I feel the first stirrings out of hibernation after a long winter of oblivion to writing, speaking, thinking about Slow Road Home or whatever might come next.

I’ll have at least two events between now and the middle of April to make me think in concrete terms about the future of my writing and photography–two complementary passions I hope to bring together in new ways in the coming book year.

For both my events (in Wytheville VA and Birmingham AL) I will arrange for a digital projector to run a little pictorial preamble before my discussion about writing, Goose Creek, sense of place, and Slow Road Home.

I think if listeners can gain a visual context for the story, it will mean so much more to them. Do you agree?

And so, even if “whatever comes next” borrows heavily from SRH, it is a second step I think worth taking, plus of course adding some new material as well. Details very much TBA.

But the book year is about to bloom. What it took to make me realize this is the call I got yesterday requesting more books for my best public perveyor to Floyd visitors: Bell’s Studio and Garden on Main Street, just down from Oddfellas Cantina.

I am so proud to have my book on their checkout counter. If you come to town, be sure and stop by to see Billy Bell’s incredible photographic prints, JoAnne Bell’s glass creations, and other pieces representing local craftspeople. Plus, it’s just such a nice place to hang out and get a sense of the heart of Floyd.

Here’s David St. Lawrence’s account of the Bells’ fine establishment, written at the time of their opening–coincidentally taking place the same day in April that 1100 copies of Slow Road Home were delivered to Goose Creek! Find store hours and more details on my Nameless Creek site.

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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 think it’s a great idea to run the projector before your talks…us humans are very visual and your photographs are so lovely! and it will give them a much better idea of context for your stories.

  2. I couldn’t say it better than bluemountain momma did. You know how much I want you to do a book that puts the photos at the forefront, and the test secondary. I think you are a great nature photographer, and great is exactly the right word, not casually chosen. Before you, my favorite nature photographer was Eliot Porter, but now you are. You know how good Porter is!