Jan 26 2014

Behind the Scenes

Melissa Crytzer Fry

At night I’ve been known to stare into the quiet darkness beyond our windows, so different from the fierce sunlight of the day and its illumination. And I wonder: what really happens out there, after the sun slithers behind the mountains? What happens behind the scenes?

A lot, it appears. When our blinds are drawn to the skies canvassed in the soft black felt of night, things do, indeed, go bump … Or maybe pssstt or hissss ….

That ain’t no housecat, folks! This is Bob, our resident bobcat, marking his territory – an old mining tube that stands about two-feet tall. Click to enlarge.

Thanks to our new trail camera, we’ve captured Bob in action on quite a few nights, illustrating that there is a lot is happening that we can’t see (and VERY close to our back yard, along the rock wall):

We’ve also seen:

A cautious, yet intrepid, coyote. Click to enlarge.

Suckling baby javelinas. Click to enlarge.

All of this “not-seen-by-me, but clearly-it’s-happening” enlightenment made me think a lot about books and all the things happening behind the scenes in some literary works. This was probably top-of-mind because my book club had read The Woman Upstairs, by Claire Messud, and I’d commented that this story wasn’t really about the story; it was largely about what wasn’t in the narrative. It was about those things behind the actual story taking place: the hidden themes, the brilliant symbolism and parallels between artists and women, and women artists, and living and life and obsession. Because, frankly the story itself was a quiet “not much happening” kind of tale.

Even so, I loved it, because, for me, a good book is one that is laced with those things unseen – an invisible tapestry draped over the action of the story and, embroidered within it, thematic parallels, symbolic gestures, lush descriptions, hidden meanings, inspections of the larger philosophical issues of life… similar to those unseen things – yet very much “there” – that happen under the cloak of darkness in my back yard.

For Readers: As a reader, are you moved by the story alone – for the quick jolt of entertainment value? The fast-moving plot? The heart-pounding adrenaline? Or are you like me, participating in a scavenger hunt each time you read, excited each time you pick out something hidden?

For Writers: How important are the ‘behind-the-scenes’ elements in your fiction? How do you go about incorporating them?

***To see photos of other critters from our old trail camera, see my 2011 Captured by Cudde post.

Jan 5 2014

Peaceful Scenes

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Wishing you a 2014 filled with new sights and sounds, peaceful scenes and unexpected pleasures.

Sonoran sunset. Click to enlarge.

The desert's brilliant hedgehog. Click to enlarge.

Cow-poking along in the desert. Click to enlarge.

Unexpected photo capture on our new trail camera: resident bobcat getting ready to enter mining tube. Click to enlarge.

Fallen flowers along the Aravaipa River. Click to enlarge.

Arizona cardinal visiting my front window. Click to enlarge.