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Author Archives: WFHB News

Books Unbound – Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part One: Mrs. Stoddard


Elizabeth Stoddard (1823–1902) wrote most of her published fiction in the 1860s, during the turbulent years encompassing the American Civil War. While Stoddard’s novel The Morgensons (1862) is recognized as the neglected masterpiece of a strikingly original woman’s voice, the Books Unbound Summer 2015 series focuses on her short works of the decade—stories, poems, letters, and excerpts from her journalism and 1866 diary—and on the shorter novel Two Men, which was published two months after the surrender at Appomattox and deals with the themes of race and national identity.

“Part One: Mrs. Stoddard” takes its subtitle from her frequent byline “Mrs. R.H. Stoddard”. She was well over thirty when she began writing seriously, and at first wrote poetry in the shadow of her husband—who today is universally regarded as the lesser writer. Prose became a way for her to assert her independent voice. The distinctive quality of her novels was recognized by reviewers, but she was considered difficult and never won over a wide readership. In many ways, Stoddard embraced Victorian values, including the centrality of marriage. But her interest as a writer in marriage lies in the constraints it places on women and their self-fulfillment, and her ostensibly happy endings require the wife to submit to compromises.

The featured story is “The Prescription,” read by Lauren Robert. For its time, “The Prescription” (1864) was a frank depiction of domestic abuse by a domineering husband. Though listeners today are likely to find the ending unsatisfying, the first-person narrator finds a gateway for the emergence of an independent self through writing a diary.

The episode includes an excerpt from Stoddard’s own diary and two letters read by Sarah Torbeck, and two poems read by Erin Livingston. Heather Perry hosts, and executive producer Joe Crawford is guest announcer.

Special music comes from the Piano Quintet in F Minor of Johannes Brahms, written in the same year as “The Prescription” and published in 1865. The quintet was performed by Jorja Fleezanis, Wu Han, Ian Swensen, Ralph Kirshbaum, and Cynthia Phelps, and was recorded live at the Music@Menlo chamber music festival in 2005. The Books Unbound theme is by The Impossible Shapes.

“Elizabeth Stoddard and the 1860s, Part One: Mrs. Stoddard” was produced, written and edited by Cynthia Wolfe, with production assistance from Heather Perry, Sarah Torbeck, and Jack Hanek.

“He’s Not Unusual” – Church Massacre Suspect Dyllan Roof and Institutionalized Racism


Interchange host Doug Storm spoke yesterday with Amrita Myers, an Associate Professor of History and Gender Studies at Indiana University and author of Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston. Myers spoke about institutionalized racism, extreme right-wing organizations and other elements of context for the June 17th murder of nine people in the oldest Black church south of Baltimore, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

A more full version of this conversation will be featured on Interchange on Tuesday, June 23 at 6 p.m., in an episode about the “significant insignificance” of Juneteenth, a historical date commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.

Interchange – Framing the Self: Conversations on Photography and Autobiography


Tonight’s Interchange brings together two episodes that first aired on WFHB’s The Custom House in the summer of 2013. Part One, “Writing on Pictures,” is a discussion with photographer Jeffrey Wolin about how he integrates the written word into his portraits to make stories that are both deeply personal and broadly cultural. Part Two, “Hark! Who Goes There?,” features a conversation with John Eakin about writing autobiography and the way the self is something of an ongoing fiction.

Part One: Writing on Pictures

Jeffrey Wolin mixes the word with the image to produce portraits that seem to stand as much as social and cultural commentary as they do Art, and appear to turn the very subject of that portrait into commentary as well. Wolin’s recent books consist of portrait series that included Holocaust survivors (Written in Memory: Portraits of the Holocaust) and Vietnam War Veterans (Inconvenient Stories). He’s currently working on a series of portraits depicting Bloomington, Indiana residents from a section of the town called Pigeon Hill across a twenty-year span.

Wolin’s Pigeon Hill project was highlighted recently in the online magazine Slate in a post titled,
What 20 Years Have Done to the People of This Small Indiana Community

“It’s endlessly fascinating to see what happens to us over time,” he said, noting that a full generation had passed since he first took the portraits. “Speaking about our memories is a creative process that changes and morphs all the time. That isn’t to say they aren’t truthful. Sometimes your memory becomes clearer after some time as well.”

Part Two, Hark! Who Goes There?

This segment features a conversation with John Eakin about writing autobiography and the way the self is fictive and often re-writable.

We try to locate our mysterious metamorphic “me” within the commonplace act of telling stories. Our guide is an expert in the storying self, John Eakin, Ruth N. Halls Professor Emeritus of English at Indiana University, whose most recent book is Living Autobiographically: How We Create Identity in Narrative (Cornell University Press, 2008). And it’s the “commonplace” or dailiness of “identity practice” that is even more intrinsic than such an institutional practice as that of the school assignments that bookend this very act of life-composition: Write your autobiography…Write your obituary. It’s how we practice that “life in the middest” that makes us who we are at any given moment.

Extended Conversations
The Custom House – Writing on Pictures (Extended Conversation w/Jeffrey Wolin)

The Custom House – Hark! Who Goes There? Locating the Self in the Stories We Tell (Extended Conversation w/John Eakin)

Next week on Interchange, “The Significant Insignificance of Juneteenth.” Chances are you might not have heard of Juneteenth, but it’s time to rectify that. I’ll be joined by Amira Millicent Davis to discuss General Order No. 3, read aloud on June 19, 1865, by Union General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas announcing the total emancipation of slaves, nearly three years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.

Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Books Unbound – The Mulatto


Books Unbound revisits “The Mulatto,” a short story that first appeared in 1837 in an anti-slavery magazine published by free people of color in France. Its author was the 19-year-old Victor Séjour, who had come as a student to Paris from New Orleans. Séjour was a French-speaking person of color whose baptismal record identifies him as a free quadroon. His father had come to New Orleans among refugees of the Haitian Revolution. “The Mulatto” is set in Haiti, and is thought to be the first short story published by an American of African descent.

It’s a frank melodrama, a mode of extreme passion and good-and-evil morality that permeated 19th-century fiction and drama. An oedipal tragic secret lies at the heart of a story fueled by rape, injustice, revenge and murder. Gothic elements of horror speak to the violence done to family within the institution of slavery. Séjour went on to have a highly successful career as a dramatist, with twenty of his plays in a variety of genres produced at the Comédie Française.

“The Mulatto” was originally part of a Books Unbound series on race in literature that was broadcast in early 2015. Indiana University associate professor Maisha Wester discusses the racial implications of gothic melodrama.

Our reader is Lauren Robert. Sarah Torbeck hosts, with Jack Hanek as the announcer. Special music comes from the Twelve Grand Études of Frédéric Chopin, which were published the same year as “The Mulatto”, performed by Martha Goldstein courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. The episode was produced and written by Cynthia Wolfe, with the interview produced by Doug Storm. Special thanks to Community Access Television Services for recording this week’s reading.

Executive producer: Joe Crawford

Theme music: The Impossible Shapes


bloomingOUT – June 11, 2015


Tonight, hosts Jeff Poling and Ryne Shadday interview Rachael Jones, the owner of Rachael’s Cafe. The music tonight was “Songs I Can’t Listen To” by Neon Trees. BloomingOUT would like to thank Rachael Jones for her time on the show.


Hosts Ryne Shadday, Jeff Poling

Executive Producer Joe Crawford

Producer Olivia Davidson

Board Engineer Jorge Guillen and Andrew Sims

Social Media Coordinators Megan McCullough, and Jacob Samples

EcoReport – June 11, 2015


Community Members Raise Concerns of PCB Contamination. For decades, a group of chemical compounds called PCBs have caused massive problems in Bloomington. In today’s feature, Emily Beck looks in to the current status of PCB contamination in the city.

EcoReport – Community Members Raise Concerns of PCB Contamination


For decades, a group of chemical compounds called PCBs have caused massive problems in Bloomington. In today’s feature, Emily Beck looks in to the current status of PCB contamination in the city.

IN Nature – Polyphemus Moth


The Polyphemus Moth is a giant silk moth, with a wingspan up to 6″.

Daily Local News – June 10, 2015


Indiana has one of the weakest economies in the United States, according to figures released today by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis; The women’s political organization Emily’s List has announced that Governor Mike Pence is at the top of its twenty-sixteen election cycle targets; Indiana’s  First Church of Cannabis has found a home, despite marijuana use still being illegal in the state; An issue before the Monroe County Board of Zoning Appeals last week brought up concerns about land surrounding Lake Monroe; Two Ball State University Researchers say they have found what could be a key to manufacturers retaining employees.


“Senator Coats Calls Out Wasteful Defense Contractors”

This week the United States Senate is debating a proposed six-hundred-twelve-billion-dollar budget for the Department of Defense. Speaking before the Senate today, Senator Dan Coats of Indiana took on one particular section of the military budget as he gave his regular Waste of the Week speech. Coats criticized wasteful defense contractors, particularly one company that has recently been accused of misspending millions of dollars in Afghanistan. Coats does not mention the contractor  by name. But a report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction indicates the alleged violator is the Imperatis Corporation, based in Arlington, Virginia. As of 2012, the company had more than a billion dollars worth of contracts with the American military. We bring you a portion of Coats’ speech now, in this WFHB report.


Two-thirds of American adults (and way too many kids) need to lose weight, and there are more scammers working this field than perhaps any other. So called “miracle” products are ALL phony!


Anchors: Kelly Wherley, Araceli Gomez
Today’s headlines were written by Kara Tullman, Ivy Bridges and Jack Hanek along with David Murphy for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services.
Better Beware was produced by Richard Fish,
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford
Our engineers today are Jim Lang and Matt Gwaltney
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford

New Marijuana Church To Test The Religious Freedom Act


Indiana’s  First Church of Cannabis has found a home, despite marijuana use still being illegal in the state. The new church announced last night it is opening a location on the eastside of  Indianapolis at thirty-four-hundred South Rural Street. The church’s founder, cannabis enthusiast Bill Levin, refers to himself as the Minister of Love and Grand Pooba of the Church. Members of the church call themselves Cannataerians and say they follow The New Deity Dozen,  a list of twelve commandments Levin created.  Commandments include “don’t be an internet troll” and “cannabis, the healing plant, is our sacrament.” Levin says that his religion is not based on worshiping cannabis, rather it focuses on celebrating life, love, and good health.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act inspired Levin to create his church. He says he wanted to see what he could accomplish under the RFRA, which prohibits the government from infringing on certain religious practices. The Internal Revenue Service deemed the First Church of Cannabis  a nonprofit organization and granted the church tax-exempt status. Gifts to the church by donors can be deducted for tax purposes and the church itself is eligible for a property tax exemption in the state. The church has received considerable public support, and has received more than fifteen thousand dollars in donations on its Go Fund Me page.

The first service has been set for July first, the  same day that Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act becomes law. Levin says that the service will begin with a half-hour of music, followed by a thirty-five-minute service celebrating life. Levin says at the end of the service, worshippers will  “spark up”.  The church, which is expected to hold one-hundred-fifty to two-hundred members, is looking for volunteers to renovate the site.

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