Oct 14 2012

‘Can Do’ Attitude

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Most of you have met Betty, my Jeep sidekick. In fact, she’s become a regular character on my blog.

There’s a bit of backstory to my Betty connection, though. And it all started on the outskirts of a dairy farm in rural northwestern Pennsylvania. Read all about it at Julia Munroe Martin’s blog, wordsxo, where I am honored to guest post this week.

This desert farm reminds me of home and is one of the many views I’ve been lucky enough to see during my Jeeping adventures. Click to enlarge.

Julia, known as @wordsxo, was named a “Top Twitter Feed to Watch” by The Writer Magazine this year. She’s also a great friend and terrific writer. Not only that, she shares the same maiden name as my paternal grandmother, and her grandmother lived in a town right next to my rural upbringings. Amazing the kinds of connections we can make on social media!

I hope you’ll come visit us both at wordsxo.com!


Oct 8 2012

Where’s Waldo?

Melissa Crytzer Fry

I’ve always been struck by nature’s ability to conceal. So many things seem to blend into the other, edges softening and blurring, our eyes unsure if optical illusions are at play. In the desert, this concealment can be downright startling (Yep – I’m thinking rattlesnakes, so invisible their reptilian skin melts into the cocoa-colored earth).

Nature’s visual display of hide ’n seek is not unlike the Where’s Waldo books of the late ‘80s and ‘90s, with their illustrative ‘red herrings’ – other red-and-white striped objects masking the geeky cartoon character.

While my husband was working on an in-home construction project, I hid out in a small room of a local library, where I took this photo. Click to enlarge.

I thought it would be fun to send my readers on a “Where’s Waldo” of natural wonders – all based on images I’ve snapped over the years – of some pretty darn illusive subjects in the Sonoran Desert. (Trust me … I had more). In case you can’t see the camouflaged critters in these photos, answers are at the bottom of the post. Click photos to enlarge.

For Readers/Writers: Do you find that certain aspects of a story become invisible to you as you read? Without fail, I seem to lose track of a story’s timeline – or I simply fail to pay attention to how many days or moths have passed in every story I read. I also seem to lack the ability to remember the ages of young characters. Always. What about you? Does the physical setting of the books you’re reading just disappear? The physical descriptions of characters? Something else?

When you write, do you want certain things to be invisible – hidden under the surface of your words for the reader to unearth? What are they? What is the value of concealing them?

Answers: Imagine – on all these images – if you weren’t taking a microscopic look in the way I was: Pretty darn invisible, huh? Photographed from top to bottom: bullock’s oriole; baby desert tortoise; TWO white-tailed deer; a common fence lizard; a tree frog; TWO owlets; a crazy grasshopper, the likes of which I’ve never before seen and almost smooshed.