February Newsletter | “Log of the Trail”

Meeting Announcement: Our February meeting will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2018, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Activity Room at the West Texas National Bank in Alpine, TX.

Program: Poetry as Therapy, presented by Josie Mixon

Photo Writing Prompts: NEW! Members’ Photos (See description below)

Refreshments: Jerri Garza

Visitors ALWAYS Welcome!


From the TMTW Steering Committee

Great valentine stories are in our lives, and we’d all like to read them! I know of one TMTW member who met her love in prison! Hope we get to hear the full story. Embellishments will even turn it into a great fiction story she could perhaps publish. Another great story could come from Jerri Garza’s photo of an old letter actually written on Feb. 14, 1944! (See story below.) Use your imagination about what this letter says. This is the month of love. Find a way to write about it! This month’s photo prompts will help.

Clarification needed: I’ve discovered about what dues cover what time period. I’ve had several people contact me to see if their dues are current so they can publish in the Chaos West of the Pecos that will come out in this May. So I think this info would be helpful to all.

Paying your dues now will allow you to be published in the forthcoming Chaos, 2017-18 in May. If you paid last April at the retreat, or since then, you, too, are eligible for this year’s publication.

On April 30th of this year (in 2 months,) everyone’s dues are due again to be eligible for the 2018-19 year of meetings and Chaos publication. Since we are not having a retreat this year, you may pay them at a meeting, or mail a check to Robbie Burns, treasurer, 1503 W. Fort Davis St, Alpine, TX 79830.

Trail Writers, think about love, and Write On!
Reba Cross Seals, Steering Committee of TMTW


Poetry as Therapy

Presented at the West Texas National Bank
by Josie Mixon

During this presentation we will discuss the the effects of writing as medicinal, spiritual and/or healing from emotional trauma, joy, hope or fear. There is no academic structure in the writing of poetry for this presentation. We will work on a couple of assignments during the presentation that will give us a better understanding of how writing works as therapy for the heart, mind and soul. My personal experience in poetry therapy has made me a true believer in the power poetry, art and other creative aspects have on our will to heal from diversity. Writing saved my life. As a survivor of sexual abuse as a child and domestic violence, it was the gateway towards healing. Poetry therapy is recognized as a powerful tool in helping both youth and adults in dealing with trauma. Please come ready to write and hopefully share your story, though sharing is not mandatory. The following link contains information about poetry therapy and how it is nationally recognized. https://poetrytherapy.org/

Visitors Always Welcome!

Photo Writing Prompts NEW! for 2018 – Members’ Photos

TMTW members are invited to participate in choosing the monthly Photo Writing Prompt by submitting good quality, sharp ORIGINAL (YOUR photo – not someone else’s) images in JPG format to Jerri Garza.  Do not send anything from the Internet as we would be subject to heavy fines.

Send two to four images no later than the 10th of each month to Jerri at .  Jerri will then send four selections to Kip for inclusion in the newsletter.  Please give your images a title and have images ready for publication. There is no monetary compensation for TMTW use of members’ images.  Images must be received by the deadline for use in the writing prompts.  It is not required to submit images for writing prompts participation.

The writing guidelines remain at 500 words or fewer, Times New Roman, 12-point font.  If you wish, you may read or have your Opportunity read at the monthly meeting.  You can choose to write about one, several, or all images.  If all images are selected for the Writing Opportunity, then attempt to combine the images into one related assignment.

Use these as they are or use anything they might inspire in you.  You can also choose not to read, but whatever your choice you can always submit it for publication in Chaos.  Black and white versions of members photos may be included in the Chaos if anyone chooses their photo as writing inspiration.  Submitting a photo implies permission to reproduce as TMTW chooses and we will credit the photographer in every instance.  Questions? Email Jerri at .

February’s four photo writing prompts are the images below, should you like to use them.

Submitted by Robbie Burns

Submitted by Marti Stebbins


A Valentine Note

by Jerri Garza

Click on image to view in larger size.

My maternal grandmother, Florence J. Ruthven of Longview, Texas, had written a Valentine’s Day letter to my mother, Elizabeth A. Ruthven.  She has addressed the letter to “Dear Bettina,” her pet name for Elizabeth who was also known as Beth and Betty.  My mother  was studying Biology at Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas, in 1944.  Her sister, Margaret Elaine Ruthven, had baked cookies to take to a Horizon Girl’s Valentine party in Longview.  Her date arrived and they dashed off, forgetting the cookies.  Grandmother Florence relayed the making of fudge to Bettina as “in fudge making, the ebullition of the boiling mixture calls for a low flame and constant stirring.”  At the time of the writing of the letter, my grandmother was employed as a secretary at Harmon General Hospital.  The site today is the main campus of Letourneau University.

This is one letter from a group of letters bound with twine located among my mother’s things in storage.  I have been reorganizing boxes of my parents early correspondence as well as that of my grandmother.  Most are letters from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

It just seemed appropriate to have a Valentine’s Day letter of 1944 associated with a Valentine’s week of 2018, 74 years later.

Catch Our Drift Productions – DEADLINE EXTENDED!

Genre: Non-fiction
Length: 1,000 to 2,000 words
Deadline extended to: April 15, 2017
More info: www.catchourdrift.ca/39-signs-of-hope

Catch Our Drift Productions is producing a compilation of short stories that aims to make a difference in the lives of readers … and writers.

39 Signs of Hope, coming in the fall of 2017, is a collection of stories from writers around the world. Whether facing personal challenges, trying to combat environmental threats or dealing with global unrest, people rely on hope to help them through difficult situations.

“So many writers have compelling stories,” says Sheila Cameron, co-founder of Catch Our Drift Productions. “By sharing those stories, contributing writers will offer comfort to readers seeking a greater sense of hope or purpose in their lives.”

39 Signs of Hope will be published under a hybrid publishing model, wherein the publisher and selected authors will share in both the cost of production and the opportunity to sell books. “Many writers don’t have the experience or means to publish their stories,” says Mark Cameron, also a co-founder. “Similarly, small-scale publishers have limited resources for working with multiple authors and reaching readers. This new model is a win-win plan to fill a gap between independent authors and publishers, who are both working with small budgets.”

Each selected author will make a financial contribution toward production costs in exchange for having their work professionally edited and designed. They will also receive 20 trade paperback copies with an option to buy additional books at a wholesale price. Catch Our Drift Productions will contribute 39% of profit from e-book and print-on-demand sales from 39 Signs of Hope to a registered charity that is voted on by contributing authors.

Catch Our Drift Productions is accepting submissions (1,000 to 2,000 words) until April 15, 2017. There is no fee to submit a story. For more information, visit www.catchourdrift.ca/39-signs-of-hope.

Welsh Poetry Competition 2018

The 12th International Welsh Poetry Competition 2018 is now open and accepting entries!

Judge – Sally Spedding

1st prize – £500
2nd Prize – £250
3rd Prize – £100

plus 17 runners up published on website and future anthology

£5 per poem (£6 PayPal) / 50 lines maximum

Entry forms, rules, past winners, anthologies available from our website

Closing date – 27th May 2018


Chaplain Publishing’s Write Your Life Writing Contest

Hello, fellow writers!

Most of you have been writing for years. This may give you an unfair advantage in the writing contest Chaplain Publishing is hosting, but I want you to enter anyway.

In the last year or so, I have been burdened by the fact that so many of us live far from our families. We aren’t passing down the family stories and wisdom like we did in previous generations. As a result, will our grandchildren and great-grandchildren know anything about us when we pass on?

Your family and friends may not have ever seemed interested in learning about your high school sweethearts or your first job. But someday they are going to wonder. Have you written your life story so they will know who you were and what you thought about live and love and happiness?

If you haven’t, then Chaplain Publishing’s Write Your Life: Legacy Writing Seminar is perfect for you. We are going to spend a weekend together in May learning and brainstorming and writing our life story. You will leave the seminar with an outline for a book about you.

Memoir writing isn’t just for celebrities anymore. You have valuable wisdom and humor and life lessons to share. Don’t pass up this opportunity to get the training and encouragement you need to write your life story.

Now for the unfair advantage.

Our contest winner gets a complimentary spot at Write Your Life: Legacy Writing Seminar 2018.

This includes your seminar registration, materials, and breakfast and lunch for three days.

To enter the contest, write 700 words or less about your favorite childhood memory. Email your submission along with your name, email address, and mailing address to before February 28th, 2018.

The winner will be announced on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/chaplainpublishing on March 9th.

Whether you enter the contest or not, now is a great time to sign up for Write Your Life because you can still get great deals on plane tickets. And if you register before February 20th, you can get the early bird discount.

Please feel free to share with your friends and colleagues about this seminar (and contest). I truly believe everyone has a story to tell.

Christi Brooks

Pen 2 Paper 2018 is open!

February is here, and we are pleased to announce that the 2018 annual Pen 2 Paper (P2P) Writing Competition is open! We’re excited for our 9th year of disability-focused fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and comics—and we hope you are, too!

Here’s the link for more information:

Pen 2 Paper Creative Writing Contest
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
1716 San Antonio St.
Austin, TX 78701

Join or Renew Your TMTW Membership

Membership in the Texas Mountain Trail Writers can help you grow as a writer, whether you write purely for fun or for a living. AND we accept dues payments online at our website! For more information, click here.

Final Note from the Editor:

Have news? 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 .










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