From the WouldBeBook


Working this morning for text to go with something like the image for the BTINY–the Book That Is Not Yet. (You saw this collage last autumn here.) Here’s part of the narrative so far.

I grew up with television’s Wild Kingdom and Disney’s frequently-staged nature depictions. To a young boy of the times, those dramatized revelations of what goes on in the living world of animals and plants were extraordinary. How much more dazzling are the visual encounters of nature available to today’s audience of virtual field trippers. There’s much to be learned from sophisticated digital visits to exotic landscapes where, without moving a muscle, you watch unusual creatures do what they do where they live.

But through the monitor screen, you are spectator in the bleachers, an inert voyeur separated from the game. When the show is over, you’ve been entertained, but you are unchanged.

Watching nature through screen-media is no substitute for touching, smelling, feeling; for being a participant in the learning space, all senses engaged. As they say, the map is not the territory.

Get up from your LazyBoy and take your kids out into the territory beyond the screen door and learn with them to be amazed by the landscape and creatures in the real world around you. This is the where of your life, the soil and oxygen of your own nature drama.

And if you learn to see them, the ordinaries close to home can be extraordinarily rewarding. (But you probably remember this from your childhood, don’t you?)…

Text will mostly be on the left hand page, image on the right, with prompts for activities, elaborations–in this case, to the natural history and lore of these four creatures in the picture.

I’m shooting for some 35-40 of these “spreads” for a book total of maybe 80-90 pages, full color, probably hard cover. Target date: fall 2008. Gulp.

And if there are any publishers out there looking for a companion for the Richard Louv book, Last Child in the Woods, I’d like to think this might be it. I’m interested in talking. But not quitting my day job.

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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. I didn’t see these photos before; they are great. This text reads well also, and the book format you describe will work, I believe. I’ll be rooting for you getting it published this fall. You sure aren’t a procrastinator!