My story: Why I love to tell your story

Welcome to the Fox & Fiddle! Now that you’re here, I ought to introduce myself, although I much prefer interviewing other people. Here’s a quick peek at the raw materials that contributed to the construction of Fox & Fiddle Productions.

My upbringing in the U.S. flatlands was uneventful, apart from Walter Mitty dreams of becoming a mountain man someday. My parents were quite progressive in the sense that they had international connections and were constantly entertaining people whose foreign accents and appearances were very different from our Midwestern neighborhood norm. I listened with wide eyes to their exotic stories of life in far off places like Egypt, Nigeria, New Guinea, Japan, and Scandinavia.

My itch for adventure was first satisfied when I took bicycle trips with my high school friends: Once we took a night-time ferry ride across Lake Michigan, followed by a 660-mile journey home by way of the U.P., and another time we drove to San Francisco and pedaled to the Atlantic, gathering enough stories and photos to fill a National Geographic magazine article. (We contacted them with a proposal and they invited us to submit our story, but then we chickened out. We feared that our Instamatic camera photos were not good enough). This was in 1976 when not many 17-year-old kids were bicycling from California to Delaware.

My mountain man ambitions were partially fulfilled when I spent two summers working in Yellowstone National Park. I even picked out a spot near Beartooth Pass where I hoped to build my cabin someday. Then at the age of 22, I rode my motorcycle out to Southern California and I never looked back. Earlier, I had played in a band that traveled like the Partridge Family in a converted bus, performing from coast to coast for nearly two straight years. Then in Los Angeles, I hooked up with a terrific band that opened doors for me to play some exciting outdoor festivals in the USA, Canada and Europe.

I still love playing recreational keyboards in bands, but at the age of 30 – with my awesome wife Joan and a second daughter on the way – I took a more serious look at my career. That’s when a door opened for me into talk radio. For 15 years – punctuated by a stint in graduate school at the University of Edinburgh – I created half-hour radio programs for an international audience. And I loved it. Topics covered anything related to families, relationships, child-rearing, health and more.

I won’t bore you with all the details, except to say that our journey took us to Colorado for 18 years and then to North Carolina, with bunny trails leading through places like England, Scotland (twice), Turkey and the Philippines. For more than five years, the Fox & Fiddle Inn hosted hundreds of wonderful people, and we held many music jams on our huge wraparound porch overlooking Hominy Creek (see www.foxandfiddle.net/bnb

As our kids grew up and flew the coop, Joan and I decided that our huge, historic house and farm was too big for the two of us. So we sold the farm, downsized, and gave the name to Fox & Fiddle Productions.

The silver thread throughout my life is a love for stories. I can’t even begin to estimate how many books I’ve read to my four children, and needless to say, they absolutely love stories! Truthfully, nearly everyone I know has an amazing story. I love uncovering them as much as a miner loves finding gold.

I am honored to have helped many people share their tales of laughter and tears with others, through print, web, audio and video. No matter what I write or produce, my passion is to make an emotional, tangible connection with the reader/viewer/listener. I do not speak to the “masses” through “mass media.” I connect with one person who most needs to receive a life-changing message.

So, that’s my story. Now … what’s yours?

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