Sep 25 2011

Mr. Bacon Sighting

Melissa Crytzer Fry

It all started back in August. Journalist Patrick Ross introduced his sidekick, Mr. Bacon, to the blogosphere.

On Patrick's blog, Mr. Bacon made a break for freedom in the Shenandoah National Park, hoping to lose himself in the forest. With such short legs, he was an easy catch.

Good for a laugh, Mr. Bacon was also a symbol of Patrick’s love for bacon (as well as his affection for bendy bacon toys). Then something interesting happened. Mr. Bacon took the writing world by storm. Writers tweeted Mr. Bacon’s adventures, responding warmly to the hint of his bacony aroma.

And when Mr. Bacon showed up at a White House press conference in Patrick’s pocket, boldly demanding that his picture be taken in front of President Obama? Well, that pretty much gave him rock star status – or maybe something more akin to traveling gnome status.

Because, recently … he showed up in my Arizona backyard, emboldened by his desert surroundings. You can imagine my surprise.

SAGUARO SIZZLE. This damaged saguaro provided the perfect vantage point as Mr. Bacon scouted for coyotes. (They like bacon). Click to enlarge.

BACON IN THE SUN. Mr. Bacon wasn’t afraid to get his feet dirty, standing in the dry, cracked earth of the Sonoran desert. Click to enlarge.

Mr. Bacon is, indeed, taking the writing world by storm. But why? Writers and bacon? Is there a correlation? Is it the boldness of his crunch? His flexibility? His ability to savor the moment? His thirst for adventure? His salty personality? Or is it just that bacon is yummy – and we writers know it?

BACON ON THE ROCKS. Mr. Bacon does his best tribal dance next to what he thinks is a Native American metate (stone used for grinding) that he discovered in our wash.

Maybe the bigger question is “Where will this traveling pork strip show up next?” I have a suspicion that Maine may be his next destination. Then where? What will he see? What will he share with us throughout his travels? What will we learn?

BACON JOYRIDE. Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Bacon took the quad for a joyride in the desert. All was well until his greasy hands lost their grip. Click to enlarge.

THE EQUIVALENT OF BACON BULL RIDING. Mr. Bacon really wanted to ride this tarantula, but hubby held him back. On this particular night, this normally slow-moving spider couldn't get away fast enough. Look at the reach of his furry legs! Click to enlarge.

Share your Mr. Bacon photos – the good, the bad – from around the world by visiting this fabulous site created by hubby (and wrapped in bacon humor). Interested in bringing home your own bacon (Mr. Bacon, that is)? Hosting his adventures on your blog? Just say the words in the comments section, and we’ll start cookin’ with bacon (i.e. I’ll send you the details on how to get your hands on this culinary – um, plastic – delight).

Sep 18 2011

Come to My Window

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Writers are really window-makers. With words, they construct windows that open out on to the world. When readers gaze through those windows, they’re transported to worlds never imagined or, conversely, worlds comfortingly familiar.

My creative writing partners (below) are to thank for these ongoing ruminations. You see, they’re fond of staring out the French door windows in front of my desk. And, if we’re being honest … so am I. It’s a wonder I write a single word each day.

Macho spots a jackrabbit outside the French doors. I love the bright colors from the setting sun as they warm the hills in front of the house. Click to enlarge.

Each time I watch my cats watching the world beyond their four protected walls, I am reminded of perspective. Their kitty vantage point is much different than mine. They’re lower to the ground. They’ve never wandered through the open desert. They’re seeing lizards, roadrunners, cardinals, javelinas and occasional stray dogs that they’ll only see through a glass windowpane because of the threat that coyotes, mountain lions and bobcats pose. They’re seeing through eyes that have a third eyelid, that exhibit superior night vision and inferior day vision. Yes, their perspective is much different than mine.

Macho is joined by his sister Niña (right) during an afternoon of rabbit gazing. Click to enlarge.

How would your perspective change if you were at eye-level with a baby rock squirrel, like Niña is below?

It’s the writer’s job to paint those perspectives for their readers (okay – maybe not through a cat’s eyes …). It’s the writer’s job to aid in the creative transport from real life to fiction, and to help readers see her unique glimpse of the world.

When you’re looking out the window at the world, you may not realize that the world’s looking back at you. This red-tailed hawk is intent on watching Macho through the window. Click to enlarge.

For Writers & Readers: What do you see outside your window? Not your office window with its skyscraper views, your bay window, or your home study window … I mean the window of your mind. Your metaphorical window. How does it shape what you write? How does it influence what you read? How is perspective important to fiction?

If you want to share your real window sightings, I’d naturally welcome the opportunity to take a peek through your windowpane.