Sunday, November 28, 2021

Really stupid words, Chapter 19.

If I said, “People use a lot of really stupid words and phrases,” someone may well reply, “I know, right?”

I know, right?

I hear that all the time. I even read it sometimes. I have no idea what it means. The first part seems straightforward. You hear, “I know,” and it is fairly safe to assume the speaker is agreeing with what you said. But then they add, “right,” inflected as a question. What does it mean? Are they asking you to agree with their agreement? Are they asking you to agree that they know? Are they asking you to acknowledge that you heard what they said? Are they asking you to verify that you believe what you said was correct? Is there an expected response at all?

If not, why ask the question? 

I don’t know, wrong?

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Where I’m Going—Part 6.

On more than one occasion, going way back to my youth, I have spent time in Cody, Wyoming. But, as with many intriguing places, it has not been enough. So, one of these days, I am going back.

The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is reason enough for a lengthy stay. The Center includes five fine museums—one dedicated to Buffalo Bill, one to Western art, one to firearms, one to Plains Indians, and one to natural history. Each is worthy of hours, days, even, of browsing. And learning. For deeper learning, there are the collections at the McCracken Library. And, tucked away at the Center, is the Western Writers Hall of Fame where several people of my acquaintance, including some I count as friends, are enshrined.

You can also see Old West artifacts at Old Trail Town, join the tourists every night at the rodeo, and visit Bill Cody’s historic Irma Hotel. And there are other attractions in town and in the neighborhood.

Like many of the West’s finest places, Cody caters to the tourism trade, so some of what’s on offer is contrived and romanticized and does not appeal to me. Still, there’s enough of the real West, old and new, to make Cody worth another visit. Or two. Or more. 


Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Gone south.

As has been the case most every fall over the past decade (except last year, when the world was on pause) I spent a weekend about as far south as you can go and still be in Utah. The occasion, as usual, was the Kanab Writers Conference.

 It is not the biggest writers conference I have had the pleasure of presenting at, but it may well be the best. For one thing, the world’s “Little Hollywood” offers scenery the likes of which belongs on movie and TV screens, where it often is and has been. Even if you do no more than stand on the street in the center of town and turn a circle, you will be awestruck.

And, of course, there’s the conference. The staff keeps everything on an even keel. A diverse group of presenters holds forth on a variety of subjects of interest to writers. Readers, too, can browse the bookstore and meet authors and attend presentations that engage the community.

Next year, if plans hold true, the Kanab Writers Conference will move from the fall to late July. Summer puts a whole new face on the red rock country, and the change will add green leaves to the color scheme. If you’re a writer, or want to be, add a link to the conference web site, and watch for information on the 2022 event. Just being to town will make a fine vacation.