September Newsletter Writers/Readers Quick Snack: Caramel Chex

Writers/Readers Quick Snack—Emily Walter


Caramel Chex

1 box rice chex ~ 1 stick butter ~ 1/4 c. light corn syrup ~ 1 cup brown sugar

Melt butter over low heat then add brown sugar, then heat on high until bubbly. Pour cereal into a paper bag and then pour syrup over cereal. Fold bag, shake, and microwave for 30 seconds 5 times, shaking after each time. Pour mixture onto wax paper and spread to cool. Enjoy! Yum!


September Newsletter: I Love Books

I Love Books by Sarah Shuttleworth

I love books. A good book can transport you to another place and make you feel powerful emotions. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting with my mother while she read to me. I’m currently re-reading through my favorite series, Harry Potter. While reading, I came across a sentence that got me to thinking. “That’s what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.” With a love of books started at an early age, I learned to love libraries and the magic they seemed to hold. Once I was old enough to walk to the public library by myself I could be found there often during the summer. That is until I had a few run-ins with the new librarian. She didn’t care for kids and over time the library became disorganized. I didn’t feel welcome there and had trouble finding what I was looking for. I stopped going to the public library.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself living in a new town. My new husband suggested I go check out the Fort Stockton Public Library. I had some reservations at first due to those previous experiences. I was so surprised when I walked in the front doors that first time. This library was at least double, if not triple the size of my previous town’s library. The staff was friendly, welcoming, and helped me get a new library card. In the 10 years since I’ve lived here in Fort Stockton the library has grown quite special to me again.

We are truly blessed by what we have here in our little town. Our library is more than just books, though there are plenty to choose from. Even if you can’t find the book you are looking for a staff member can get it for you through the interlibrary loan program. I have found many wonderful books by roaming the numerous aisles and spotting a random book that peaked my interest. I’ve checked out audiobooks to listen to on long road trips.

Now that I have two children of my own I am passing the love of reading on to them as well. They both love to go to the library to check out books. They enjoy playing educational games on the children’s computers that are available as well. My children have enjoyed numerous story times. They have participated in the wonderful summer reading program every year and enjoy the crafts, shows, and learning opportunities. My oldest son is able to take piano lessons with Mrs. Day and he loves them.

We’ve seen world class musicians play and sing during intimate concerts at the library. I myself am vice president of the Critique Cafe, a writing and critique group that meets at the library on first and third Monday’s. I’ve been to author workshops and book signings.

There are computers available for the public to use which has come in handy when I was without internet. For a small fee you can print pages or make copies. Library Director, Mrs. Valdez, has notarized things for me.

All of these programs and opportunities are free and provided to the public. Our library is a special place in our community. You might find something entertaining to do one evening and while you’re there you can pick up a new book to read or maybe pick up an old favorite.


September Newsletter Poetry Corner: To My Guardian Angel

To My Guardian Angel by Frances Armstrong

When my life was shrouded in darkness you brought me light.

When my mood was black you brightened it.

When I was lost you showed me the way back.

For this I have to thank you, my Guardian Angel.

You showed me that no matter what happens, there is still love to be found.

You took my broken spirit and you cared for it, showing me that not all was lost.

You made me believe in myself, when all hope was gone.

Thank you for being there and supporting me when I needed it the most.

And most of all, thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving one as dark as me, and showing me there is still hope.

Guardian Angels were said to be nonexistent, but that is wrong.

I have proof right now that a Guardian Angel walks among us, and that is you.

You who always gives me and others a hand when we need it most.

You that puts others before yourself.

You are a treasure in itself and no one should ever challenge that.

You are my Guardian Angel now and forever.

A look at famous authors

September Newsletter Look at a famous author: James Michener

James Michener—by Glenda Bonham


James Michener was one of the most prolific authors of the 20th century publishing over 40 novels in his lifetime. Most of his works were fictional, lengthy family sagas covering the lives of generations in particular geographic locales and in- corporating solid history. He was known for his meticulous historical research behind his books.

His first novel was “Tales of the South Pacific” for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948. His first book was adapted as the Broadway musical “South Pacific” by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and later as a feature film in 1958.

He went on to publish 26 other novels, all adapted to television mini-series or feature length movies such as “Centennial” starring Robert Conrad, a twelve-part mini-series about the lands and peoples of the Rocky Mountains. He also penned “The Drifters” that became a feature film and “Hawaii” written the same year the state was annexed. One of his most lengthy and successful novels was “Texas” with real and fictional characters spanning hundreds of years, such as explorers, Spanish colonists, American immigrants, German Texan settlers, ranchers, oil men, aristocrats, Mexican businessmen, and others, all based on extensive historical research. At 1,076 pages, it was the longest Michener novel published by Random House. Given the success of his previous novels, the company did a first printing of 750,000 copies, the largest in the company’s history. The novel was adapted in 1994 as a made-for-TV movie.

Michener became a ma- jor philanthropist, donating more than $100 million to educational, cultural, and writing institutions. He donated more than $37 million to University of Texas at Austin. By 1992, his gifts made him UT Austin’s largest single donor to that time.

He could have lived out his retirement years at any location, but chose Austin, Texas as his last home. He passed away in 1997 at the age of 90 and his remains rest in Austin.

Member Spotlight

September Newsletter Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Richard McGee

Richard McGee joined Critique Café in 2015. Retiring as Western Region Communications Manager for Enterprise Products that year, he contemplated what he wanted to do in the next stage of his life. After spending his working life in technical fields, he has found satisfaction in creative pursuits, includingwriting. Richard’s first effort at creative writingwas in eighth grade, a fifty-page novel about time travel. Luckily, no evidence of that story remains to injure his reputation. He spent odd moments throughout his life working on fantasy tales that never reached completion. He began reading instructional books on fiction writing and worked to hone his craft. After learning of the Critique Café, Richard joined the group and gives credit to them for helping to improvehis skill. Richard’s primary interest is inspeculative fiction, but he has also delved into other genres. He has completed one fantasy novella, several short stories, and is working on his memoirs to pass on to his two children and four grandchildren.


Spotlight Feature Article: The Mirror by Richard McGee

The image in the mirror smiled at me. This had been my morning ritual for almost a year now, ever since I bought the mirror at an estate sale. I still found it disconcerting. My expression in the mirror changed from day to day, though my face did not. The image did not reflect my face but was a preview of my day to come. It was my face, but it smiled even when I frowned at it. Some days it frowned, even as I smiled or laughed. One morning tears slid down the cheeks; that was the day my mother died.

After getting dressed, I left the apartment to catch the bus to work. Onthe bus, I had the same debate in my head that I’d had numerous times before –was it a prediction of what would happen, or was it bending my mind so that Iwould make the prediction come true. The conclusion every time: it didn’t matter – my day was foreordained.

As usual, I ate dinner alone that evening. The smile had come when the boss congratulated me in front of the team. My idea in the suggestion box had been ac- cepted. We would use the new software program to better forecast sales and cut down our necessary warehouse space. There would be a five-hundred-dollar bonus in the next paycheck.

If only the mirror would always smile at me. Those days were fun at work, knowing it would be a good day. The days when the mirror frowned at me could be tough. Waiting for the boss to yell at me in front of everyone or that jerk Jason tease me about my sex life (or rather, the lack thereof).

Waking the next morning, I pushed the button on the coffeepot, so it would be ready after my shower. I stepped into the bathroom and stood over the toilet to empty my morning bladder. Yawning as I pushed the flush lever, I stepped in front of the mirror.

I stopped mid-yawn. There was no face in the mirror. The reflection of the ugly wallpaper with the trains on it was there. The blue towel hanging on the rod was there, but no face. Wiping the mirror surface with my hand produced no change.

Most of my time in the shower was spent thinking about what it meant. Maybe the mirror wanted to surprise me. I had complained enough when the frown showedup. Maybe it was going to be a frown day, but the mirror didn’t want to disap-point me before the day even began. Or maybe something extraordinary was going to happen. If Jill agreed to a date with me, the smile would be gigantic.

Getting out, I swore a little as I noticed the time and saw I was late. I hurriedly got dressed and filled the travel mug with coffee, no time for a lei- surely cup at the table that morning.

My jog to the bus stop was joyous. A day to look forward to with no idea of what was to happen. I felt liberated and carefree. Still half a block from the stop, I saw the bus accelerating from the traffic light. I put it into high gearand began running, couldn’t miss the bus. Just as I reached the stop, I trippedon that darn hole in the sidewalk and fell. Sideswiping a post, I winced with pain as I rolled into the street. The last thing I saw was the bus tire coming toward me.