. In other words, don’t submit anything for the scrapbook that represents your creative work, unless you are willing to release your rights for its use to the club. Submit things of general interest that would inform the members or other interested parties of important historical happenings. This venue should reflect the history of the club.

When showcasing an individual members’ success, we should consider that our club has a tacit (widely-held and implicit) tradition of steering clear of sordid, voyeuristic, (controversial) issues, grandstanding, and/or “preaching”. Items submitted should be in good taste and represent the best of our collective intelligence and talent. (If there is a problematic submission, the club could review the submission before including it, to see if it is appropriate for this venue.) This should not be interpreted as to limit anyone’s artistic license, but to insure submissions serve the best interests of our club and represent the intended image and focus of our group’s fantastic history.

I welcome comments and suggestions. (complaints will be trashed… “just kidding!”)”

You can email Aleta at if you have questions or submissions.

Braggin’ Rights

  • Alanna Boutin, freelance editor, is excited to announce her new website: http://youreditress.com
  • Donna Greene won first place in the Jeff Davis County Library Adult Essay Contest. The theme was: Worlds Near and Far; Worlds Past and Present; Worlds of the Imagination; and Worlds of Biography, Science, and History All Connect Through Reading. I’ve attached the essay I wrote for the competition. Download her essay here.

Trail Bits

Demystifying Writers’ Demons©
One by One

Lie / lay misuse

Confusion between these different verbs occurs because they use the same or similar words in different tenses. Getting the principle parts straight should help.

  • To lie (an intransitive verb) means “to recline” and takes no object. PRINCIPLE  PARTS: lie, lay, lain – “Now I lie down.” “Yesterday I lay down.” “I have lain down many times.” (To lie can also mean “to tell a falsehood.”) (lie, lied, lied)
  • To lay (a transitive verb) means “to place” and does take an object. PRINCIPLE PARTS: lay, laid, laid – “Now I lay the baby in her crib.” “Yesterday I laid the baby in her crib.” “I have laid the baby in her crib every time she went to sleep.” “Hens lay eggs now.” “Yesterday they laid eggs.” “They have laid eggs every day.”

Memory tip: If you say, “I lied on the floor,” you’re admitting to fibbing. If you say, “I laid on the floor,” can we assume you intend to hatch something?

Do demons bedevil your writing? Similar, confusing words? Grammar, punctuation, or capitalization rules? “The Demystifier” will clear up the mystery (primary reference unless otherwise noted: Garner, Bryan A. Dictionary of Modern American Usage. N.Y.: Oxford University Press). Address questions and comments to freelance editor, Joan Upton Hall at: . More problems like the one above are demystified in the booklet, 50 Writers’ Tips. Find a few of them at http://www.joanuptonhall.com/books.htm.

Minutes from the TMTW March meeting: Download here

Final Note from the Editor:

Remember, this is YOUR newsletter! Toot your horn, clang your bell, raise your roof! Tell us your news and stories – or writing news in general, such as publications you would recommend, contests, book events, etc. Send your Braggin’ Rights and Trail Bits to .

Kip Piper