Friday, September 28, 2018


I’ve been so busy with my Cloud of Witnesses book launch that I’ve had very little time to create.

As the day draws nigh I’ve been working on a book trailer which I will preview here in a bit. What’s truly wonderful is finding someone else’s work that resonates. While working on the book trailer (okay, I’m not a videographer or film editor, my friend Juan Carlos Garcon is the one working the magic) I felt like we needed some images that represented the region. It’s hard enough for kids to imagine life in the 1979/1980, let alone what things looked like in Athens County. Anyway, I stumbled onto a group of photographers and a project called “Looking at Appalachia

There were many pics that worked well with the book and the scenes I wanted to highlight, but had no idea of how to contact the photographers. We wanted to have the project done in time for the book launch. Alan Pittman’s photographs of West Virginia were just great. He had images of little country churches, hilltops shrouded in mist, a Ferris wheel, abandoned cars half buried in leaves, rural roads seemingly going nowhere. So I contacted him.

For the music I knew I needed someone willing to loan me their song. There’s a song Mama sings, “I’ll Fly Away,” but, even though that’s public domain (meaning free to use), it still didn’t fit. I wanted something younger, livelier, fun and engaging. At the Festival of Faith & Writing at Calvin College I was introduced to a young singer/songwriter Sorrow Estate. Actually we broke bread together. Myself and a friend were invited for breakfast, the most amazing sourdough bread ever, and Laura was there as a guest. This is all via the couchsurfing network I’m a part of. It was the worst spring weather ever. Outside there was literally ice falling from the sky. We sat in the dining room eating warm bread with spreads and drinking coffee and tea, talking about art. Afterwards Laura sang for us. We had nowhere to go because the roads were mostly impassable.

Her songs were magical. We bought a CD and arrange for her to do a house show in Chicago. Her song “Elsewhere” complete with whistling accompanies the video. A book trailer which is only a little over 60 seconds.

So stay tuned!

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