Creek Jots 2012-02-18

Rhodesian Ridgeback
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â–¶ So we are told to expect our first real winter event of the season tomorrow–a phenomenon that usually occurs the first week of December. So whatever punch we get, it comes late in the fight. Even so, it complicates things–especially the uncertainties of Ann’s leaving for work at 5 am Monday morning, no matter what.

But we’ve been down this slushy road before, and there won’t be so very many more, perhaps, with the possibility of working less a hope now viewable on the distant horizon.

â–¶ I’m happy to tell you how proud we were of Gandy at yesterday’s first puppy class that included a precious 11 wk old Malamute, a 14 week old wary German Shepherd, a clueless unbridled Beagle, and Gandy the mostly Rhodesian Ridgeback (or at least that is my appraisal of her mixed lineage.) She was composed, confident, engaged and friendly and as obedient as could be expected in a room full of strange dogs and people, and with a leash on her neck. Her behaviour continues to improve and more and more, she is lovable and pleasant to be around. What a drastic change from just two weeks ago, when we were not sure she would be with us long before we gave her another chance at finding the right fit. It didn’t seem like we were it. But now, I think we’ll make a go of it.

â–¶ So: I had the notion a few months back to write a kind of memoir told around the relationships with our dogs–the three labs going back to 1981, and Gandy going forward. But then when it looked like Gandy’s tale was going to come to a near-term and a very sad ending, the story idea died. Now, with a happy ending and the ongoing adventure that her story should turn out to be, maybe I’ll dive back into it–at least until gardening season pulls me down into the soil again.

â–¶ Can I go to TWO conferences this year on the Goose Creek Press account? The Society of Environmental Journalists conference is in Lubbock Texas in October. The Hindman (KY) Settlement School’s Appalachian Writers conference is in late July. Both will require me to be away the better part of a week and cost from $800 to $1500. They serve very different needs and bring me into contact with very different populations of thinkers and writers. Affording both would require I become far more aggressive about self-promotion; that I develope additional products for sale (that sounds so mercenary); and that I get serious about paying my way–with some combo of photography, writing, speaking. I don’t see the light there at this point, but I’m willing to look harder.

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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 saw a mention of the Hindman agenda last week and wondered if you were thinking about it. Looking at the regional writers that are drawn to the school, I would think the contacts you make there were more in line with your “writing”. Though, this year’s staff seems heavy on Poets with a sprinkling of fiction writers.

  2. I’m glad Lubbock is in October. Even Lubbock ought to be lovely in the year’s loveliest month. I’m glad you have the incentive to market your work, and get yorself out there. Try it all: photos, books, cards, speaking; it’s all worthy!
    I’m so proud of Gandy making you so proud of her at obedience school. Very good news indeed!!