Catherine V. Moore — Writer & Producer

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

My Latest in CJR

In Appalachia, Nonfiction, Print, Uncategorized on August 12, 2017 at 7:06 pm

AFTER THE 2016 ELECTION, the calls and emails rolled into West Virginia, as the press scrambled to make sense of a place that hadn’t occupied this much space on the national political stage since John F. Kennedy’s 1960 primary.

“We’re looking for a family in a trailer park.”

“We’re looking for a holler. How do we get there?”

“I need a Trump-supporting son of a coal miner who doesn’t think coal is coming back. Do you know one?”

Even before Donald Trump’s election, Appalachia was treated as a kind of Rosetta stone for deciphering rural white poverty in America. Read More…

Two New Projects

In Announcements, Appalachia, Audio, Black History, Cedar Grove, coal, Economic Transition, Fayette County, Mary Lee Settle, Multimedia, Paint Creek, Photography, Uncategorized, West Virginia History, Women's History on February 9, 2016 at 2:04 pm

The studio is really humming these days as I prepare to launch TWO new projects this spring…

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.00.59 PMThe Paint Creek Audio History Project is a geo-located series of radio stories featuring the voices of people who live on beautiful Paint Creek, WV. These ten stories became the basis of an audio driving tour delivered via mobile app, as well as a new website for the Paint Creek Scenic Trails Association. Look for info soon on a fun launch event we are planning for this spring!

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 1.03.09 PM

And, finally, (FINALLY!), I released my hour long radio documentary, Cedar Grove. Drawing from the writing of Mary Lee Settle and a chorus of voices from her hometown of Cedar Grove, WV, I search for a viable future for my home during a time of deep transition. The project includes a beautiful website by Drew Tanner of Odd Boat Studio, featuring a photography collaboration with Roger May. Gibbs Kinderman is the executive producer, the editor is Ben Shapiro. Cedar Grove was co-produced by Allegheny Mountain Radio and West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and me. Air dates coming soon!

These projects would not have been possible without the financial support of The West Virginia Humanities Council, the National Coal Heritage Area Authority, the Fayette County Commission, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Rednecks and Heritage Tourism in Yes! Magazine

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2015 at 11:25 am

People Celebrating the 2015 Grand Opening of WV Mine Wars Museum

The room was wall-to-wall rednecks: dust-smudged coal miners, grandmas in flowery dresses, mussy-haired young punks, and old-timers in union ball caps. The red bandannas they wore around their necks spoke of a radical history you won’t read about in the average American history book. This colorful crew of about 500 souls had traveled from neighboring hollers and all over the country to mark the grand opening of the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum, which I helped launch last weekend in the coalfields of Appalachia. I wrote about it, and the potential for heritage tourism, in Yes! Magazine.

READ ABOUT IT IN YES! MAGAZINE

MORE RED NECK PHOTO BOOTH AND WV MINE WARS MUSEUM PHOTOS

Backbone Mountain

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Wind turbines on Backbone Mountain, near Thomas, WV. 

My New Bangin’ Beautiful Studio

In Uncategorized on January 17, 2014 at 2:16 pm
1525116_10101226819954771_642803760_n

A corner office fit for a coal baron in the old New River Coal Company headquarters in Mt. Hope, WV

Grandma Moore's chair and vases. Great-grandma Laura Venable's table from China. And my old Rheinmetall typewriter.

Grandma Moore’s chair and vases. Great-grandma Laura Venable’s table from China. And my old Rheinmetall typewriter.

Corner office. I wonder if the coal baron Ebersole Gaines once worked here.

Corner office–I wonder if the coal baron Ebersole Gaines worked from here. My main work desk is made from an old display counter from the company store.

My current project--laying out the Cedar Grove audio documentary.

My current project–laying out the Cedar Grove audio documentary on my friend Savanna’s old desk. (I miss you, Savanna!)

Time to get to work.

Time to get to work. Thanks for the mug, mom.

 

 

 

 

Moving Parts

In Appalachia, Black History, Cedar Grove, Current Projects, Mary Lee Settle, Uncategorized, West Virginia History, Women's History on September 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm
A crude mind map of the Cedar Grove documentary, later refined during a week at the Center for Documentary Studies...

A crude mind map of the Cedar Grove documentary, later refined during a week at the Center for Documentary Studies…

Cedar Grove Teaser

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2013 at 10:57 am

“An autobiography that begins with one’s birth begins too late, in the middle of the story, sometimes at the end.” So begins “Addie,” the autobiography of acclaimed writer Mary Lee Settle. The National Book Award winner chose to tell her own story through the voice of her larger-than-life grandmother, Addie Lee Tompkins. Settle also wrote a series of five obsessively researched historical novels set in her ancestral home of Cedar Grove, West Virginia. Known collectively as The Beulah Quintet, the novels trace the area’s history over 400 years, from Cromwell’s England all the way to the late 20th century. Like other small towns in the Upper Kanawha Valley, present day Cedar Grove struggles with depopulation, addiction, and drug-related crime. Producer Catherine Moore spent a year talking to the women who live in the town today about their memories and experiences. In this piece, Mary Lee Settle talks about her work in archival interviews, backed up by the voices of the women who now live in the community she spent her life writing about. 

CREDITS

* The voices in this piece belong to: Paula Clendenin, Jean Lamb, Lynette Hudnall, Peggy Coleman, Katherine Atwater, and Shirley Ellis Stennet, all of whom live or grew up in Cedar Grove. You’ll also hear the musical stylings of Patty Ellis Thurmon and the St. Paul Men’s Chorus out of St. Albans, WV.

* Archival interviews of Mary Lee Settle were available thanks to:
– “In Their Own Country,” produced by Kate Long in 2002. The Gabriel Award-winning series highlights 14 celebrated West Virginia writers.
– “Tell It On The Mountain,” hosted by poet Nikki Giovanni and produced in the mid-90′s by Maxine Kenny at WMMT, the public radio station of Appalshop in Whitesburg, K.y. The series featured women writers who call the southern Appalachian Mountains home.
– “The Author,” hosted by Bill Drennan in 1991 for the WV Library Commission.
– “The Author,” hosted by Gordon Simmons in 2003 for the WV Library Commission.
– Kay Bonetti’s 1982 interview with Mary Lee Settle for the American Prose Audio Library.

* This piece is made possible by funding from the West Virginia Humanities Council and the support of Allegheny Mountain Radio/Pocahontas Communications Cooperative.

Cedar Grove Summer Updates

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2013 at 10:37 am

CGWWI

Dear Supporters of Cedar Grove —

Hope you’re enjoying a festive WV Sesquicentennial Summer! Here we are again with news and updates on “Cedar Grove,” an hour-long radio documentary that tells the story of an Upper Kanawha Valley town through the voices of generations of women who have called it home, including acclaimed writer Mary Lee Settle. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to these past months.

* Sneak Peak! During a 2-week work session at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University this month, we produced a 10-minute rough cut “teaser” that previews some of the stories we’ll be telling in the longer piece. In it you’ll hear the voices of Mary Lee Settle, Paula Clendenin, Jean Lamb, Lynette Hudnall, Peggy Coleman, Katherine Atwater, and Shirley Ellis Stennet–not to mention the musical stylings of Patty Ellis Thurmon and the St. Paul Men’s Chorus out of St. Albans, WV. It’s rough, but ready enough to share…Take a read through the “host intro” and then go listen! 

Host Intro: “An autobiography that begins with one’s birth begins too late, in the middle of the story, sometimes at the end.” So begins “Addie,” the autobiography of acclaimed writer Mary Lee Settle. The National Book Award winner chose to tell her own story through the voice of her larger-than-life grandmother, Addie Lee Tompkins. Settle also wrote a series of five obsessively researched historical novels set in her ancestral home of Cedar Grove, West Virginia. Known collectively as The Beulah Quintet, the novels trace the area’s history over 400 years, from Cromwell’s England all the way to the late 20th century. Like other small towns in the Upper Kanawha Valley, present day Cedar Grove struggles with depopulation, addiction, and drug-related crime. Producer Catherine Moore spent a year talking to the women who live in the town today about their memories and experiences. In this piece, Mary Lee Settle talks about her work in archival recordings, backed up by the voices of the women who now live in the community she spent her life writing about. 

Listen here. 

* Fundraising for Photo Series We are currently raising funds to pay a West Virginia photographer to create a series of portraits of the women of Cedar Grove who are participating in the project, plus some street scapes and atmospheric shots of town for use on the website. If you would like to make a tax-deductable donation to support the photo project, contact Catherine (beautymountainstudio@gmail.com / 304-663-2202). Checks can be made payable to Pocahontas Communications Cooperative and mailed to Allegheny Mountain Radio / Cedar Grove Project, Attn. Gibbs Kinderman / RR 1 Box 139 / Dunmore, WV 24934. Be sure and note on the check that the donation is for Cedar Grove. We really appreciate the support!

* Research on Tompkins slaves — The saga continues! We are now in touch with a member of the Tompkins family who may be in possession of a list of the names of enslaved people at the Tompkins plantation. This family member has generously agreed to let us comb through their papers this month. Wish us luck in unburying the identities of the people who truly built Cedar Grove.

* Booker T. Washington High School alumni gather every week at their former school in London to eat together, talk, and sing hymns. The segregated school was home to black students in the Upper Kanawha Valley until 1956. Catherine attended several meetings and recorded two of the oldest women present, who founded the group. Though a little shy of the microphone at first, they opened up quickly and said they enjoyed the opportunity to share their history.

* Archival Research Continues — Research trips to the University of Virginia Special Collections Library and the West Virginia State Archives have yielded many recordings of Mary Lee Settle reading and talking about her work, as well as some interesting Cedar Grove-related manuscripts. One favorite has been the diary of Jimmie Jones, born in 1853 and one of the early residents of Ward, right next to Cedar Grove. In his journals we found entries detailing Addie’s husband’s death on the train tracks, mine wars, and lots of hunting stories.

We’ll be doing a few more field recordings over the next several months–including the annual Thanksgiving service at historic Virginia’s Chapel–but recording for the project is more or less wrapped up. Now we’re moving on to the work of editing and shaping the piece, as well as building a website.

As always, you can plug in by spreading the word about the project and, if your budget allows, making a donation to support the photo series.

Take care, and enjoy the remaining summer!

–Catherine

Beauty Mountain Gets a Studio

In Uncategorized on May 23, 2013 at 9:58 am

Beauty Mountain Studio now has a studio! I’m so happy to say that I’m now a tenant at the BellAnn Building in Oak Hill, beautifully restored by Lights On! WV and the first LEED-certified building under private ownership in the state. There’s a great community of people working here, and the zen-like atmosphere has changed my world dramatically. If you’re looking for an office in southern WV, check this place out. There’s even a big fancy conference room, kitchen, shower, and deck.

Golden Gospel Gems

In Cedar Grove, Current Projects, Mary Lee Settle, Uncategorized, West Virginia History on January 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm

IMG_3616On a recent visit to Cedar Grove, I visited Virginia’s Chapel, a.k.a. The Old Brick Church. Inside, I found a pile of “Golden Gospel Gems.” These simple hymnals are adorned with a sketch of the church on the cover, but an original hymn inside is the real find. “The Old Brick Church,” written in 1948 by one M. Homer Cummings, fondly describes the speaker’s childhood church by the side of the road and the inspiring songs he sang there.

(Oh, the dearest spot on this earth to me Is the church of my childhood days! … Gospel songs and hymns we would often sing: “Beulah Land” and “Amazing Grace”)

He continues on to list several other favorite hymns, but what’s interesting is that the first he mentions is “Beulah Land,” also the title of one of the novels in Mary Lee Settle’s Beulah Quintet. It makes me wonder whether childhood church services at Cedar Grove also inspired Settle’s naming of her project. Or whether she, too, found a stray copy of “Golden Gospel Gems” on a visit to Cedar Grove.

Turns out Cummings was a hymner born in 1890 near Pickaway in Monroe County. A 1916 bio from “A History of Monroe County” refers to a self-published hymnal called “Echoes from Beulah.” Seems he and Settle had a shared interest.

Beulah is a Biblical reference from Isaiah 62:4: Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

The verse inspired a hymn by Edgar Page Stites. Here’s the chorus, also an epigraph to Settle’s 1956 novel, O Beulah Land:

O Beulah land, sweet Beulah land!
As on thy highest mount I stand,
I look away across the sea
Where mansions are prepared for me
And view the shining glory shore
My heaven, my home forever more.

IMG_3609

OldBrickChurchHymn