Coat of Many Colors

And There Was Great Rejoicing in All The Land

There was not a lot of empty space yesterday that started with an 8 am drive to Wytheville and ended with a photo-op (well, not so much an opportunity as a wife-generated imperative) to capture the final night of Vacation Bible School and the kids she’d been telling me about all week. The theme was the Story of Joseph in Egypt. The choreographed songs were impressive, fifty children on stage, every one engaged and most of them moving the same direction. Mostly. For an off-the-beaten-path performance, it was truly amazing!

And the Chautauqua presentation was just one more reminder that it won’t be like you expect, so you’d better be prepared to shift gears to suit the actual terrain—not the one you’d prepared for based on your best-guess projection.

I hadn’t realized that the Creative Writing Competition was open to folks from the REGION, so the winners (and their families and the imagined 100+ folks in the audience) was more like 40, because a Honorable Mention doesn’t warrant a trip from Grundy.

So the younger writers I imagined in the audience were largely (though not completely) absent. I forged ahead, knowing that even among those older bodies lived younger writers—like me. My writer’s self is only eight years old “and my voice is still changing!” as I told them.

I was shocked to look at the clock and realize I had less than 10 minutes of time left at a point about one third through the stuff I hoped to say, so had to blur past two pages of “necessary evil” (if you read yesterday’s post) to be able to read the second of two essays and wrap up.

I’ll have to say that the event did inject a good dose of writer’s vitamins badly needed. It is easy, in the absence of contact with readers, to think that the reach of the message of the books and other writing pours out into a void and is only self-indulgent blather. But there are still ears to hear. I do appreciate the reinforcement from folks yesterday that there is something in the story worth telling.

Now, I need to regroup: a couple of carloads of Student Conservation Association field trippers and another full of NRV Mushroom Club folks are headed out to Goose Creek for a foray. Images and tall tales likely.

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fred

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.

One thought on “Coat of Many Colors”

  1. Show us lots of photos of Mushroom Club folks. They sound very exotic to a Los Angeleno.
    I’m glad the reading you did today was so gratifying. Keep on pursuing and accepting those opportunities.

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