Category Archives: In the News

Book caps iReporter’s Mississippi journey

By David Williams, CNN iReport Community Manager

REPUBLISHED FROM THE CNN iREPORT BLOG

World traveler Neal Moore let us follow along with him on iReport when he made his solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River in 2009, so we were really excited when his new book about the journey arrived in the mail.

“Down the Mississippi: A Modern-Day Huck on America’s River Road” chronicles Moore’s five-month journey from its source at Lake Itasca in Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana. He made the trip because he wanted to find and tell positive stories about the people living along the river.

Mark Twain and his iconic character Huckleberry Finn were a big influence on the project — his co-author Dr. Cindy Lovell is the executive director of the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum in Hannibal, Missouri.

Moore’s been living in Taiwan, but is back in the United States to promote the book. We were able to catch up with him by email to ask him about the project.

What are you doing now that your book is out? Are you doing book tours or anything like that?

Yes, my co-author, Dr. Cindy Lovell, and myself are currently out promoting the launch of the book here in the States (as a bit of a mini-tour). I did a book release in Oxford, Mississippi. We just launched the book in Hannibal, and we’ll be taping a segment for NPR/St. Louis Public Radio.

Where do you live these days?

I’m moving back to Cape Town, South Africa, this coming week, a gem of a city I’ve lived in, off and on, for the past twenty years.

How long did it take to write the book?

The book took two years to complete from the time my co-author and myself began, just following the completion of my Mississippi River canoe journey in late 2009. In the book, Dr. Lovell conjures up Twain’s words directly into the text. So you’ve got the physical journey, the stories of the towns, and Twain, who encourages, reprimands, and comments on the characters encountered all along the way.

Where did you write the book?

I wrote my portion of the book in some of my favorite locales along the Mississippi River journey: in Oxford, Mississippi, a literary-minded village; Hannibal, Missouri, Twain’s hometown; and northeast Iowa, on a rambling family farm. I then flew on to East Asia where I completed the writing of the final third of the book, late last year.

Where can people buy the book if they’re interested?

The eBook version is now available via Kindle. A print edition of the book is available at the Mark Twain Museum and will soon be available at leading independent bookstores nationwide – to be found on http://moderndayhuck.com/.

What’s your next big adventure?

I’m currently gearing up for the next big adventure to take place in South Asia. I’m intending to set it up as a rambling, roving report similar to the Mississippi River expedition, but with a different twist.

Congratulations Neal! We can’t wait to see your stories from South Africa and around the world.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under In the News, iReport, Literary Reverie, On CNN, Wanderlust

CNN.COM: A modern-day Huck Finn

ATLANTA, GEORGIA (CNN.COM) —

iReporter Neal Moore left the northern source of the Mississippi River in July and ended his trip in New Orleans in December, traversing the Mighty Mississippi the whole way by canoe. His mission was not only to document his canoe journey but also report on and participate in positive and uplifting stories of American communities along the way. To see the CNN.com expedition interview CLICK HERE and to view CNN.com’s “Down the Mississippi” retrospective CLICK HERE.

2 Comments

Filed under In the News, On CNN, On the Mississippi, Wanderlust

Flash River Safari on CNN’s “This Week in iReport”

Chikan

Super Chikan in his Chicken Shack, Clarksdale, MS

Flash River Safari has been mentioned on CNN’s weekly citizen journalism wrap-up “This Week in iReport”.  The short piece, which features Super Chickan, will run this weekend on CNN North America & the main page of CNN.com. To view the segment CLICK HERE.

2 Comments

Filed under In the News, On CNN, On the Mississippi, Wanderlust

Journalist tells American tales on journey down Mississippi River

By ALYSSA SCHNUGG

OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI (The Oxford Eagle)

NealOxford

Photo by Bruce Newman for the OXFORD EAGLE

Spending the last 20 years overseas in Africa and Asia, citizen journalist and creative activist Neal Moore has returned to his native country to get reacquainted with its natural beauty and its people, and to share their stories with the rest of the world via CNN’s iReport series and his own Web site.

Moore has been traveling down the Mississippi River in a canoe since July 10. His goal is to travel the entire length of the mighty Mississippi – 2,320 miles, from its source in Lake Itasca in Minnesota to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico – by December.

Along the way, Moore stops at neighboring cities and towns and reports on local community projects, highlighting what makes each area special.

“This trip is really to take myself out of my comfort zone,” Moore told The EAGLE Tuesday.  “When you do that, incredible things can happen. It’s really exciting to be surrounded by the wilderness.  It makes you feel wild as well.”

Telling ‘real’ stories

Born and raised in Los Angeles, the 38-year-old says he always loved to travel. Twenty years ago, he moved to Africa.  From there, he moved to Taipei, Taiwan, but returns often to Africa and on occasion the United States.

His trip is being documented as part of CNN’s iReports, which allows non-professional journalists to “report” stories from around the world.  He hopes his stories will show those living in other countries what America is really like.

“I want them to see it from the inside,” he said.  “Real towns, real people with real stories, through the lens of my camera.  Having the opportunity to share those stories with the world via CNN is a very exciting prospect.”

Strong currents

So far, Moore has visited Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.  In Mississippi, he’s been to Clarksdale and Tupelo where he featured Mississippi’s blues history.

In Oxford, he’s doing two reports — one on Alzheimer’s and the other on literacy.

“I will be featuring a young mother of two who wants to break the cycle of illiteracy in her family,” Moore said.

Moore admits his canoeing skills were on the weak side when he first began his journey.

“I’m an Eagle Scout, so I did learn basic canoe skills, but I haven’t been in one since I was 12 years old,” he said.  “When I tell these towns what I’m doing, they think I’m nuts. The Mississippi River can have a strong current in some spots and can have real dangers.  But it’s a beautiful river and, if done safely, it can be a life-changing experience.”

To follow Moore on his trip, visit his Web site at http://www.flashriversafari.com.

1 Comment

Filed under In the News

iReport.com Blog: Calling all St. Louis iReporters! »

If you live near the St. Louis area, nealmoore, who has been traveling the Mississippi River for the past few months, has an announcement about an event happening that you might want to participate in this Saturday. He is taking part in the “Habitat for Humanity St. Louis 2009 Build,” and members of the iReport community are invited to join him in covering this community project. 500 volunteers will be putting up brand new houses for low-income families.

Check out the video above for more information!

To visit the iReport official blog CLICK HERE

To view Habitat for Humanity St. Louis contact details and driving directions to the “Habitat for Humanity St. Louis 2009 Build” – This Saturday SEPTEMBER 26 from 11am to 12:30pm – please CLICK HERE

Leave a comment

Filed under Community Project, In the News, iReport

Husar: Sleepover in Twain’s home a moment ‘citizen journalist’ will never forget

By ED HUSAR

QUINCY, ILL. (Quincy Herald Whig)

NEAL MOORE got a lot more than he expected when he landed his canoe in Hannibal, Mo., last weekend.

Moore is a “citizen journalist” paddling the length of the Mississippi River in search of stories about communities doing good things. He shares the tales on his blog (flashriversafari.com) and through periodic dispatches on CNN.

Upon arriving in Hannibal, Moore learned about a campaign to raise $10 million to help preserve eight buildings associated with Mark Twain, whose boyhood years in Hannibal inspired some of the greatest works in American literature, notably “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

As Moore was interviewing Hannibal residents for his story, Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum officials became enamored by this modern-day Huck’s quest for adventure and good news. So they made him an amazing offer.

Moore was invited to spend a night in Twain’s boyhood home on Hill Street. He’d be allowed to sleep in the room where Twain, then known as Samuel Clemens, bedded down from age 3 until he left Hannibal at 17.

Only one other person in the past century has been allowed to sleep in the home. In the late 1960s George Seybolt, CEO of the William Underwood Co., selected Hannibal for a new plant, known today as General Mills. Seybolt also had a lifelong affection for Twain and asked if he could spend a night in the boyhood home.

Approval was given, and Seybolt slept on a cornhusk-filled mattress. “The next morning he left a check in the amount of $500 on the pillow as a thank you to the museum,” said Henry Sweets, curator.

Now Moore was being invited to enjoy a similar sleepover. He jumped at the chance.

According to his blog, Moore was served a meal Monday evening in the home’s dining room, courtesy of the Garth Mansion. Then after bidding goodnight to “what felt like half the town” gathered outside the front door, Moore retreated upstairs to Twain’s bedroom.

Moore spent about an hour reading “Tom Sawyer” while soaking up the atmosphere.

“Reading ‘Tom Sawyer’ in the boyhood bedroom of Sam Clemens was just too great an experience to put into words,” Moore said in an e-mail interview. “I guess the one word that would describe it best would be ‘surreal.’ ”

At around midnight, he crept down the back stairs and wandered over to the nearby former home site of Tom Blankenship, the inspiration for Twain’s Huck Finn character.

“I brought my lantern to make it exciting,” Moore said. “And I was by myself — alone with my thoughts, which I shared via the camera of my laptop computer. For the first time the character of Huck became real for me.”

Later, back in Twain’s bedroom, Moore positioned his sleeping bag in the exact spot where Twain would have laid his head.
“I slept on the floor with the door open. The house was hot and stuffy — in a magical sort of way, bustling with antiquity, with history,” he said. “The sounds I heard were of the insects and birds of the night. The odd passing car. No cats. The trains and tow boats didn’t interfere with my sleep.”

Moore slept from about 1:30 to 6:30 a.m. Then, with his dream experience over, he climbed back into his canoe and started paddling to his next destination, St. Louis.

The adventure of a lifetime was tucked away safely in his heart.

To visit Ed’s story at the Quincy Herald Whig CLICK HERE

2 Comments

Filed under Americana, In the News, Literary Reverie, Mississippi River Town, Wanderlust

‘Huck’ departs Hannibal

By DANNY HENLEY

HANNIBAL, MO (Hannibal Courier-Post)

via AOL VIDEO (UK) — now on Youtube…

To visit Danny’s written piece from the Hannibal Courier-Post CLICK HERE

Leave a comment

Filed under Americana, In the News, Literary Reverie