ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.

Six Blogs: Where is Hyperlocal Media Headed?

Six Blogs: Where is Hyperlocal Media Headed?

Six Blogs: Where is Hyperlocal Media Headed? March 22, 7:30 PM, Whallonsburg Grange (Source: Lake Champlain Weekly)

The Grange in Whallonsburg continues their Lyceum series on March 22 with a presentation by writer and blogger George Davis. The current Lyceum Series at the Grange presents the history, evolution and significance of everyday things in an extraordinary way. Presenters, like George Davis, will look at six objects and discuss why they have had a lasting impact. Davis’ presentation, titled “Six Blogs,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5. For more information, call 518-963-4170. (Source: Sun Community News)

Thanks for the plug! And thanks also to Nelly Gomez at the Lake Champlain Weekly for this plug:

Free High-Resolution Photos

Free High-Resolution Photos

Free High-Resolution Photos

I create a lot of images. I photograph. I doodle. I collage.

But I also create a lot of blog posts for a lot of blogs, and sometimes I don’t have the time, access, resources, or skills to create the right image(s) for a post. Fortunately there are more and more ace sources for free high-resolution photos online these days. In fact, there are so many I’ve begun to lose track. So I’m going to follow the lead of Dustin Senos who’s compiling a list of his favorite sites for downloading free high-resolution photos called, “Stock photos that don’t suck“.

I’ll include some of his go-to sources below, but first I want to lead off with one of my favorites (and second on Dustin’s list), a simple but well stocked stock photo site called Unsplash. This isn’t the best site for finding ultra specific free high-resolution photos of a Canada Goose or a fresh-roasted poblano chile. But if you’re looking for evocative nature, travel, environment, residential, monumental stock photos that will arrest readers/viewers, you’ll like what you find at Unsplash. They offer the same Creative Commons licensing terms that most of these sites use, so I’ll share that to help you see what a motherload these sites can be.

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. (Unsplash)

Amazing! And super helpful for bloggers, designers and artists who have an insatiable appetite for free high-resolution photos.

Another personal favorite that serves quite well for the ultra specific scenarios I describe above is Pixabay. It offers a user-friendly search engine, lots of options, and simple, easy-to-use interface.

Here is Dustin Senos‘s list, “Stock photos that don’t suck“. (Nota bene: This is current as of Nov. 6, 2014, but I’ve edited slightly.)

More Free High-Resolution Photos

It’s been 2+ years since I published this post and it’s still the go-to resource for me — and a daily flood of bloggers and other creatives — hunting for free high-resolution photos. So I’m updating the page with another excellent post/list to help you find the perfect images for your project:

Geek Tweak: How to Find Broken Links

How to Fix Broken Links

How to Fix Broken Links

How do you find broken links on your WordPress blog? For a couple of years I was a fan of Broken Link Checker. This plugin works like a charm. Plug it in, activate it and rest assured that it will chug away in the background digging through your website’s links and identifying “link rot” so that your digital domain can be as tidy and user-friendly as your white picket fence domain. It’s a simple set-and-forget way to find broken links.

Broken Link Checker is a good plugin to monitor and remove or nofollow dead links in your website. It has the ability to monitor almost any part of your website, including your posts, pages, comments, blogroll and the custom fields. The plugin is not only limited to links that doesn’t work but also detects missing images and redirects. Broken Link Checker can even prevent search engines from following broken links and let’s you edit the link directly from the plugin’s page without manually updating the posts. (

Sounds perfect! In many ways it is/was. While I remain a fan of this simple and reliable way to find broken links, I’ve deactivated it across all of my WordPress sites on the advice of my developer. Why? It turns out that same diligence that makes it a dependable and thorough tool to find broken links also strains our server. Big time. After being throttled repeatedly by my hosting company for overwhelming the server, my developer narrowed down the problem to the plugin.

You have a plugin installed called Broken Link Checker. It spams your domain with HTTP requests and can cause worker processes to be spawned. ~ Zach Russell

Tools to Find Broken Links

We disabled the plugin and the problems have (apparently) abated. But we still needed to be able to find broken links, so Zach proposed these alternatives:

  1. Online Broken Link Checker We recommend that you… [this] tool to check for your broken links. It’s not a plugin, and won’t make the server unhappy.
  2. Integrity (for Mac OSX) An even better solution… would be an application that you install on your computer.

I’ve been trial testing the Online Broken Link Checker and it certainly works well. But it’s self-initiated (read easily overlooked, postponed, etc.) which is obviously less desirable than a diligent digital gone working away in the background. But it also doesn’t overwhelm the server which is good, er, essential. I haven’t experimented with Integrity (now that’s a funny phrase taken out of context!) or its premium cousin, Scrutiny yet. Soon perhaps. Unless I can divine a better solution to find broken links?

Root Out Link Rot

I know I’m not alone with this blogger challenge. How do you find broken links on your blog? Do you use a website-based plugin to monitor and mend link rot? An independent web-based service like Or maybe a standalone application like Integrity or Scrutiny?

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Most of my best blog discoveries over the years have come through recommendations from other bloggers. Peer-to-peer, the power of the interwebs! It’s time for me to pass along my best blogs 2013. I know, it’s already mid-March, but  “posting on time” was not one of my 2014 New Year’s resolutions… Better late than never!

Caveat emptor: This collection is totally personal (read esoteric), guided only by my limitless curiosity. In other words, don’t expect a tidy “Top 10 Author Blogs” or my “Secret Sauces Stash”. These are inspiring, timely blogs that I currently frequent, and recommend check them out.

Best Blogs 2013: Storytelling & Writing

  • This American Life Ira Glass. Storytelling 101 all the way up through post-doc!
  • Positive Writer Bryan Hutchinson: “I’m a positive writer and when that doesn’t work, I eat chocolate. I encourage writers and all artists to slay the beast of doubt within and create work that matters.” A friend of chocolate (and optimism) is a friend of mine…

Best Blogs 2013: [Self] Publishing

  • Jane Friedman’s Blog One of the sharpest tools in the “brave new world of publishing” shed (along with a long list of smarties drawn to her glow!)
  • The Book Designer Joel Friedlander’s practical advice to help self-publishers build better books. Really!
  • The Creative Penn London based Joanna Penn’s from-the-trenches guidance for writing, publishing and marketing your book.
  • Media Bistro More smart people saying smart things about the smart new world of publishing.
  • Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog Audiobooks are going to be a big, bigger, maybe even the biggest part of tomorrow’s publishing world. So many reasons, and I’ve blogged about them elsewhere so I’ll spare you now.
  • FutureBook Explores “how the digital revolution will re-shape publishing in the 21st Century…”
  • Digital Book World’s Daily Daily dose of ebook and digital publishing news address “the radically changing commercial publishing environment…”

Best Blogs 2013: Inspiration

  • Brain Pickings Maria Popova’s “Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are…”
  • The Airship “Surveying literature, art and culture from an altitude of 5k feet while traveling at 53 mph.”
Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Best Blogs 2013: Doodling

  • Keri Smith Illustrator, author, book builder and self proclaimed guerrilla artist. I own everything she’s permitted into print, and her blog offers great in-between-books nourishment.
  • Mike Lowery Playful illustrator who misses nothing and doodles everything!
  • Elizabeth Graeber Artist, illustrator with the quirky-but-addictive vision of the world and its many little pieces.
  • Doodlers Anonymous Sort of like a big block party for doodlers.
  • Doodlebomb! A sparse but ace tumble of inspiring doodle bombs from the Doodlers Anonymous team.

Best Blogs 2013: Creativity

  • Medium A newbie but goodie where interesting, usually articulate “people share ideas and… little stories that make your day better and manifestos that change the world.”
  • Picture Correct Tip-top photography information and techniques.
  • TEDx I’m a longtime fan and ambassador for this nexus of creative thinking, innovation and bravery. It’s about as close as I come to “watching television”…

Best Blogs 2013: Home & Garden

  • Cabin Porn Inspiration for your quiet place somewhere. Few words needed. Photos tell the stories.
  • Gardenista and Remodelista (joined at the hip, so to speak) describe themselves respectively as, “the sourcebook for cultivated living” and “the sourcebook for considered living”… Lofty goals, but worthy reads. Clean, classic aesthetics and intelligent, well-edited design.

Best Blogs 2013: Simplicity

  • The Minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus write about living a meaningful life with less stuff. Can you imagine? Aaahhh…
  • Zen Habits Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness… Zen Habits features a couple powerful articles a week on: simplicity, health & fitness, motivation and inspiration, frugality, family life, happiness, goals, getting great things done, and living in the moment.

Best Blogs 2013: Adventure? Habitat? Culture? Wander Wider! Meander Marginalia…

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

Reboot Your Blogroll: Best Blogs 2013

  • Atlas Obscura “The definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places. In an age where everything seems to have been explored and there is nothing new to be found, we celebrate a different way of looking at the world.”
  • Adventure Journal “The deeper you get, the deeper you get… Adventure Journal is an online magazine devoted to outdoor adventure in all its forms.”
  • 70 Degrees West “70 Degrees West is a photo-documentary project… [created by Michelle Stauffer and Justin Lewis that explores] the impact our modern world has on eight unique regions and the people who connect with these environments. Realizing the vulnerability of habitats and cultures along a line of longitude demonstrates a fraction of a larger truth: the natural world and cultural ways of life are endangered on a global level.”

Best Blogs 2013: Blogging? WordPress?

  • WordPress Tavern Wonky WordPress hangout that’s good for keeping abreast of the latest community news, updates, themes, goals, etc.
  • WPBeginner Syed Balkhi’s site is a veritable WordPress clearinghouse that I’ve followed since it was launched back in 2009. Lots of resource intro/comparison and how-to posts.

Best Blogs 2013: Miscellaneous

  • The Burning House If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It’s a conflict between what’s practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question.
  • Uncrate Digs up the best men’s gear with spot-on recommendations and daily updates. 9k+ items to date and over 1.5 million monthly readers.

Geek Tweak: WordPress Post List Hacks

English: WordPress Logo

WordPress Post List

This is a quick post (mostly to help me remember how to do this later on…) about a few quick and easy ways to pull useful collections of posts on a WordPress blog. If you’ve ever wanted a WordPress post list for a date range, a category of content, or even all of the content tagged with a specific keyword, then this what you need to do.

Show all your posts for a given year:

Show your posts for a specific Category:

Show your posts for a specific Tag:

(This is excerpted from

See how that works? The concept could be to create other WordPress post lists on the fly as well.

Wondering about the “order=asc” reference at the end of the URL? Try removing that and you’ll understand. Blogs default archive rule is to list all of the relevant content in the order it appeared on the blog (which is to say, newest post at the top and oldest post at the bottom.) But you can override the default so that your WordPress post list appears in chronological by specifying that you want the posts listed in ascending (asc) order.

Twitter Twins?

Twitter Twins? #twittertwins

Imagine discovering at the dawn of your fifth decade, having never once suspected it, that you’re a twin. A Twitter Twin! I tip my hat to James Carter (@jdcarter) for his Twitter Twins (#twittertwins) scoop!

@ our hair is pretty similar. Though you win for expression, @
Elena Parker
Both story pushers too... Off to meet my twin! ;) RT @ Twitter Twins! @ @ #twittertwins

Carter is a playwright/producer and the force behind NY Hearts (@NY_Hearts), and Elena Parker (@elenakathryn) is a “Creative Technologist… Searching for the future of storytelling…” Of course we’re twins! Twitter Twins, at least…

Build a Better Blog Community: Find Your Why

Find Your Why: Step #1 for building a better blog community

“When genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.” ~ D. H. Lawrence

Justine Musk (@justinemusk) knows a thing or ten about cultivating a blog community and — as per her creative badass reputation — she dishes up the goods unprocessed, uncooked and ungarnished. I think of her blog a little bit like a macrobiotic diet for creative people.

Except less daunting. And more enticing.

I guess macrobiotic isn’t quite the metaphor I’m reaching for. Raw? Cold? No…

Justine Musk is passionate and she says it hot! D. H. Lawrence would be proud.

She’s curious. She’s brave. She’s unafraid. She’s a hungry learner. And a great teacher.

I follow her blog precisely because she practices what she preaches in her post, “how to start creating your blog community“. Find your why. Teach to learn.

Justine Musk: Find Your Why

you have to go beyond pretend and find the real… ask yourself why you do what you do in the first place: what compelled you to… write this novel, paint these paintings…

After all, it’s your Why that fuels you.

It’s also your Why that connects with people on an emotional level, stirs and inspires them, creates loyalty to your business, your art, your brand. You.

So find your Why.


Create a question around your Why that genuinely intrigues you. As you explore the different aspects of it, you put out content that (hopefully) entertains and enlightens your right readers, draws them in, invites them along on the journey with you. You teach to reach, but teaching goes both ways. The community learns from you, and you learn from the community.

The best way to learn something is to teach it. Or as a friend of mine likes to point out, “We teach what we most need to learn.” ~ Justine Musk

When I began teaching during my graduate school years, I felt like I was cheating the system. Getting paid to learn? Better not let anybody find out!

The best teachers are the best learners. Perpetual learners. Open minded learners. Generous learners. And a blog is in many ways the ideal 21st century classroom. A digital olive grove.

Find your why and hunt down answers as if your very being depends upon it. It does. And when you discover more questions than answers, don’t worry. You’re headed in the right direction.

As others flock to your digital olive grove, you just may find that a few of your students are your best teachers. And we’ll support and encourage you every step of the way. Try us!


Rosslyn Redux: May Update

I’ve been a little more quiet than usual during the last month, and I hope that you’ll forgive the frequent ellipses. I’ve shifted gears to focus on a steady stream of Rosslyn programming over at the Rosslyn Redux blog. This has been a great way to funnel my blogging energy during the revision process…

Sally Lesh & Hyde Gate “One of the unanticipated joys of living at Rosslyn (aka Hyde Gate) has been discovering the property’s legacy… One recent reminder was the first chapter of All My Houses in which octogenarian Sally Lesh chronicles her itinerant life story by way of the many homes in which she has resided… Lesh opens the memoir with her birth on Janurary 19, 1921 in Boston, but the title of her first chapter and the origin of the journey she intends to chronicle is Hyde Gate, Essex, New York…”

Hail Storm & Apple Tree “An ancient and neglected apple tree… For six years I pruned and nourished the crab apple tree back to health… then the clouds erupted in a short but angry tantrum of driving rain, mothball-sized hail and driving wind. When the hail and rain stopped and the fog cleared, the crooked fruit tree had fallen, snapped off at her stem.” (video eulogy)

2011 Lake Champlain Flood Retrospective “Rosslyn boathouse is dry. Lake Champlain water levels are low. Our waterfront weathered winter — what winter there was — and spring without incurring the destructive flooding which tormented us a year ago… But all is not forgotten. Fully half of Rosslyn’s waterfront, maybe more, remains a boulder piled mess. Thousands of pounds of stone rip-rap installed last spring to stabilize NYS Rt. 22 buried two hundred year old cut stone retaining walls.”

Mary Wade’s Rosslyn “Each winter Essex residents celebrate the holidays early during a weekend-long event called Christmas in Essex. It was this tradition which connected me to Mary Wade, a folk artist who lives in Willsboro but runs a seasonal gallery in Essex each summer. She creates painted wooden models, silhouettes and paintings of historic buildings in Essex that are collected by her fans all around the world.”

Rosslyn Unplugged “Yesterday, Thursday, May 15, 2009 was windier than a subway median at rush hour. Lake Champlain wind blasts reached 50 mph. The forecast had threatened gusts up to 90 mph. The rain drizzled off and on all day, but the fellow building the stone wall near the mud room stuck it out and got the job done.”

Just Google it! “I collaborated with John Brookhouse of 1o’Clock Multimedia on this “long winded” but amusing Google Search vignette which was part of Redacting Rosslyn v1.0 at The Depot Theatrein Westport, New York in August 2011. Although I concepted the content and story arc, and even most of the search queries, Brookhouse was the video maestro who morphed my vision into a far more creative story than I could have managed on my own.

Fox & Squirrel Revisited “At the end of April I posted about a fox that was frequenting Rosslyn to grab a quick squirrel breakfast or supper whenever the urge struck him… Although the fox seems to have moved on, his apex predator slot was quickly filled by an always hungry hawk who’s dietary preferences run to dove rather than squirrel…”

Just Google it? “This video is one of several exploratory forays into the Google Search vignette I included in my Redacting Rosslyn v1.0 performance last August at The Depot Theatre in Westport, New York. Blending readings from my Rosslyn Redux manuscript with oral and digital storytelling, the event was a collaborative attempt to animate type, words and documents into interactive narrative.”

Rifle & Eggs “‘Mornin’,’ Wes said as he pulled the pantry door shut behind him and greeted Griffin with a scratch behind the ears. ‘Good morning,’ I called back from the kitchen where I was scrambling eggs. ‘You don’t want me to run that thing on the tennis court, do ya?’ he asked…”

Excavating Rosslyn “‘I look at it as an excavation, if you will,’ says the architect… Pete Lackey of Charles Myer and Partners in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is referring to “taking the long view” on renovation, specifically to reawakening the heart and soul of a building instead of willfully or inadvertently altering it… In our case, understanding Rosslyn involved literally and figuratively excavating the historic home.”

Rosslyn Roundup, May 4 “It’s time… to share everything Rosslyn-related that I didn’t get a chance to post over the last few weeks. Champlain Valley springs are unpredictable and exciting, sometimes arriving early (this year) and other times hiding behind rain, rain, rain (last year)…”

Rosslyn Rattlesnake “Have you ever ever heard of an Eastern massasauga rattlesnake? Or a Sistrurus catenatus? … As unlikely as it may seem, I now suspect that I may have spotted a massasauga rattlesnake with markings totally unlike our local Adirondack timber rattlesnakes.”

Orchard Rumination “Lately I’ve been reflecting on all the trees I wish I’d planted in the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2007. We’ve been adding new trees for a year now — a half dozen or so each spring and fall — and yet I can’t help but imagine what might be today if I’d started earlier. Fruit trees ten or twelve feet tall would still be blooming. We would have been harvesting apples and pears and plums and apricots and peaches for a couple of seasons by now…”

Reawakening Rosslyn “‘Rather than trying to coerce the house to do something new, we tried to reawaken it.” In Taking the Long View Paula M. Bodah refers to the renovation of a Victorian house near Boston, Massachusetts in unusually anthropomorphic terms… Despite the unfamiliar reference, Bodah’s terminology is precise, accurate and familiar. In the case of Rosslyn, reawakening is precisely how I describe our renovation process, though I didn’t understand this at the outset.”

In been a prolific blogging stretch at Rosslyn Redux and a meager stretch here. Sorry. Perhaps I’ll do a better job of balancing in the future?

Blog Out Loud with Les Miserables

I’ve been thinking a lot about theater lately. Even more than usual. A leadership transition at our Depot Theatre (@DepotTheatre) and a recent debate with Porter Anderson and Viki Noe about the relevance and roll of live theater in the digital age primed me to appreciate Susan Silver‘s post, “12 Most Fabulous Blogging Lessons from Les Miserables”. She’s distilled a dozen tips for better blogging from Victor Hugo‘s novel-turned-musical.

I want you to learn how to blog out loud by following conventions drawn from musical theater. Open up and sing with the 12 most fabulous lessons from Les Miserables. (12 Most)

Here are my favorites from Ms. Silver’s list:

  • Think globally: Just like Les Miserables, “your blog also has an international audience you can accommodate.”
  • Sing it: Find your blog’s unique first-person voice and sweep us up in your song.
  • Diversify: “To give longevity to your content utilize multi-media. Speak in the voices of all the platforms you have available; print, video, blogs & more.”
  • Be thematic: Discover, define and refine your blog’s narrative threads.
  • Epicosity: Like Les Miserables’ epic song “One Day More”, “every once in awhile it is fun to write a piece with a grand scope.”
  • “Heart Full of Love”: Court a niche/topic/theme that you are genuinely passionate about.
  • Write for longevity: Les Miserables’ endurance is inspiring. The novel is 150 years old, and the musical has been performed for a quarter century. Aim for nothing less!
  • Bring down the curtain: My bride frequently reminds me about this one! “We need to take off our blogging hats at the end of the day. Make unplugging from the computer a routine. Enjoy the time you have with friends and family.”

Great tips! And I’d like to add one slightly less obvious, but no less important lesson that bloggers should learn from Les Miserables: Not everyone will love your blog! That’s okay. Despite Les Miserables’ storied success, it doesn’t appeal to everyone no matter how well it is produced, performed or attended. Know and grow your audience, but don’t get discouraged by those who neglect your niche or criticize your song. Sing better, sing louder, sing louder. And before long your audience will be humming along with you.

Storytelling from Cave Fire to Kindle Fire

Storytelling from Cave Fire to Kindle Fire

Storytelling from Cave Fire to Kindle Fire (image by virtualDavis)

Isn’t digital storytelling just enhanced storytelling? It’s just the newest chapter in humanity’s quest to improve the way we tell stories. We instinctively yearn for better communication, for storytelling innovation. And yet digital books, audio books, multimedia books tend to meet resistance despite their obvious appeal.

New scares old. Old doesn’t quite understand new. Or doesn’t want to…

In “Is It A Book, Is It A Movie…No, It’s Movie-Book!” we get a glimpse at the book world’s awkward response to digitally enhanced storytelling.

Many eBook writers shy away from multimedia publishing, preferring instead to stay with straight text… An eBook that features multimedia is not an eBook, they say. It’s… an app… What IS an eBook with multimedia? Can we continue to call an eBook an eBook knowing that now it may feature multimedia? … What about audio books? … [Or] movie-books… (Technorati Entertainment)

Let’s call it digital storytelling. Or storytelling in the digital age. Maybe we should just call it storytelling, because — no matter how resistant the publishing industry and book critics and schools and libraries may be — the public is embracing (and will continue to embrace) storytelling in all of its innovative new forms.

Let us imagine the first time a storyteller added innovative new technologies to their bag of tricks. Picture the proverbial caveman standing by the bonfire with his family, talking about the hunt from which he’s returned with a week’s food. In telling the story of creeping up on his prey, he describes his cautious steps, following the fierce Bigmacosaurus, slowly, quietly all afternoon. Until afternoon turned into evening. As daddy caveman describes the fall of night he slowly extinguishes the campfire leaving his wife and children sitting in the dark around the glowing embers. They pull closer together, absorbed in the story. Now dad begins to pace around them in the dark as he speaks, so that they are never quite sure where he is, and he begins to breath deeply, hoarsely, imitating the sounds of the Bigmacosaurus. And suddenly he leaps across the embers and pretends to drive his spear into the Bigmacosaurus, just barely illuminated as he writhes on the ground, bathed in the dull red glow of the embers.

The end.

“Time for bed, cave kiddies!” he bellows. But they don’t move. They cling to their mother, scared to death.

So dad adds kindling and blows on the embers, resuscitating the fire. Within a few minutes the interior of the cave is once again illuminated. The children are less afraid, but still too nervous for bed.

“But what if the other Bigmacosauri followed you home?”

“Yes, what if they come and get us tonight while we sleep?”

Dad takes a charred branch from the fire and proceeds to draw a picture on the cave wall. In the crude illustration a hunter with a spear crouches in tall grass beside a herd of Bigmacosauri. He explains to his children that he discovered the heard around mid-day, far away. He draws the sun directly overhead, and adds wavy water to portray the lake located half a day’s journey from the cave. Then he moves down the wall and draws himself in the mountains pursuing a single Bigmacosaurus, the sun much lower to the horizon now. He explains to his children that he successfully split the heard, forcing the biggest Bigmacosaurus to run toward the mountains which lay between their cave and the lake. He draws a herd of stampeding Bigmacosauri running off into the distance where the sun sets on the far side of the lake. His next drawing is of the the hunter right next to the Bigmacosaurus, spear high in the air about to plunge. A crescent moon is high overhead. He explains to his children that he wanted to drive the Bigmacosaurus as close as possible to home so that he could minimize the distance he would need to carry the meat. He explains how hard it was because wild Bigmacosauri are scared of cave men and don’t like to come near them. But daddy cave man succeeded, and now they have plenty of food. But the next time he wants to hunt a Bigmacosaurus, he will have to go all away around the lake to the far side where the sun sets. He draws one last picture, looking across the vast lake at tiny Bigmacosauri no larger than ants speckling the horizon beneath the setting sun.

The children have fallen asleep in their mother’s arms, so the parents carry them to their beds and tuck them in.

So far, nothing’s unusual about this, right? Just another evening at the cave.

But when the parents tuck themselves in, the cave man’s wife rolls over to her husband to whisper.

“I don’t know what you thought you were doing tonight, extinguishing the fire, making all those beastly noises, reenacting the hunt, drawing on the walls. Look how much you scared the children.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare them so much. I always tell them stories…”

“I know. Stories are good. But all that other stuff, it’s just, I don’t know. Not right. Can you just stick with storytelling? Just words?”

“Yes, dear.”

“Thank you. Good night.”

“Good night.”

But the next day the cave kiddies beg for a story. “Like last night, daddy. Not the boring old way.”

“Yes, like last night. Pleeease?”

Mother grimaces.

Father looks at mother and shrugs.

Fast forward. YouTube, Audible, Vook, iPad, Storify and SoundCloud blur past. From cave fire to Kindle Fire… Onward!

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