Blogging Under a Bushel

“Hide it under a bushel NO: I’m gonna let it shine.”

For some reason, an ancient memory rose to the surface this snow-blanketed week, the combination of thought-bits and ponderings and a snatch of melody out of the ethers.

And so it is with the serendipity of blogging–a 13 year old reflexive impulse to “go public” with the most trivial and the most profound and personal private monologue that for some reason cannot rest content unless it takes on the illusion of public dialogue. Sharing is caring, they say.

This little light of mine. I thought at one time and for a number of years was convinced I knew what that writer’s light of mine was. Now, I’m not close to sure about it.

In the past few years, as you might have heard me angst-ing about here, not much light escapes the gravitational pull of the page the words are written on. I shine it not as frequently or with as much sense of reach into dimly lit places as in those earlier truly-connected years. Mostly now the beam comes back to its source for my own illumination. And I’m struggling to accept that this is enough.

But it is not enough, entirely. I fully appreciate the value of the blog as an archive of literally thousands of private epiphanies and “grampa tales.” On my ambitious days, I think that I might mine these million words for the occasional nuggets worth tossing into the editorial polishing machine to see what they would look like with more attention and as part of a larger story for an audience of flesh-and-blood readers.

A few Fragments over twelve Novembers (where my focus is just now) are worthy of glossing up to include in this third book that I will, in all likelihood, never finish in this lifetime–a book of monthly “dialogues” between the writer and his place in space and time.

More often than not, words and images compliment each other. So in my moments of zeal I imagine a book of about 40 thousand words, with full-color images. For that, an e-book more than the expense of printed color plates in a paper book, makes more sense. But this is only a theoretical discussion for the uncertain present.

Maybe I’ll let my little light shine for another spell. Or maybe I’ll just let apathy and laziness and the echo from an empty room blow it out. (Apologies to His Nefarious Self who, in the Sunday School tune, gets credit for extinguishing the heat and light.)

[su_box title=”THE REST OF THE STORY” style=”soft” box_color=”#e8d3a9″ title_color=”#235529″]Got it: just remembered one of the triggers for the memory of this old church tune: we did without power last week for 52 hours. We stumbled around in the dark for two long nights with “little lights” of fake candles powered by AA batteries. THAT little light of mine: I hope not to see it again for a long while! And the image–that I already had pulled up with the intention of posting with or without text–is the view from our church parking lot yesterday. So there you have at least some of the disparate elements that collided to trigger yet another rambling waste of bandwidth.[/su_box]

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Reading Doug’s ‘lectric outage reports I couldn’t help but wonder about your absence from this e-page. Glad to see you made it through to the other side and found your light inspiration.

    I was sitting on the porch this morning watching the rain fall on my fully colored, just at prime leafage, red oak tree… appreciating the quiet of an empty house for the first time in almost a week while I enjoyed my coffee muses. And this is where they wandered onto a page… Not one of my own.

    Stay warm Fred, and keep the light on (like they say in those old commercials) I’ll be dropping in now an’agin…

  2. Absolutely gorgeous image, Fred! Wow. Christmas card. Make your own using that. Please don’t stop blogging. You have been part of my daily routine since 2004 and I like it very much. You have been a part of my happy routines throughout my retirement from teaching in 2003.

  3. Barb has made a living writing gardening books and for Mother Earth News but she hasn’t gotten rich and book sales are going down. She told me once that the money is in medical writing. She also says that it is impossible, impossible, to make money writing novels.

    Regrettably, I only recently discovered this blog. I never signed up for Facebook. I don’t spend much time online.

    Sharing points of view makes us better. Let it shine.

  4. Yes, let it shine, Fred, even when the way seems dim. Your posts are enjoyed, whether you know it or not. I know it’s hard to get “the crickets”…but persist nonetheless! People “out there” will see your words and be inspired.

  5. Well, as long as I’ve been called out, here’s the thing. Years ago I realized my work could not be about the money, because I’d chosen a low-paying career path. I think most teachers go through the same thing. Instead you live simply and try to stay focused on that which you are to do, which in my case is helping people make closer connections with the green world. Do the work you are called to do, and the rest will fall into place.

    On a practical note, e-books are so promising. I’m getting ready to do another one through BookBaby. First you write the words, then you gotta hustle.

  6. With a tip of the hat to Dionne Warwick … “Keep smiling, keep shining.
    Knowing I can always count on you, for sure. That’s what friends are for.” Thanks Fred!