Dec 16 2012

So Long, Farewell

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Sometimes goodbyes are inevitable. Such was the case last week when I watched a part of my writing life barrel down our dirt driveway, dust plumes exploding behind it, the aftermath settling like brown mist on nearby prickly pear cacti.

We purchased our travel trailer in '04 as a safe place to sleep while we completed renovations to the “honey house” that we now call home (then filled with dead lizards, scorpions, & one live tarantula). The structure was once a building for beekeeping. Click to enlarge.

Many of you may know that the camper became much more to us over the years – a guest house for visitors, a hiding place for holiday gifts, storage space, and most importantly – for me – a writing getaway. Many a word was penned inside that rectangular box – on my first fiction attempt and my current novel (as well as various freelance projects).

Hubby temporarily removed the dinette and created a workstation for his ham radio hobby. All that counter space was also perfect for my fiction writing! Click to enlarge.

So while this post may not appear to be much about nature and its ties to writing, it is, actually. The camper afforded a wonderful view of the mountains in front of our home. Many times, I’d be greeted by a Say’s Phoebe, hummingbird, oriole, finch, quail or rock wren teetering precariously on the clothesline in front of my camper window. From my writing perch, I’d seen roadrunners, squirrels, lizards, javelinas and bunnies.

This Say's Phoebe graces us with little Phoebies every year. As seen from the camper window. Click to enlarge.

The writing-studio-on-wheels* was a place of quiet solitude (our ‘honey house’ is a wide open space – a bit difficult for someone like me, who needs complete silence to write!), and a connection to nature via its paper-thin walls (evening coyote serenades felt almost too close for comfort).

But sometimes in life, one must say goodbye to things she loves – or, in this case, enjoyed and appreciated. It made sense for us to sell the trailer before it was reduced to a pile of dust by the harsh rays of the southwestern sun. It has served us well, and its sale may open new creative doors for us both.

For Writers: Saying goodbye to the writing-studio-on-wheels is not too different from editing. I know from recent personal experience the pain of waving farewell to characters, scenes, and words. It ain’t easy saying goodbye to those old friends. And it ain’t pretty. But in the end, it sometimes is necessary to clear things out to make room for something better. What are your thoughts on editing? Have you ever had to give up something you love/like/appreciate, only to find that something better was on the other side?

Happy trails, my friend. Your departure has led the way to a new chapter.

* Thanks to debut author Natalia Sylvester, who nicknamed the camper, “writing-studio-on-wheels.” Her book, Where We Once Belonged, publishes in Spring 2004.

Nov 24 2012

Let’s Get it On

Melissa Crytzer Fry

If there’s one word to describe 2012, it may just be hot. And I don’t mean only here in the scorching desert.

First it was the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy that got a lot of women talking openly about sex. Then there was Magic Mike (Yes – I did see that movie and might or might not have been hooting and hollering in the audience and wiping drool from my face). And, how can I forget … one of my favorite literary (but sexy) books of the year, The Taker, by Alma Katsu.

Even the desert critters got their groove on, it appears:

My cats, Macho and Niña, alerted me to the ‘show’ going on outside the French doors with these checkered whiptail lizards. Click to enlarge.

This looks pretty platonic, yes. But this isn't what they were doing BEFORE I snapped this photo of dragonfly love at Apache Lake. Click to enlarge.

In the spirit of this sexual revolution, I thought I’d share a nature video with you as well (please DO turn on your volume). I just happened to be on the roof of our house when I heard rocks falling. I saw a bunny at the top of the hill and assumed he was the source of the noise. But as he hopped down the the embankment – within NOSE LENGTH of these two rattlesnakes – I realized what I was witnessing. And, of course, I ran to grab the camera.

And for the record … I am not some creepy animal voyeur. I don’t go looking for rattlesnakes, lizards and dragonflies who are getting it on. I just happened to be there. (Feel free to continue humming Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” if you’d like).

For Readers/Writers: Did you read 50 Shades? (See Annie Neugebauer’s post for a great discussion of the book AND its writing quality. See my comment and you’ll know why I haven’t read it!). Did you see Magic Mike? What did you think? All in good fun? Too much? What amount of raciness do you prefer in your reading and movies?