Colleen Anderson


Colleen Anderson owns Mother Wit Writing and Design, a creative studio in Charleston. In addition to essays, she writes poems, fiction, nonfiction, and songs. Two of her essays for West Virginia Public Radio have earned national awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRINDI). See more of Colleen’s work by visiting her website.

Steve Shaluta / West Virginia Division of Tourism

Like many others, I’m distressed and angry about the chemical leak that fouled my city’s water supply and turned off the taps for three hundred thousand taxpayers. But I can’t sustain my outrage without a dose of laughter now and then. And it occurs to me that Charleston may want to consider looking for a niche in the extreme tourism market. So, with the help of my co-writer and accompanist, George Castelle, I’ve put my thoughts into a song:

Charleston—the town inimical

Hip, historic, cool and chemical

Yes, there's sludge, and it could spill


Nov 22, 2013
Colleen Anderson

When my elderly parents moved to a retirement community in West Virginia, at my request, it was a tough transition. To lifelong flatlanders, my cherished mountains seemed oppressive, not protective. The roads were narrower and much twistier than those in Michigan. Their tiny new apartment was a poor substitute for the comfortable home where they’d lived for more than sixty years. And, even though they’d grown too frail to do much gardening, the hanging flower basket on their new balcony was nothing like a whole yard with trees, flowers, squirrels, and birds.