By Douglas John Imbrogno | WestVirginiaVille.com editor | June 2022
When I was an aspiring teenage essayist, jazzed by the dancing, dazzling work of Tom Wolfe, Harry Crews, Joan Didion, Oriana Fallaci and many others, I used to think that once you got the words right and their power and import exactly calibrated, they could change the world. Or at least nudge and affect its course a bit.
I don’t believe that nearly as much as I used to. A wordsmith confronts the spectre of a powerful, coordinated class of political henchmen who lie as casually as they breathe, so as to wield autocratic control. They’re aided by deeply amoral, mercenary media titans like Lachlan and Rupert Murdoch, grinning on their way to the bank.
Meanwhile, their butt-puckered-forehead media lackeys tan their masculine testicles as they toss truckloads of chaff into people’s eyes, while children’s faces are obliterated by the automatic weapons of teenagers armed like SWAT teams in a free-fire zone behind locked classroom doors.
Yet, still, I persist—perhaps ineffectually in my more doubting hours—in casting carefully crafted and edited words, and often too-long essays, into the ether via websites like this one (and this one). Also, soliciting and promoting the work of people whose own words, heart, and spirit speak to me. And, I hope, to a few of you.
We must seed the ground—however barren the fields of our collective dreams may look in the aftermath of the latest catastrophes—with a few sturdy, ever-seasonal sprouts of meaning. In hopes they will outlast the autocrats.
We do this so that on those blue-sky, sunny days that lift the spirit sky-high we can see beyond the people waving their blood-soaked hands to block the view while lying through their yellow teeth. So that a few words may break free and speak truth to the angels of all our better natures.
NOTE: As ever, thanks to Jeff Seager for his editing and feedback on this new issue!
What’s Up in the June 2022 Issue of West VirginiaVille
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EDITORS/NOTE/June2022: The Persistence of Meaning: I used to think once you got the words right they could change the world. I don’t believe that nearly as much as I used to. Yet, still, we persist in the face of oligarchs, wannabe autocrats and media lapdogs who want to tan men’s testicles.
‘HERO OF THE OPEN HEART’: A WV native’s global humanitarian life showcased in documentary: When “The Wake Up Call” make its West Virginia debut June 23, 2022 in the state’s capital city, the documentary will train a spotlight on a remarkable global humanitarian life which ranged far beyond the Appalachian hills where Dave Evans was born.
UKRAINE: How the Russian army helped to nationalize my country: A Ukrainian exchange student who studied in Charleston WV, reflects upon the devastation he finds all around him and his family in Mariupol after the Russian invasion of his homeland
VIDEO: A first-hand story about an elephant’s birth in West Virginia: They dreamed of an elephant for the parade capping off All Together Arts Week in southern West Virginia. But where do you get an elephant? A group of artists and elephant enablers decided they must do what they had to do: manifest one.
ONE/SONG: “It Ain’t More Damn Guns” by Chris Haddox: Chris Haddox’s Muses (they seem pretty pissed off and maybe you know the feeling) quick-produced the song “It Ain’t More Damn Guns,” reacting to the latest American gun catastrophe in Uvalde, Texas.
POETICS: “Appalachian Marie Kondo” by Crystal Good: I live in the disorder of a missing mother. / I sit in the middle of my mess. / I hear my mother’s voice: / You don’t need this. / This doesn’t fit. / When was the last time you used this? …
PICTURE/SHOW: A Taste for Solitude & Forests: Have I cared enough about the water? Have I left the eagle to soar in freedom? Have I done everything I could to earn my grandchild’s fondness?’
EVENT: Native Russian classical guitarist strums up a benefit for Ukraine: A Russian classical guitarist and newly christened American citizen living in West Virginia hosts a June 1 musical benefit for Ukraine, as he works passionately to counter an invasion he abhors.
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