Aug 11 2013

Dancing with the Sags

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Saguaro Series IV

I confess to having little coordination when it comes to dancing (which is why I will not be signing up for Zumba classes anytime soon, as fun as I think they’d be).

But there’s something to be said about movement – about flow and the energy created by things in motion. Even the suggestion of motion spurs the desire to toss hands in the air and let loose, doesn’t it? At least that’s what I think every time I see a dancing saguaro in the desert.

This happy saguaro reminds me of a ballerina, with her skirt unfurled, tulle singing. Click to enlarge

And this – is it a curtsey or plié? Or maybe even a handlebar mustache? Click to enlarge.

I can’t help but think of the FTD Florist icon when I look at these happy, bent appendages. Click to enlarge.

Undulating arms. Click to enlarge.

Taking a bow. Click to enlarge.

Walk like an Egyptian? Click to enlarge.

The Arm Cradle. Click to enlarge.

Anyone in the mood for The Twist? Click to enlarge.

I don’t know about you, but suddenly, I want to dance.

For Readers: What do you prefer in your fiction: fast movement from the start, or slower plots that ease their way into action? Are sweeping twists and turns the hallmarks of a great novel, or do slight dips and toe-taps excite you just as much?

For Writers: What techniques do you employ to ensure forward momentum in your stories? Are hidden secrets part of the mix? Revelation of character motivation? Or do you rely on the shocking actions of your characters to create movement? What else do you pull from your bag of tricks to ensure your words dance from the page?

Missed the other photos and posts in my Saguaro Series? There’s always now: Idiosyncratic Saguaro, Majestic Crested Saguaro, and End of Mighty Saguaro.

Jul 28 2013

The Art of Healing

Melissa Crytzer Fry

I’ve got a knack for witnessing things in nature that few people see: mating rattlesnakes, baby roadrunners, hummingbird births, suckling javelin babies, a frequently visiting young buck mule deer.

And, recently, this:

This desert spiny lizard (scelopours magister) scuttles about in front of my French doors daily, often doing push-ups to attract the ladies (as seen here). Click to enlarge.

As he ran along the railroad ties on July 11, I was shocked to see that Big Boy’s tail was missing. And then I began to wonder: would it grow back? Because almost a year ago to the day, I had discovered this:

I was taking photos of a full moon one night when this tree lizard (uorsaurus ornatus) caught my eye. To my surprise, he was tailless, but even more surprising, when I bent closer, was the new growth I noticed at the break point. Click to enlarge.

Apparently some – not all – lizards possess the ability to drop a section of their tails and regenerate it as part of a defense mechanism. From UCSB Science Line:

“While escaping a predator, if the predator catches the tail, it will disconnect. The tail lies flopping in the predator’s mouth or on the ground. While the predator is occupied or distracted by the wriggling tail, the reptile runs away.”

You can imagine how excited I was, on July 25, when I zoomed in on Big Boy and saw … yes … the emergence of a new tail (only two weeks later).

Do you see it? Click to enlarge, and you’ll see a little black appendage growing from the break point.

For Writers: As writers, we often feel a bit battered and bruised – maybe not with our tails removed, but slapped around, if you will. Mostly, our wounds come from rejection or fear of rejection: from contest judges, from agents, from publishing houses, from reviewers, from readers.

Because writing is such a personal endeavor, it’s easy to feel wounded by criticism or even by silence. We also can feel wounded by circumstance – learning that someone else has written a book similar to ours, that a “competitor” book has a release date before ours, that someone’s book shares a similar book image or the same title … the list goes on and on.

But as writers, I think maybe we, too, can heal – not through incredible cellular regeneration – but by using our minds.

This post by author Kathryn Craft, 10 Writer Affirmations to Bolster Optimism, struck a powerful chord within me – and is testament to the power of positivity (something that can be difficult for all authors and writers at various points in their careers, me obviously included). When I read Kathryn’s guest post at Writers in the Storm, I saw it as a challenge for authors to view themselves less as victims, and more as the creators of their own destiny. (This post is so worth the read. Please read it!).

As an aspiring author, soon-to-be-published-author, or already-published author, do you sometimes feel wounded? How do you deal with those less-than-positive feelings? Do you use positive affirmations? Do you think they can work?