Wednesday, 26 November 2014

El Rancho - Home of the Movie Stars

El Rancho Hotel

Historic Route 66 is lined with quirky old hotels, nostalgic diners, gas stations, old neon signs and tourist attractions. Some are vacant and sad-looking. Others are still operational and playing up their connection to the road that was once the major route across the United States. The historic El Rancho Hotel along Route 66 in Gallup, New Mexico is still very much operational. During an overnight stay in Gallup at a different hotel, our hotel clerk directed us to El Rancho when we asked for restaurant recommendations. We discovered a unique and interesting place known as Home of the Movie Stars.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Luxurious History at Arizona Biltmore

Arizona Biltmore

The Arizona Biltmore has been an Arizona landmark since it opened in 1929 and became known as The Jewel of the Desert. When the hotel was first built, it was 8 miles outside of Phoenix. Today the city surrounds it and the area around the hotel has become known as the Biltmore District. The hotel is strongly associated with renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright although he did not design or build it. On a recent history tour of the hotel I learned its rich history and discovered its current magnificence.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Lessons From The Road


A friend claims a day isn't wasted if you learned at least one thing. Other than getting you closer to your destination, several long days of driving may feel like wasted time. But if I look at what I learned on a recent three and a half days on the road and use my friend's definition, the time wasn't wasted at all.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Living Statues

Living statue in Bournemouth, England
Living statue in Bournemouth, England

When we travel or explore our own cities and festivals, we often visit famous and not-so-famous statues or pause to watch a street entertainer. Or we may encounter both in the form of living statues - humans made up and dressed up to look like statues, posed, and standing still.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Long Drive

How do you plan for or cope with a long drive across country (or countries)? A three, four, or five day drive whose sole purpose is to get from Point A to Point B? I'm reluctant to call it a road trip. My definition of road trip includes stops for sight-seeing. A trip to get from one point to another as expeditiously as possible is just a long drive.

There are different ways to approach what is an ordeal for some and a pleasant way to spend several days for others. For most of us the experience falls somewhere in between these two extremes. There may be a feeling of exhilaration and freedom when first hitting the road. By the third or fourth day, you may feel trapped in the car.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Value of Critique

Last week I met with my city library's writer-in-residence to go over a short story manuscript I'd submitted for a critique. A critique is a review and assessment of your written work. A good critique offers advice on what is and what isn't working.

A well-done critique highlights what is strong in your story so you can build on it. It also points out areas which can be improved upon, such as confusing flow, inconsistencies, too much backstory, or not enough detail. It may pose questions which inspire you to think about the story in new ways and give it more depth.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Journey to Churchill

Journey to Churchill

In summer of 2014, a new exhibit opened at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Journey to Churchill highlights the magic of the north. Along a ten-acre route, visitors view species in three distinct zones and experience a variety of landscapes. The exhibit includes signage, interactive displays, and audio-visual components reinforcing concepts of biodiversity, climate change, and conservation. The exhibit provides opportunities for research into animal behaviour as well as showcasing the North to the general public.