Small Ship on the Big Ocean: Festival of the Book!

March 20, 4 pm event: Hope to see you there!

I am not, by nature, a person who seeks out crowds in any form–even for a few hours’ concert or performance. But if the rewards are great enough, I’ll make myself become only for a while a drop in the ocean of humanity for the sake o what I will see, hear, know or think because of my “suffering” in the anonymity and strident buzz of the herd experience.

I will be among some twenty thousand in a bit more than two weeks. And I find myself hopeful some of those strangers will in three weeks have names. I’m hopeful that the 2010 Virginia Festival of the Book will energize me in ways that lesser reader-gatherings have not.

And I’m hopeful that the investment of several days food and lodging will come back to me in returns of inspiration, meaningful conversations, and a better feel for who I am–and who I can become–as a writer.

But there are risks: in small informal groups, I am engaged, outgoing and a good listener. But above a certain density and level of noise, I check out, move towards the edges and go numb with indifference and ennui. It is possible–even likely for me–to be lonely in a crowd.

So I’m having this talk with myself (and sorry, with you) to exhort my shy-quiet self to give way to a man who cannot afford to waste time in isolation when he will be among such a rich audience of readers and authors in Charlottesville this month.

This is a very well-organized event. Check out the web site, and if there’s any possibility you might go, start adding events to your “book bag”, complete with maps to widespread venue locations. Here’s my book bag, I’ll be a busy boy!

And I’ll hope to see one or two of you on March 20, 4 pm at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports where I’ll join two other authors in a Master Naturalists sponsored presentation.

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.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I know what you mean about crowds, Fred – same with me. Are those “dots” seminars? If so, those should be easy to handle.