Leaf-Peepers Are Readers

Every autumn, I tend to get a little bump in book sales.

This autumn, I’m pleased to let visiting leaf-peepers know that my books can be found in an additional location: the new Maggie Gallery at the corner of Route 8 (Locust Street) and Oxford Street, across from the bank parking lot.

Ron’s artwork and crafts are familiar to and appreciated by many in Floyd County. And now he and wife Lenny are hosting the work and crafts of others in a fine old home right in the middle of Floyd.

The folks whose work is displayed in the gallery have their own little web nook. Here is mine: Fred First at Maggie Gallery.

If you’re visiting Floyd, the gallery is a short walk from The Light, and well worth your time. Here’s a little more about the history behind the building, the builders and the idea of the gallery.

Maggie Gallery Open House | NRVNews

Another reason to visit Maggie Gallery soon: You get a bonus when you buy one of my books: a copy of the pen and ink drawing of our barn by Ron Campbell (while supplies last)–an image that he graciously allowed me to use for the front pages of my second book, What We Hold in Our Hands. This is really a very generous compliment to me from the owners, and a high-value bonus to you, the patrons of the gallery!

Adult Day Care and Seasonal Affective Disorder Clinic


Honestly, it has been sort of nice being home-bound for a few days, with any travel obligations cancelled and not much that could be done outdoors after shoveling out the cars on Saturday and having both porches heaped high with firewood.

Today marks the end of our sequester as we’re having lunch in town with other humans, to try to regain our ability to speak in complete sentences in a social setting.

But I have been quite the tickles-my-fancy butterfly these past snow-bound days, flitting from one adult toybox to the next. [No, not THAT kind of adult toy.]

In one, the iPad and various drawing and photography apps to play with. I downloaded a new sketching app called Concepts. It is quite sophisticated but unfortunately  assumes that you have artistic ability. Same goes for Procreate, and I’ve come back to that fantastic art app after months of neglect. You can peruse those “art-like” images which I’ve cleared from the ipad to make room by moving them to a SmugMug gallery. Some of these I have shared here over the past couple of years; others (for obvious reasons) I have withheld until now. Lucky you.

Ah, and over in another corner of the play room, the old classical guitar I have had since 1966 and restrung only last fall. It gathered dust for the years of wrist and thumb dysfunction and the ones following surgeries to both hands. Then it sat for another year or two when I had the deluded notion that  I would be able to play a steel string again and bought a Fender that promptly ate my fingers for lunch.

So I am back trying to remember old tunes and learn a few new ones–from John Denver, James Taylor, Glenn Campbell, Harry Nilsson, Kris Kristofferson and such. I purchased Guitar Tabs Pro for the iPhone and am copying song chords and lyrics like crazy using OneNote clipper.

And there’s always the book corner, where at least four books are now stacked with bookmarks at various places in the first chapters of all: Thinking Fast and Slow; Dark Matter and Dinosaurs; the Invention of Nature; and Field Notes from a Catastrophe.

I am also working on a longish personal-ruminative essay that explains to me the relationship and importance of the terms well-being, ecology, economy, story and sustainability. There’s an ultimate purpose for this, and  might be I’ll share that at some point, but don’t find a great deal of resonance anymore for “serious” topics on the blog. So maybe not.

Meanwhile, we’re babysitting some chickens and a dog for a week that seems destined to end in mud–with temps predicted to be in the MID-FIFTIES!  At least some of the snow on south slopes will melt. And refreeze–through March. And so it goes.

Hotel Floyd: A Freebie for Stopping By

Have you been to the town of Floyd as a visitor or as a citizen of the county and never set foot in Hotel Floyd? Shame on you. It is an impressive structure (timber frame, which is as typical of Floyd as the ubiquitous Subarus we all drive.) The interior is filled with arts and crafts from local skill-sets and creative energies. You have to go no farther than the lobby to figure this out.

One of the most unique things about this local lodging versus any other place I know of is the “themed” rooms. Each guest room has its own motif based on a local individual artist or crafts person or organization. Take a look at the link, and allow the images to display for each room. There is a SustainFloyd room. And in the Writer’s Room, find copies of my books and one of my photographs on the wall above the bed. Many local folks find their passions built into the rooms where people are immersed in the tapestry of our town and county, even as they sleep.

So if you are one of those I am wagging my finger at, remedy the deficit in your exposure to the whole of Floyd by stopping by the hotel from 5 to 7 tonight. Just inside the front door, find the Jacksonville Center for the Arts room (whose official name I don’t know) where several local folks (including me) will be greeting visitors and talking about our art or craft.

I’m trying to get the event up a bit into the radar because for one reason or another, it seems to be invisible to the public (so far as I have been able to find) on a Friday night when there are scads of folks in town but very few of them know about the Artists’ Reception at Hotel Floyd.

2booksCovers240I’ll be signing books and will have a full inventory of all five sets of photographic notecards that offer 25 images of local landscape and nature. This is the LAST time I’ll be offering these sets and when they are gone, they are gone for good. So stock up for those special occasions where Hallmark can’t come close.

Funny. I just clicked around on the Hotel Floyd website and see quite a few of my photographs featured in the rotating banner of their “About Floyd” page. We had talked about this some while back but I had forgotten about it.

Okay: The Pitch, for those who have actually read this far!–available for the first ten who mention they saw this post on Fragments today–a free notecard and envelope set aside for you.

We need to get your exposure to Floyd to go beyond the main street music, if just for a bit. So maybe I’ll see a few of you at Hotel Floyd this evening. It promises to be a lovely cool autumn afternoon and night, so come on down to town.

Click the image to see all notecards on Pinterest. You can only get them in Floyd now, no longer available at Etsy.

What’s in Store–the Busyness of Bizness

I think I know what Wile E. Coyote feels like out there in mid-air just past the edge of the precipice.

But I’m not looking down. Not yet. I’ve committed myself now. And old Wile would agree it’s not the falling that’s so bad but the landing. We’ll worry about that another day.

I have ordered shipping boxes, Clearbags and envelopes for the Photo-Notecards. I will be replenishing low or missing stock within a week. (I recently discovered that five bundles of 50 cards were relieved from my stock box that I took to a couple of events this fall).

I have set up (on hold) storefronts via Ecwid template on WordPress and via Etsy. People are knocking at the door via Ecwid at least, with 40-50 visits a day, which would represent at least a few sales if the store was open.

Alas, my arms and legs are churning in empty space, having gone beyond the limits of solid ground beneath me. Now what?

I am having to think through the actual DOING of the deed, which means, among other things, having a designated inviolate PLACE to organize and process and prepare for shipping. My six foot folding plastic display table in the ANNex is my only option. ANN is not going to like that. Disapproval is my second skin.

And maybe even a greater concern going forward: the record-keeping for taxes, inventory tracking and fulfillment will be far more elaborate than the simple cobbled Google spreadsheet that has sufficed for the past few years of direct sales for books and cards.

There is no shortage of advice, free downloads and for-sale Etsy management software (Excel spreadsheets mostly I guess).

I have just begun to dig down into all that, and would be most grateful if anyone can speak from experience towards a method or tool a novice shop-keeper might use right out of the box.

So I’m just flapping my skinny arms in the air trying to stay aloft long enough to find a grip on the other side of this divide. I would really like–eventually when a system is in place–for this to be enjoyable.

I really do think the note cards will find a receptive audience beyond the hyper-local exposure they’ve gotten to date. Time will tell. Even so, it is quite possible you might see that little puff of dust at the bottom of the canyon how that tells the story ends, even while I hope and am working fervently to avoid the pitfalls that lead there!

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