AUGUST 2021 ISSUE of WestVirginiaVille.com
1) EDITORS/NOTE: Hellzones & Heroes, Painters & Clouds, Gardens & Grief
2) HERO OF THE OPEN HEART: The Long, Strange Trip of Dave Evans’ Notable Life
3) BACK/THEN: On the Bad Streets of Ann Magnuson’s Charleston Upbringing
4) MEMOIR: ‘The Garden and the Grief’ by Connie Kinsey
5) ART/WORK: Sharon Lynn and the Paths Taken
6) PHOTOSHOW: A high-up visit to Robert Singleton’s WV studio
7) VIDEOS: The Pillars of the WV Climate Alliance
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By Douglas John Imbrogno | Editor, WestVirginiaVille.com | aug4.2021
COVER STORY, August2021 Issue: HERO OF THE OPEN HEART: The Long, Strange Trip of Dave Evans’ Notable Life
A bodhisattva is a Sanskrit term to describe someone motivated by great compassion, who seeks selflessly to help others. In East Asian Buddhism, the bodhisattva Kṣitigarbha (known in Japan as Jizo) is known for his vow not to achieve Buddhahood until all the hells are emptied. He is often depicted carrying a staff to force open the gates of hell and a wish-fulfilling jewel to light up the darkness.
I thought of Kṣitigarbha/Jizo when pondering how to introduce my profile of the remarkable life of West Virginia native Dave Evans. As an 18-year-old Marine in Vietnam in 1970, Dave lost both his legs below the knees from a land mine and ambush. It would have been easy for him to settle back, distraught and disgruntled, into his home in Cabin Creek, and shut himself off from a world that had taken so much from him.
Yet, he got himself up on prosthetic legs and then learned how to make artificial arms, legs, and hands for others. He proceeded to spend the next half-century moving among the world’s conflict zones and hot spots — its hell zones — often at considerable risk. He brought a compassionate heart, plus skilled hands and eyes, which he applied to the suffering of thousands of adults and children who, like him, had lost limbs from the endless toll of war and human conflict. In countries across the planet, he trained and left behind equally skilled prosthetic technicians. (Or, as he once described himself in an apropos, almost poetic, phrase: ‘rehabilitation specialists.’)
In Japan, Jizo Boddhisatva is also a beloved guardian of children. You will see in this profile also how much Dave was a guardian of the world’s children, with a fierce resolve to return to them a semblance of the hands, arms, and legs they had lost. Dave died in Antigua, Guatemala in July 2020. The example of his bodhisattva life lives on.
2 | MEMOIR: “The Garden and the Grief” by Connie Kinsey
Gardens are endlessly suggestive. They usually signify growth, inspiration, and the boundless, restorative invention of Nature. Yet gardens can carry their own freight of more painful meaning. Especially when they fall into tangles as life’s misfortunes overwhelm and distract us from turning their soil. WestVirginiaVille Minister of Paragraphs, Connie Kinsey, returns to our pages with a short memoir on the dance between her garden and her grief.
3 | ART/WORK: Sharon Lynn and the Path Taken
WestVirginiaVille is pleased to feature pieces from an evocative series of works by Mountain State artist Sharon Lynn. They feature children spotlighted in enigmatic settings, hinted at but never completely revealed. Her range and frequency is all the more remarkable as Sharon is a full-time clinical mental health counseling graduate student at Marshall University, a disability advocate, and writer.
4 | BACK/THEN: On the Bad Streets of Ann Magnuson’s Charleston Upbringing
We keep our eyes peeled for cool, offbeat social media postings with a West Virginia connection that may be worth further sharing. A new edition of ‘BACK/THEN’ harkens to past times in West Virginia — see how cultural avatar and West Virginia native Ann Magnuson responded to an historic shot of Summers Street in Charleston, WV, where she partly grew up.
5 | PHOTO/SHOW: A high-up visit to Robert Singleton’s West Virginia studio
In 2022, artist Robert Singleton will be honored as a Tamarack Foundation for the Arts Master Artist, including a big show of his work at the Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling, WV. Robert, who lives and paints at his home on an Allegheny Mountain ridge near Baker, WV, is on a creative jag at age 84. He will host an Open House exhibit and sale of more than a dozen new works on Aug. 14-15 and 22, along with new artwork by Dan Morro. I recently visited Robert, whose remarkable life is the subject of a forthcoming AMP Media documentary. Here are portraits of the artist in his sunlit studio.
6 | VIDEO: The Pillars of the WV Climate Alliance
The West Virginia Climate Alliance, a coalition of nearly 20 West Virginia-based environmental organizations, faith-based, civil rights and civic groups with a focus on climate change. I recently began doing some communications consulting with them, including a series of short videos. The one at the links describes the three pillars that drive Climate Alliance efforts. It also features stunning aerial drone photography by AMP Media/WestVirginiaVille.com Producer/Videographer Bobby Lee Messer.
PS: We love hearing from folks. You can respond below each story and feature, including this one. Or reach out via our CONTACT page.
Be well and stay safe | Douglas John Imbrogno
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EDITORS/NOTE: Elephant Ankles, a Dad’s love, Natural Sonatas, CROWN Act-ing & More: june7.2021: Welcome to the June 2021 issue of WestVirginiaVille. This edition covers lots of ground. It helps to have good people as guides, leading the way.
EDITORS/NOTE: The Art of Speaking Up: may52021: The May 2021 issue of WestVirginiaVille.com features a lot of folks speaking up, singing out, and asking, if not demanding to be heard. Here’s an overview of the issue’s content.
EDITORS/NOTE: A ‘ninety-something’ issue: april 17.2021: It was only after I got this issue’s “5 QUESTIONS” answers back from a 90-something Buddhist monk in the West Virginia outback I realized I was running an inadvertent theme issue with the April 2021 edition of WestVirginiaVille.