PHOTOS by ELAINE MCMILLION for HOLLOW Chandler Swope, a Bluefield resident originally from Welch, emailed me yesterday and offered to fly us over McDowell County in his hellicopter. Today we took him up on the opportunity and it was awesome. Swope flew us around for a couple hours and shared knowledge of the county and all the places we filmed. We really appreciate Swope’s contribution to HOLLOW and can’t wait to share the video footage with viewers when we launch next May!
It’s interesting how many West Virginians (and Appalachians) know “hollow” (pronounced: holler) as a place where people live/a road/neighborhood/community but yet the actual definition of the word couldn’t be more different:
Having a cavity, gap, or space within: a hollow wall.
Deeply indented or concave; sunken
Without substance or character: a hollow person.
Devoid of truth or validity
Having a reverberating, sepulchral sound: hollow footsteps.
A cavity, gap, or space: a hollow behind a wall.
An indented or concave surface or area.
A void; an emptiness: a hollow in one’s life.
A small valley between mountains (this rings the most true for me)
For the purposes of this project, I chose “Hollow” because it symbolizes home to many while also symbolizing emptiness (population loss).
However, I find it quite intriguing how a word that many use to describe their beloved and secure home also signifies a place that is void of “substance.”
Part of the project will be devoted to supporting music and arts within McDowell County. I came across the great band “South 52” who’s musical style is perfect for the stories coming from this county. Check out their music on MySpace and their Facebook page.