Subscribe to Jessica's exclusive newsletter

Subscribe to Jessica's newsletter

* indicates required

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What I'm Leaving in Arizona

I said, "Take this child, Lord
From Tucson, Arizona,
Give her the wings to fly through harmony
And she won't bother you no more."
-- Paul Simon, "Under African Skies"

When I was growing up listening to Graceland, I never thought those Tucson lyrics would apply to me. But now they do.

Although we've been trying to move on since we got here a year and a half ago, I have established some roots in Arizona that I'll be sorry to leave behind. And, I never would have guessed it, but living in the desert has the following advantages:

1. Smooth, silky hair all year round!
2. You don't even have to close up a box of crackers or cereal, and it will remain crunchy and fresh for months. My husband and I ate some freshly popped popcorn on our housing-seeking trip to Georgia, and it seemed stale to us after eating desert popcorn for a year and a half.
3. Amazing and endearing flora and fauna you won't find anywhere else in the world.
4. The unspeakable awesomeness of the dinosaurs outside the McDonald's at the corner of Kolb, Grant, and Tanque Verde. I've eaten at McDonald's only twice in the last twenty years, and both times were to enjoy the Dinosaur Learning Center.

The disadvantages are numerous, but I won't dwell on them.

The most important thing I'm leaving here is an astonishing tendency toward Kismet that has furthered my writing and publishing in ways no other place has, as well as vastly improving my offline social life. More specifically, I'm leaving behind that rarest of all beasts, a writing group that is supportive, useful, fun, and actually keeps meeting. Founded by Reneé Bibby (center in the picture) and co-managed by me (in the polka dots), the Low Writers have been going strong since before we drew up guidelines in March 2011.

Remember these faces: we'll all be famous some day!

Each member brings a different talent to bear on their critiques, making for a highly creative variety of perspectives. Their acceptance and good humor have made writing into something much better than the lonely pounding at the keyboard. The members have been so kind as to request that I keep sending them chapters of my work in progress, The Seven Noble Knights of Lara, and at these heights, I don't see how I can turn them down. I will miss you gals! Thanks so much for everything!