The leaves are just starting to turn in the mountainous country consisting of Rappahannock, Va., and soon the first frost will trigger the leaf shedding ritual of autumn. The hillsides and country roads remind Larry (Bud) Meyer of the rural Ralls County, Missouri, farm where he spent his first eight years, and the Virginia setting serves as the next best thing to being back in Hannibal, where his childhood memories still come a calling.
Meyer, who spent his work years associated with newspapers, is now settling into a lifestyle somewhat akin, but vastly different than “all about facts and nailing down quotes” journalism.
Perched in his home office with straggling wildlife just outside his window, his mind is now free to imagine. “What if …” he wonders. And that curiosity has led to a new segment of his work career.
“The first 20 years of my career, I was a journalist,” Meyer said via a telephone interview from Virginia. “It was about getting things exactly right, getting stories straight.
“The second part of my career was working for a foundation, a large non profit, and the work was all about their mission and their agenda,” he said.
“This is a progression. Now I’ve moved on to fiction. I make stuff up and it is unbelievably rewarding, fun and risky. The kind of fiction I’m doing is based on contemporary issues, such as fracking, as I go forward with cautionary tales in a place like Rappahannock County, Va., before things go spinning toward a worst-case scenario.”
His journalism background is essential to the evolution of his stories. “I have my facts straight about how fracking works, but journalism helps make the fiction work better.”
He explains that fracking “is an interesting technology, drilling a mile deep and a mile in each direction. Millions of gallons of water are poured in to force the gas out of the shale and back up the pipe. When water comes up, it is saline water and has to be disposed of in some responsible way.”
Meyer incorporates possible risks involved with the technology and paints a “worst case scenario. It really becomes interesting. There are always risks involved in new technology.”
He realizes fracking is here to stay, but his concern is about “the long term effects to the environment and our health.”
With the publication of his new book, which he titled “Mother Fracker,” he hopes to heighten awareness of environmental and health concerns, and promote investment in alternative forms of energy. “It sickens livestock and people; it renders property useless. I would rather see them spend considerable time and effort in improving their practices, so that as fracking goes forward, it is safer.”
In his book he creates the perfect storm of problems with fracking. “The characters I’ve created pull together to save the day. They save the environment.”
Meyer has created his own publishing company, “Morningside Press of Miami.” Sales begin today via www.motherfrackerbook.com
“It is part a business story and part an arts story. Art as a novel is a new addition to literature. I have a long way to go to match the literature that came out of Hannibal, Missouri.”
He is using social media to get the word out about his book. His goal is to “find niches of people who like my environmental message.”
To promote his book, “I am going to do a ‘tour of the great couches of America,’ hanging out with friends and family and using their networks to find new readers and new audiences of people.
“It is a fun new interest of mine; it keeps me busy and active. It’s a way to use talents that I have to employ in my working life in a different setting in retirement.”
Hannibal native Larry (Bud) Meyer pens novel around oil fracking’s worst case scenario