Martha Woodroof


Martha is both a college dropout (Mount Holyoke) and a graduate school dropout (the University of Virginia).

Her first real job was as a teacher’s aide in a pilot Head Start program in Greensboro, North Carolina. She's been with WMRA since the (latest) turn of the century, and has actively freelanced for the NPR Culture Desk and for

Before that – among a lot of other things - she co-owned restaurants, did a bit of acting, was fired as a magazine editor, hosted local TV talk shows and anchored the news, wrote a book called How to Stop Screwing Up: 12 Steps to a Real Life and a Pretty Good Time, cooked for an artist’s colony, was a country music disc jockey and a psychiatric occupational therapy aide, taught preschool, published a bunch of essays, was a morning drive-time personality on a tiny AM radio station, ran a college bookstore coffee shop, directed a college’s co-curricular programming, and failed to sell cars.

Her daughter is spinner, weaver, author, and content provider, Liz Gipson. Many of the photographs accompanying her work were taken by her husband, Charlie.

She loves words and their power to tell other people’s stories.

Her first novel, Small Blessings, was published by St. Martin’s Press in the summer of 2014.

Ways to Connect

An essay by Kim Johnson.

Elisabeth Gumnior

Nov 4, 2011

Harrisonburg's Elisabeth Gumnior waxes scholarly about Harry potter. Replacing Wands with Quills: A Harry Potter Symposium.

Staunton's Jeff Huss takes on a tour of Huss and Dalton Guitars.

Shanil Virani holds a joint appointment in Physics and Astronomy at JMU.

Essayist Ernie Didot is a video producer based in Charlottesville.

Louise Temple

Oct 14, 2011

Louise Temple is a microbiologist and science educator , who just happens to have a hundred-year-old pipe organ in her parlor. Martha talks with Louise about the organ.

Ray Houser

Oct 14, 2011
Mike Tripp / The news Leader

Staunton's Ray Houser worked in broadcasting for 63 years, before heart trouble finally slowed him down.

Timmy Smith

Oct 7, 2011

Timmy Smith romances wood around Swoope. See his work at Smitty's Hardwoods.

Radell Shrock

Oct 7, 2011

Radell Shrock grows vegetables for local consumption in Rockingham County. He calls his business Season's Bounty Farm.

Trent Wagler

Sep 30, 2011

Harrisonburg’s Trent Wagler sings (and plays several instruments) for his supper as part of The Steel Wheels.

Wiley Kestner

Sep 30, 2011

Wiley Kestner graduated from Yale with a B.A. in studio art (he worked mainly in oils). Now he works as the iPad team lead at Rosetta Stone.

Blue Lab Brewing

Sep 23, 2011

Bill Hamilton and Tom Lovell, of Lexington's Blue Lab Brewing, talk about turning their fascination for beer into a micro-brewery business.

Betty Kline

Sep 23, 2011

Seventy-six year old Bridgewater resident, Betty Kline, talks about her romance with roaming the world.

R.B. Horsley

Sep 23, 2011

North Garden resident, R.B. Horsley, began writing poetry after the death of her sixteen-year-old son.

Waynesboro Musician Jimmy O has been entertaining us for over 30 years. Recently, however, he's been reinventing himself as filmmaker, James Overton.

Howard Hahn

Sep 16, 2011

Howard Hahn is a member of the Shenandoah Railroad Club and the C&O Historical Society.

Mercy Harris is a 31-year old wife and mother of 3 until she ties on her skates, puts on her makeup, and slides onto the rink as Cheetah Chrome, queen-in-training of Roller Derby.

Laura Light

Sep 9, 2011

Albemarle County's Laura Light has fiddled her way through life.

Laura Bon Cash

Sep 9, 2011

Laura Bon Cash is a Waynesboro native who left to go to culinary school in Rhode Island and then returned home to create la cuisine du jour for Stone Soup Books (and Café.)

Grace Ivory Zisk

Sep 9, 2011

Essayist Grace Ivory Zisk reflects on 9-11.