Bill Lynch Published

Coming To A Theater Near Me

Bill Lynch dressed as Daniel Tiger poses for a photo under a balloon arch and gives two thumbs up.
Mostly willing to talk about Inside Appalachia. Always willing to wear a costume in public.
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

I could hardly turn down the opportunity, but when Volunteer West Virginia asked me if I’d like to speak at the regional conference they were hosting, I said yes without really thinking.

This is a recurring pattern in my life.

But delivering an address sounded like an opportunity to spread the good word about Inside Appalachia and our program Folkways, which explores art and culture in Appalachia.

Sometimes to get people to listen to your radio show or podcast, you have to go tell them about it first. Volunteer West Virginia anticipated a crowd of around 400 people – 400 people who maybe have never heard of Inside Appalachia. That sounded pretty good to me, though my experience with public speaking is a little spotty.

I’ve spoken intelligently before groups of about a dozen and spoken less coherently in front of groups of nearly a hundred. I’ve given good speeches nobody remembers and bad ones I still remember, like the time I spoke at a community center during a celebration for Mahatma Gandhi.

The nicest thing anyone told me that night about my speech was that I was brief.

Honestly, Volunteer West Virginia would do better with someone who could sing or do magic tricks, but that kind of thing costs money and I’ll work for fun-sized candy bars, chewing gum and a bottle of water.

That’s what I got for dressing as Daniel Tiger at an event at the Kanawha County Public Library last year, which was more than I took home as Buster Bunny at the West Virginia Book Festival.

I say yes to a lot of things, but how often do you get to dress up like a beloved children’s cartoon character?

But I’m game to give Volunteer West Virginia a good show.

Volunteer West Virginia has asked me to talk to their guests about Appalachia and the future of our region, something our radio show and podcast explores every week.

Probably, they’d have wanted me to be a little more well-versed in the subject, but what they asked also seemed to fit the overall mission of “Lore,” which is for me to learn about Appalachian culture.

And who doesn’t love a deadline?

So, now I have four months to come up with an engaging, half-hour presentation about Appalachia, its future – and also maybe work in something about Charleston for the visitors.

The last part seemed easy. I can tell you how to get to all the bakeries in the county, and which one has the best scone.

Bill knows scones. Credit: Bill Lynch

I work for West Virginia Public Broadcasting. We aired six seasons of Downton Abbey (which I watched). I think I’m expected to like scones.

Volunteer West Virginia said I had a lot of leeway. I could do slides. I could bring in guests.

I said I could come up with something.