SEPTEMBER 2021 ISSUE of WestVirginiaVille.com
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1) EDITORS/NOTE: Taking a look around WestVirginiaVille
2) PICTURE/SHOW: 36 Ways of Looking at Thomas WV
3) FIRST/PERSON: How COVID concerns ate my homework and (maybe) saved my life
4) RE/PRINT: ‘Almost Heaven ’Til We Get There’: Black Miners and Blair Mountain
5) READINGS: From “Corona Time Capsule” by James Cochran
6) VIDEO: Getting Kids Talking About Climate Change
By Douglas John Imbrogno | WestVirginiaVille.com | september2021
First things first. If you did not receive e-mail notice of this September 2021 issue’s release, you can rectify that by free subscribing to this monthly web magazine at: WestVirginiaVille.substack.com
Stop, Look, Listen
This month’s cover story was inspired by two weeks spent recently in Thomas, W.Va., a town I have been driving through for years on my way from here to there without really stopping for any length of time. I am glad I finally halted long enough to catch the flavor of this special redoubt in the West Virginia hills. One definition of ‘redoubt’ is: “A protected place of refuge or defense.” Thomas is indeed a refuge of creativity, coffee, and culture. May it remain ever so. I am smitten.
The Heart of the Matter
One of WestVirginiaVille’s behind-the-scenes stalwarts is a former colleague and old friend Jeff Seager. Way back in the day, we were staffers together in the glory days of the Don Marsh-era Charleston Gazette. Jeff helps copy edit and react to drafts of WestVirginiaVille ‘copy‘ (to use an old newspapering term), improving them immensely and making sure we/I don’t embarrass ourselves too much. He steps onto our pages himself in this issue with a heartening — both literal and figurative — first-person account of a life-threatening diagnosis he got recently and what happened next.
Black Miners and Blair Mountain
We are happy to reprint the work of Crystal Good, a writer and artist who describes herself as someone who “combats the erasure of Black identity in Appalachia.” She is founder and publisher of Black By God THE WEST VIRGINIAN, a print and multimedia publication “centering Black voices to address the widening information gap,” and to which you should subscribe. We reprint a piece she recently published that hits ‘pause‘ on the Battle of Blair Mountain 100th anniversary memorials this month, for a deeper look at the trope of racial solidarity among miners. Follow her on Twitter at: @cgoodwoman.
Readings from ‘Corona Time Capsule’
One definition of ‘recalcitrant’ is: “Stubbornly resistant to or defiant of authority or guidance. Synonym: obstinate.” I am recalcitrant/obstinate in my efforts to center poetry and poetic verse in my decades of editing and publishing, in both the print and digital realm despite the popular culture at large devaluing poetry as somehow the work of dilettantes and apostles of obscurity. Which is why we’re pleased to once again feature the poetry and prose of West Virginia-based poet James Cochran from his forthcoming poetic memoir, “I Am Appalachian.”
Kids Talking Climate Change
The next 30 days or so will determine whether the U.S. Congress finally takes groundbreaking action on the climate crisis — or whether once more the devildogs of a dying fossil fuel industry kick the can down the road, dooming children of today to a dire tomorrow. The stakes could not be higher. While adults dither, how do we get children to take the measure of the climate crisis? The short video, “LILLY’S CLASS: Kid’s Talk About Climate Change,” does just that. We urge kids, teachers, and parents to use it to kick off discussions in their families, classrooms, and communities.
PS: Climate Selfies to Manchin
The Citizen Climate Lobby West Virginia has mounted a campaign to send 15-second “climate selfies” to WV Sen. Joe Manchin, who very well could be the deciding vote on whether serious climate legislation finally passes Congress. Here is how to send him climate legislation encouragement: wvclimatealliance.org/blog/2021/9/send-a-climate-selfie-video-to-joe-manchin