Birds, bees and bears
Fort Collins author tactfully tackles how to write about nature – in all its forms

Birds, bees and bears

Laura Pritchett

Joy Martin - 07/13/2017

He rips her covering off and pounces on top. A tenderness settles around them, his gentle paw seeking, exploring.

His snout gruff in her steam. Just a taste, he thinks. But then instinct kicks in, and he plunges, dives, luxuriates in her oasis. Ah, sweet release!

Some mornings, we wake up to find the hot tub cover in the middle of the back yard, bits of insulation pulled free and fresh claw marks slashed throughout. Only two buckles remain, and duct tape sutures the battle wounds. A bear (I call him Frank) has been toying with the cover since November. He never actually got in the water till last week, leaving behind hair, dirt, berry seeds, funk. Bear wins; hot tub to remain drained till further notice.

Whether you’re into bear stories or learning how to write sex scenes, Colorado author Laura Pritchett will be sharing both on Sun., July 16. Before an evening reading at Maria’s Bookshop from her latest novel, The Blue Hour, and the reissue of her nonfiction book, Great Colorado Bear Stories, Pritchett will lead two writing workshops through DurangoLearns!

A writing coach and author of six books with a PhD in English from Purdue University, Pritchett is also an active environmental steward and the editor of three anthologies focused on conservation, climate change and ecology. The first workshop she’ll guide is called “Love the Outdoors? Write It!” The two-hour course is ideal for writers looking to better capture settings for their memoirs, poetry or non-fiction.

Her second workshop, “Out of the Sheets, Onto the Page,” is going to be a “classy class” on how to craft intimate scenes for essays, fiction, short stories, memoirs or newspaper articles. As portrayed in her latest novel, The Blue Hour, Pritchett has a way with words when it comes to describing the mood, moves and delicate details of body parts, foreplay, orgasms and other Thanksgiving dinner conversation starters.

Pritchett is the winner of the High Plains Award and the Pen USA Award for Fiction. The Blue Hour introduces readers to the residents of Blue Moon Mountain, a small town nestled high in the Colorado mountains. Flawed, relatable characters intersect in the aftermath of a local tragedy when the town veterinarian commits suicide. The book deals with the repercussions of this act as characters work through their own humanity, lusts and loneliness.

She’s also reissuing her only non-fiction work, Great Colorado Bear Stories. It’s been acclaimed as an excellent resource book for anyone who loves bear-attack stories, wants to avoid-bear attack stories or is simply curious about ursine history and contemporary bruin nonfiction in Colorado. The reading is co-hosted by Bear Smart Durango and kicks off the 2017 Be Bear Smart Week.

Living with wildlife is wildly frustrating, amusing and expensive, so we’re grateful to the folks at Bear Smart for teaching us ways to keep bears in their natural habitats and out of our hot tubs. FYI, they suggest that bears are drawn to a mineral in the water that smells of ant larvae. Just can’t recall if they said spritzing ammonia works as a repellent or aphrodisiac ... Frank sure seems to like it.

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