The Williams River

I woke up and felt a breeze on my face.  The strains of a mandolin and sunshine floated into the tent. 

My back hurt and I was cold, but I was happy.  At one with the universe.

We were celebrating Donnie’s life while she was still with us to enjoy her own wake.  Camping on the Williams River with the Bing Brothers – what we called a Bing Thing.  Always a good time. 

The rock falls on the Williams River.

This one was bittersweet.  It was the 4th of July weekend in the early ‘90s – I had 4 days off or something like that.  It was enough time to relax and get into the timeless groove of good music, good food, and good company in good surroundings.  The Williams River campsite in Pocahontas County was rustic and pristine.  It was cool – sometimes cold – a nice escape from the insufferable heat of the Ohio Valley.  These people had been camping there for years – loved it, honored it, took care of it.  There were a big bunch of us, yet it was still private and intimate.  A contradiction in many ways, but enjoyable in them all.

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Monsoon Season in a Temperate Rain Forest

I am not in the mood for this rain this morning.  Not in the least.  I need a crisp fall day with crystalline blue skies and the occasional orange leaf wafting past my window while I write.

Photo by Nick Nice on Unsplash

I have two deadlines for two major projects that have already gone by.  I asked for and received an extension on both, but now it’s do or die time.  I do not need to be drowsy and in fear of my power going out.

I’ve never lived anywhere where it rained like this.  Not even in Hawaii in the rainy season.  I call these the monsoon seasons and we have two of them – one in the spring and one in fall.  However, this past spring, they never ended.  It’s just been one very wet summer.  I am weary of rain.

West Virginia is a temperate rainforest.  Really.  I looked it up once and Seattle has nothing on us for rainy days.  It’s just that we concentrate our rain and have deluges.  I had a girlfriend visiting from San Francisco one time during one of our downpours.  She was both amazed and terrified.  She kept saying different things in the vein of, “If this was California we would be ordered to shelter in place.”  Here?  Life just goes on unless it floods.  I surely hope Ian doesn’t treat us to floods.  We’ve had more than our fair share.

When we moved to West Virginia the first time, I lived on the third floor of an old Southside Huntington brick.  There were sloping ceilings and one set of windows near my bed that went from floor to ceiling.  I could lie on the bed, watch the rain, read, and dream my high school dreams.  It was lovely. 

As the years went by, it became less and less lovely.  We transferred to Wisconsin where monsoons don’t happen and there is an abundance of sunny days, albeit often cold.  Very cold.  Blue skies in the winter guaranteed subzero temperatures.  It had to warm up to snow.

We transferred back here and moved into the barn with its tin roof.  Oh, how glorious, rain on a tin roof is!  My family room is still under a tin roof – I negotiated with the insurance agent who made us get a real roof if we wanted coverage.  So, I still get that roar of rain in this room.  The room where I write.  The room where I have to, have to, have to be productive today.

The sound is hypnotic, and I want nothing more than to curl up on the sofa with the puppies, a cup of coffee, and a good book.  But I procrastinated myself into this situation and I must muscle my way out of it.  By the sounds of it, it will still be raining after I’m finished.  I’ll get cuddle time, yet which is good.  I’m in sore need of downtime.

My Front Door

I live in a converted barn.  When we first started working on it, I learned about supporting walls.  These are walls you can’t knock down unless you put a beam in, and walls you can’t move.  And walls that need a lot of structural support.

We had a few.  They were the bane of my existence.  There were walls where I didn’t want them to be.  Coming up with a floor plan was daunting. 

Finally, I had a Eurkea! Moment.  I found the floor plan that worked for everything I wanted except one thing. 

The main entrance to my house, the front door, opened into my kitchen.

This is just awkward. 

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100 Days of Badass Women

I interrupt this blog to bring you a note from Doug Imbrogno, founder and editor of Westvirginiaville – a digital magazine.

The short version is that “100 Days of Badass Women” is a semi-finalist in a new online film event called the Paris Women Festival. You’ll have to read more to find out why I am so proud of this accomplishment!

NOTE: View the film here:


THERE ARE A BUNCH OF world-class artists at work in West Virginia. The habitual ‘hillbilly chauvinism’ against the state often obscures their work to the wider global audience it deserves. Yet, at least in the case of Cabell County-based artist Sassa Wilkes (they/them), artful judges are noticing. I’m pleased to report the 19-minute AmpMediaProject 2021 documentary, “100 Days of Badass Women,” about Sassa’s remarkable artistry and “badass women” portrait series, has earned semi-finalist status in a new online film event called the Paris Women Festival (yes, THAT Paris, not Paris, Texas).

This continues an impressive run whenever I submit to filmfests this showcase of Sassa and their art and philosophy, in a video crafted by Bobby Lee Messer and myself from a Connie Kinsey interview. The doc has earned spots in: the 2021 versions of the SiciliAmbiente Festival; the Montreal Independent Film Festival; the Chicago Indie Film Awards; Venice Shorts in Venice, California; and was an award winner in the 2021 Accolade Global Film Competition and Best Shorts Competition.

Lest you think I dressed in drag to enter this new online fest, here’s how the festival self-describes: “Paris International Women Festival is a competitive online event that valorizes the work of women filmmakers or films about women. In this festival, we are looking for a unique and innovative perspective from female filmmakers to introduce them and promote them. We also accept projects directed by non-female directors who have something important to say about womanhood. We are an online event based in Paris and we are dedicated to female cinema.”

Sassa (and Connie) indeed have something important to say, show and reveal. Bravo to a West Virginia artist and work deserving of all the success in a world that is actually taking notice of this showcase of it. -Doug Imbrogno