Overwhelmed? Yes. But this is a day, a week in which I know what it is I need to do and will know when it is done. One doesn’t always have that kind of clarity of obligation or potential satisfaction of accomplishment.

Now flow the slack waters that come before the current builds and cataracts loom in April and May. Slack, indeed, not even leaving the house for a handful of patients twice a week, that chapter if not ended, trailing off toward nothing. And I am not driven to go back to it if I can fill my days with this work I at last see clearly that I must do, that I am able to do.

I’m encouraged to find a potential publisher–a long shot as they all are–a top tier recipient of this manuscript in process that wants 20 pages and will give notice in 8-10 weeks. I can invest those pages and those weeks to this hope. And then…

Once packaged for export, I’ll be looking at other choices down the list–choices I don’t have in mind just now. May be I’ll have to spend some hours in Writers Digest to learn how to do the dipping and cooing courtship dance particular to each suitor in a half-dozen publishing bowers. I’d prefer my first choice simply open the door when I appear ardent and sincere with flowers.

Now your part: if you’ve read this far, you are probably one of a few good men–or ladies–the Fragments Marines. You might have been along during the year of similar gestation for Slow Road Home, even be one of the 40 or so editing contributors to that work that was one time where this next book is now.

I don’t think I’ll post this widely just yet, but If you’d be interested in seeing a little of how “Bridging the Nature Gap” (current working title) is coming along, just leave a comment–if I know how to find you, or email me (fred1st over on Google’s mail) and I’ll send you the link where the dozen pages open in a nice page-turning display over at

I’d be pleased to have your comments, critiques and corrections as I approach my deadline of next Tuesday for sending this package off. Mostly, I’d just be comforted to know you’re out there riding the currents with me toward whatever delta we’re heading toward this time.

Share this with your friends!

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. I know all too well how this goes. You write, you rewrite (again and again) and finally you have to change gears so that you can take the time to look for the right publisher. Wooing is so important. Hang in there…

  2. I’m still here too, Fred, and still visiting you daily. My anticipated move home is yet to be realized. I’m still at the same place – in Florida, up to my hoo-ha in alligators, and still draining the swamp. 😉

  3. Send me the link, Fred. As a former 7th grade Life Sciences teacher, I think this book editing job may be right up my alley!

  4. I enjoyed the peak at your book. I think it’s going to be a beautiful book for parents to share with their children. And much needed too, I might add.

    As for editing or critiquing I’d be the very last one to do that. But I think it’s going to be a nice book, and I’d love to be able to do as well.