Hello SEJ-ers. My name is Fred First. I am one of the newest members and possibly the only one to claim a public writing start (at age 54 no less) by way of a blog. Fragments from Floyd has, since 2002, given me a medium by which to share my passion for natural history-field biology, the culture and landscapes of the Blue Ridge Mountains and local and regional environmental matters.
My blog posts more often than not spring from my photographs close to home--just up the western slope from Roanoke in Floyd County. Those who take the Parkway field trip on Thursday at the conference will travel about 30 miles along the Floyd County's southern border on their way to Mabry Mill. I'd be happy to answer any questions a local resident from the area might be able to answer.
I'm a native of Birmingham, AL and a graduate of Auburn U (MS
Zoology 1973) and U of AL at BHAM (MS in Physical Therapy 1989). My two major
life careers that spring from those schoolings are in teaching (biology
at a VA community College and later adjunct at Radford U) and PT (which I still do part time.)
Since the passion for writing overtook me six years ago, I've
broadcast two dozen essays on Roanoke's NPR station, penned biweekly
columns for the Floyd local paper for four years and a Roanoke weekly
for one year. The very earliest writing gave rise to a "memoir of
place", Slow Road Home
-- a Blue Ridge Book of Days. I also have presented nature-reflective
multimedia "visual essays" for groups like Audubon, Sierra Club and
Forest Watch of Virginia.
Affiliations in my short writer's life have been chiefly with
local poets (which I am not) and with regional writers who have an
Appalachian influence or focus. The SEJ group of writers will be an altogether
I am both awed by and enthused about the caliber and breadth of
experience of those I'll meet and get to know at the conference. I
fully expect my writing muse to gain a new wardrobe because of SEJ, so
thank you all in advance for allowing me to hang out and bask the light
of your energy and knowledge that I've already enjoyed on the web site and listserv.
For SEJ I'll blog my field trip (Food Shed with pictures) and invite you to swing over to my weblog
from time to time for a front porch visit from the beautiful backroads
of the Southern Mountains. I trust you will enjoy your October visit to
our neck of the (very colorful) woods.