WayBack: Fragments June 2002


Towards the end of writing elsewhere about the start of the writing habit–and later, the shift toward writing from, for and about nature–I’ve been revisiting the earliest days of the blog via the Wayback Machine. 

So don’t say you weren’t warned that I might more inclined to excerpt from the history of Fragments than to add new posts while I’m working (with more discipline than usual) on material for “One Place Understood.”

I will, however, try to connect old posts to new images–like this one–of very few–taken from the east side of house and barn.

Why am I guilty of adding to the teething sea of words that waterlogs our poor brains in this age of “information”?

Hmmm. I am not doing it for the fame and glory. Far as I can tell, I get about 10 unique visitors daily (some are clones of prior visitors) and am ‘linked’ on, oh, about two other weblogs. There has been an occassional reference to some snippet I have written (I specialize in snippets, which are like haiku, except not as cerebral, without meter, and they don’t usually have a point).

I guess if Fragments has a point, it is this:

It has opened my eyes and ears to things that before I would think: that’s interesting, I would like to share that with someone, no one is around to listen, forget it. Now, even if no one reads it, these little brain cookies have the potential to reach thousands all around the world. Weblogs are about potential.

“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” said Alice (or was it the Hatter, or…) Writing in a permanent, accessible and widely available form gives me a motive to write, and accountability to others, strangers, family, gifted writers. I confess to a long-latent urge to write, more than that, to have a purpose and an object of my writing.

I can’t say that I have found that yet. But this weblog is a first step out of the boat onto the glassy sea of faith. If it makes me a better writer, even if it is only for my own satisfaction, then I am willing to get water up my nose a few times.

We are geographically and socially isolated here on Goose Creek. That has got to change. We must find community, connectedness and a place to serve. Granted, electronic relationships are a poor substitute for the protoplasmic sort. But the sense of being ‘in the current’ of the social phenomenon of weblogging honestly gives me a small taste of doing something communal.

Who knows how the web of connections via Fragments might open up opportunities to meet people in my county, region, state? Again, potential.

Lastly, (and the congregation breathes a sigh of relief), this online diary thing can be a legacy of who I was, what I thought, where I lived, what my world was like…for my children’s children’ children. I know precious little of those who begat me. I never cared to look until recently, and now, most are gone along with their memories.

Maybe fifty years from now, my great-great granddaugher will dig a CD out of a dusty trunk, copy it onto a microdot, and project it from her wristphone, and learn more about our times and about one link in her chain of ancestry. I will have given her roots i never had.

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. Well, from reading your posts in recent years, it looks like community has happened since this was written!
    I also liked reading your thoughts about the legacy you are leaving for descendants.

  2. For us older folks, nothing gives us more pleasure than reminiscing about our growing-up years, our family members, school days etc. I find very few who want to listen. For you, you’ve heard most of my stories many times and — chances are, you’ll hear the same old stories a few more times, like it or not!!! MOm

  3. Tremendous work, Fred! Thank you for pouring heart and soul into your work for the rest of us who like to take a think about the miscellanies of life now and then…. Very helpful.