Glacier Park Foundation Creates Historical Orientation Program for Hotel Employees

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Guests at Glacier National Park’s historic hotels often ask employees questions about the old lodges, but as years go by and more and more old timers disappear from the scene, that information is no longer common knowledge. To address this fact, the Glacier Park Foundation (GPF), a nonprofit organization that works to preserve the historic hotels, is creating a historical orientation program with handout booklets for employees.

Many Glacier Hotel lobby - Barry Campbell photo

Many Glacier Hotel lobby in 2013 – Barry Campbell photo

The majority of the hotels’ employees are seasonal and, while the mix has changed over the years, they are traditionally college students who work a few summers and then move on to careers in and out of the hospitality field. These employees (bellmen, maids, waiters, housemen, boat crew) generally interact with guests more often than the professional management staff and should be able to make good use of the handbooks.

Author an historian Day Djuff–who worked at the Prince of Wales Hotel–was the lead writer for the foundation’s first two handbooks which were distributed this past summer at Glacier Park Lodge and the Prince of Wales Hotel. Djuff also gave the employee orientations. A GPF director, Djuff is the author of Glacier/Waterton in a Snap and, with Chris Morrison, View With a Room, a well-researched history of the lodges.

The twenty-page handbooks will include information about the hotel’s history, personalities, art and architecture, and stories along with a timeline of notable events.

GPF president John Hagen said that the Many Glacier Hotel and Lake McDonald lodge handbooks should be ready for the 2017 season, with the Swiftcurrent and Rising Sun handbooks ready as early as 2018.

According to Hagen, “Ray Djuff will give the orientation talk at Many Glacier, and Mark Hufstetler (another GPF director, Lake McDonald alum, and a professional historian) will give the talk at Lake McDonald” in 2017.

The hotels are operated by concessionaires selected by the National Park Service. Glacier Park, Inc. and Xanterra’s Glacier National Park Lodges, the park’s primary hospitality companies, have endorsed the GPF project.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is a former Many Glacier Hotel bellman and a lifetime member of the Glacier Park Foundation. His article about the 1964 flood at the park appeared the National Park Service’s A View inside Glacier National Park: 100 years, 100 Stories (2009) and in Glacier from the Inside Out: Best Stories from the “Inside Trail,” an anthology edited by Ray Djuff and Chris Morrison (2012). The “Inside Trail” is the foundation’s magazine.

 

 

Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

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“We’re not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes.”

– Joseph Campbell

nightsky2It’s easy to point to great inventors, world leaders, writers, preachers, and leaders of social and environmental initiatives and say those people probably know who they are and why they’re living in the world.

We may be wrong about that because we don’t know their stories inside an out. These people inspire us, though, showing us–among other things–what a person can do through perseverance,  a willingness to fight against their challenges, and to have the strength of will and strength of purpose to reach their goals.

The rest of us can get discouraged when we read biographies or news stories about famous people who accomplished great things that have made the world a better place. How, we wonder, can we live up to that? I don’t think we’re supposed to live up to that. As Joseph Campbell would say, they were following their own paths. We have our own paths and, more often than not, those paths don’t involve being famous and ending up in the history books.

Some people say they are here to live ethical lives, to be loving and compassionate spouses and friends, to do an honest day’s work while interacting with customers and colleagues out of kindness and fairness, to bring up their children with sound values, and to take part in a churches and/or secular groups that address important causes in the community and the world. Such people vitalize the world in ways they may never know when you think of the thousands of interactions and influences they have with others during the course of a lifetime.

What we’re drawn to

Perhaps many of us discover who we are and subsequently why we’re here by looking at the causes, books, issues, subjects, belief systems and people we’re continually drawn to. Others get a strong hint when they enter college and suddenly find a subject fascinating or when they get a job and inadvertently take a company training course that leads their career in ways they never suspected on the first day of work. We find ourselves drawn to certain parts of the country or the world, possibly for what may initially seem to be the most flippant of reasons, only to find new lives there that suddenly define who we are and why we’re here.

While many people can inspire us teach us and show us (by example) what a lifetime might look like, only we can ultimately answer the question “Who am I?” Discovering that answer is often a frustrating and a lonely journey. Sometimes negative experiences get in the way of our goals and then–in time–we learn that who we are is a person who can live with adversity without losing their faith in themselves while finding new ways to define why they are here.

Do we plan our lives before we’re born?

Personally, I believe that before we are born, we know who we want to be and why we want to be here. If that’s the case, then we’ll be drawn to the kinds of people, places and things that facilitate our needs. I don’t believe in coincidences or luck or fate, so even if we don’t have a “life plan” before we are born, I think that we will develop one while we’re here as one thing leads to another. Yes, that often looks like a twisting and haphazard path until one reaches old age, looks back on it, and sees that behind all the seeming chaos of it, there was a central focus toward being who they became.

Being open to spontaneity

People used to say “go with the flow.” I don’t think that applies to mob action, acting like sheep or lemmings, or taking the easy way out. I think it means, as Joseph Campbell put it, following our bliss and doing what enlivens us and enriches us and transforms us. One has to be open to that flow to jump into it and see where it leads; we can’t consciously plan upcoming “coincidences,” “chance meetings,” or “lucky encounters with other people” in advance. We can expect them and be open toward spontaneously embracing those moments when they occur.

“Who Am I and Why Am I Here?” is usually an evolving discovery. Most of us don’t necessarily know that in high school or college or our first full-time job. Life will, I think, help us figure it out.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the hero’s journey novel “The Sun Singer” and the heroine’s journey novel “Sarabande.”

 

Coming December 1: ‘A Woman Misunderstood’

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Thomas-Jacob Publishing will release the second novel in Melinda Clayton’s Tennessee Delta Series, A Woman Misunderstood, December 1. The novel follows Blessed Are the Wholly Broken (2013), with another gritty tale about harsh losses, determined survivors, and the tangled webs of dysfunctional people’s lives.

Publisher’s Description: 

Available for pre-order prior to the release date.

Available for pre-order prior to the release date.

On a sweltering July morning in rural Tennessee, fifty-year-old Rebecca Reynolds visits the family farm, where she literally stumbles across the mutilated bodies of her parents and younger sister, a sister who had spent life in a wheelchair after a birth fraught with complications.

Rebecca’s first thought is to call 911. Her second is to find her estranged sister, Lena, who was disowned by the family years before. Her third is to wonder how long it will be before Lena is arrested for the murder of their family.

As the police gather evidence pointing to Lena, the sisters turn to attorney Brian Stone. Convinced of Lena’s innocence, he agrees to take on the case. But in a family ripped apart by dysfunction, is anyone truly innocent?

Clayton is also the author of the four-novel Cedar Hollow series that began with Appalachian Justice (2013).

Those of us at Thomas-Jacob do not review each other’s books because our words would always appear to be a conflict of interest. I’ll bend that rule ever so slightly by saying that I enjoyed reading A Woman Misunderstood.

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of magical realism, paranormal, and fantasy novels and short stories.

Brief Review: ‘The Immortal Life of Piu Piu’

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The Immortal Life of Piu PiuThe Immortal Life of Piu Piu by Bianca Gubalke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some books come very close to being holy writ, sacred in their reach, profound in their wisdom, delightful in their humor, well-anchored in the world as we know it, fueled by the worlds we yearn for. This is such a book, with wonderful storytelling as well. You’ll meet Pippa, the girl who loves nature and thirsts for knowledge. You’ll meet Piu Piu, the who takes the plunge into a brief flirtation with our temporal life and thirsts for freedom. Look closely: behind the magic, you’ll probably meet yourself.

Well developed and memorable characters, an inventive story, and an immersion into the well-researched and well-described flora and fauna of the setting. Highly recommended and magical.

View all my reviews

The Falls family didn’t put the ‘thanks’ in Thanksgiving

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fallshouseEvery year, like an annual checkup with a proctologist, the dwindling Falls family made a pilgrimage to its ancestral home, Fallaway, illegally located on a remote limestone rock outcropping at Pedernales Falls State Park in the Texas hill country. Constructed by chain gang labor out of haunted stone stolen from Enchanted Rock, the old mansion–where Manderley’s Mrs. Danvers first worked as a maid–was built by Falls patriarch Ash for his Bride Snow from an ample fortune funded by a misbegotten conglomerate of saloons, houses of sin, and corner-cutting mortuaries. Granny Falls, daughter of Snow, presides over the gloomy mansion where, even in the innocent sunshine of high noon, the plaintive cries of ghosts and badly evolved creatures inhabiting Deadfalls Cemetery in the kitchen garden are louder and more persistent than the voice of water at Pedernales Falls.

This year, like every other year, Trick, his sister Niagara, and his brother Pratt made the long trek from the four corners of the known world to grandmother’s house.

After the graceless chorus of amens that followed Granny’s prayer (God is Great, God is Good; Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed, Save us Lord from our dishonored dead.), the family opened its tired eyes to behold  a meal fit primarily for the garbage disposal: twice boiled turkey, cranberry slush, mashed potatoes with deadeye gravy, stuffing knocked out of goodness knows what, wilted greens with squid ink dressing, and Parker House rolls.

Pratt: Every year as we thank the good Lord for the blessings we escaped, I wonder what we have done to deserve this.

Niagara: Our lives would make a chart-topping blues song if anyone in the family knew how to sing.

Trick: You’ve outdone yourself, Granny.

Granny: Last thing I wanted to do was repeat the horrors of last year’s meal, so I made fresh ones.

Pratt: So who’s gotten knocked up since last Thanksgiving?

Niagara: Oh, Pratt, be nice.

Pedernales Falls

Pedernales Falls

Trick: I think I’m pregnant.

Granny: Holy shit.

Trick: Sorry, as an empath, I often blurt out what somebody else is thinking.

Granny: Why’s everyone looking at me? I haven’t been arse over tits since the big M a thousand years ago.

Niagara: Well, this is almost as awkward as last year’s green apple quick step epidemic.

Pratt: I’ll always blame the store bought fried pies for that.

Hooker: I’ll confess, I’m the one with the bun in the oven.

Granny: Who are you with, honey?

Pratt: She’s with me.

Niagara: That figures.

Belle: Pratt took me out of the business to make an honest woman of me.

Belle's daddy at work

Belle’s daddy at work

Granny: He hasn’t succeed yet, that’s clear to me. Are you one of Charon’s daughters over at Johnson City.

Belle: Yes, m’am, I’m one of hell’s belles.

Niagara: Are y’all married yet?

Belle: Pratt’s afraid to ask because when he goes into politics, he can’t have no fallen woman in a closet, worse yet a father in law who purportedly carries folks to the underworld.

Granny: Our family built the underworld before Al Capone was a bun in the oven.

Pratt: She’s talking about Satan’s world.

Granny: Satan’s never getting my into handbasket, I’ll tell you what.

Belle: You’re too much of a gentlemen to ask, Pratt honey, but you’re definitely the father. You remember that time we got lost in that dark wood and said “what the hell?” That’s when it happened.

Pratt: That was you?

Trick: Does anyone else need their moonshine on the rocks topped off?

Niagara: There’s not enough in that Mason jar to make it through the night.

Pratt: Belle, will you marry me?

Granny: What the hell?

Belle: Yes my handsome sweetums darling, I will marry you. Shall we set a date.

Niagara: How about right after desert?

Granny's church as shown in ad in the back of the comic book.

Granny’s church as shown in ad in the back of the comic book.

Trick: Granny is an ordained minister from the Church of What’s Happening Now.

Granny: My diploma was right there on the wall before it fell behind the buffet during the hash slinging fight on Thanksgiving of ought six.

Niagara: That doesn’t nullify Granny’s powers, does it Trick.

Trick: Absolutely not.

Pratt: Well then, Niagara, pass the desert.

Granny: If you ask me, Pratt, you’ve have your just deserts coming for many years of many dark woods.

Pratt: I was rather hoping you’d start your pitch with “dearly beloved.”

Belle: Oh, Pratt, you’re gonna make me cry.

Pratt: Been there, done that.

Niagara: Granny, you got any more jars of this shine?

Narrator of this story guarding granny's stoop.

Narrator of this story guarding granny’s stoop.

Granny: Out on the stoop.

Trick: Pratt, when your sister comes back, I think it’s only fitting to ask her to be maid of honor.

Pratt: Spinster maid of honor’s more like it. Okay, okay, don’t look at me like that. I’ll ask her if you’ll agree to be best man.

Trick: Might as well, can’t dance, fields are to wet to plough.

Niagara: Was ya’ll talking about me while I fought through all the spider webs out back to get to the booze?

Granny:  Drink up, you’re the maid of honor. Pratt, y’all will have to get married in the kitchen since it’s the only room that presentable.

Pratt: I thought you’d make us stand by the hitching post out front.

Granny: Not with all that thunder and lightning out there.

Belle: Oh, don’t worry about none of that. Daddy’s just having a bit of fun.

Niagara: Pass the devil’s food cake so we can get this show on the road and return to our lives.

Trick: Belle and Pratt, you’re starting off on a grand adventure. How fitting it is that it begins on Thanksgiving. I wish you much happiness, but always remember that no matter what weird stuff happens, you can kiss, make up, and say, “We’ll always have Pedernales.”

Granny: I never thought I’d live long enough to hear anybody say that.

Pratt: We usually say it when we’re drunk.

Narrator: And so the deed was done. . .

Niagara: I didn’t know we had a narrator.

Granny: Just one of the haints from underneath the rosemary.

Narrator: As I was saying, an so the deed was done, Belle and Pratt were married with a minimum of discouraging words next to Granny Falls cook stove that–according to all involved–wasn’t nearly as hot as Belle in her Victoria’s Secret wedding down, and finally just after the flour canister tipped over in front of the oscillating fan, creating a virtual whiteout, Granny pronounced the two love birds husband and wife which led Mr. and Mrs. Pratt falls to kiss so enthusiastically, everyone else felt moved to leave the room and sip apple pie moonshine on the front porch where the rain came down like there would be no tomorrow.

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So, you’re writing a novel and can’t think of a title for it

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My muse tells me what my titles are going to be, so there it is.

But there are other approaches. Maybe a line out of a poem or your story’s plot in three words or the name of the main character along with a nice key word like “Joe’s Plague” or “Bob’s Dungeon” or “Mary’s Escape.”

booktitleTucker Max says, “The title is the first piece of information someone gets about your book, and it often forms the reader’s judgment about your book. Let’s be clear about this: A good title won’t make your book do well. But a bad title will almost certainly prevent it from doing well.”

Whether you’re shopping on line or in a bookstore, the title and the cover art are the first things you see. Their potential impact on sales is enormous.

Lynne Cantwell’s post in Indies Unlimited surveys a number of authors who have a smorgasbord of ways they come up with titles for their books. For me, it’s fun to see how others do this in case they have a technique worth borrowing.  Since I’m familiar with these authors’ books, it’s also instructive seeing when and how they decide on their titles.

Looking at what successful authors and teachers say about titles seems more reasonable than going to an online book title generator even though the headline of this post makes it look like a software-generated title is best: Book Title Generators: Free Tools To Help You Pick A Winning Title.

Agent Rachelle Gardner writes , “I was talking to a writer who mentioned she hadn’t worked too hard to come up with a great title for her book. When I asked her why, she said she’d been to a workshop taught by an editor at a major publishing house, who said, ‘Don’t get too attached to your title — there’s a good chance the publisher will change it anyway.’” Perhaps there’s some truth in that if you’re going with a big New York publisher. But most of us aren’t.

She quickly adds that you need to start with your best possible title even if you’re presenting the book to agents and editors who might ultimately suggest you change it. She follows that up with links to her post called How to Title Your Book.

Everyone who sees your book from beta reader to freelance editors to publishers will be impacted by your title. It shows them a lot about your intentions when it’s paired with your synopsis and/or sample chapter. So, what’s in a name?

Almost everything.

–Malcolm

Campbell’s Kindle books “At Sea,” “College Avenue,” and “Lady of the Blue Hour” will be free on Amazon on Black Friday. Click here for my website which has links to the books at the top of my home page.

Got rain? Send it down to Georgia

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The Presidential campaign, the election, and the subsequent arguing about the result have gotten a lot of people on edge. A psychologist friend on Facebook told me that her patients are feeling a lot of stress about all the discord in th country. So, for those of us living in north Georgia, the drought is rather like poisonous icing on an already toxic cake.

Late afternoon haze.

Late afternoon haze.

The drought has been going more or less all summer, but has gotten worse during the last month. Earlier, we’d get a few sporadic rain showers from time to time, but now, nothing. Add to that, a series of smoky wildfires that have kept a constant haze over our county near Rome, Georgia. We get fronts coming through, wind, cold nights, sunshine, and no rain. Should we blame this on global warming or bad luck?

When we moved here to a house on the farm where my wife grew up the year before last, we decided to start putting in small trees. We hoped they be better than a lot of grass to mow (not that it’s been growing very fast lately) and also provide some privacy from the cars along the road (not that they’re many).

drought2016The thing is, these trees aren’t well established yet and need watering. Really, a good soaking rain is the best thing. Second best is a little rain. At the bottom of the list is walking around with a hose. Today is our day to use the hose, but only for a few hours late in the day.

So far, nobody’s been able to do a proper rain dance or get any solid stormy weather hexes into place.

There is a well on the other end of the property. The pump hasn’t been used for a couple of years. If we can start it and string a tenth of a mile or so of hose down the old wagon road to our house, that might be the only solution. (We’re allowed to water with well water or–in cities–with so-called grey water that’s not potable but good for plants.)

But, we’d much rather have y’all send us some of your extra rain. Just don’t go overboard. We don’t need a tropical storm or a hurricane for Thanksgiving. Three inches of gentle rain would do just fine and tide us over for a week or so.

Thanks in advance.

–Malcolm

atravessiadecoraMalcolm R. Campbell is the author of magical realism, paranormal and fantasy novels and short stories. The Portuguese edition  of his paranormal short story “Cora’s Crossing” is now available on iTunes, Nook, Kobo, Sribd, and coming soon on Kindle.