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The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics

ISSN: 2472-7318

A Random(ized) Podcast

Vivien Lunsford, Alex Lunsford, and Scott Lunsford

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Keywords: collaboration; family; making podcasts

Categories: Creatively Caring for Self, Others, and Place; Revisionings of Teaching, Facilitation, and Professional Leadership; Visual, Sonic, Tactile, Interactive Texts as Self- and Collective Care; Place-Making and Space-Taking on Social Media; Writing the Process of Writing


As many of you had, I Zoomed classes for over a year. The two oldest of my three children – one in middle school and one in grade school – Zoomed their education at home from mid-March 2020 until mid-February 2021. That means we had been together all the time for almost one year. I love my children. I do. Really.

But . . .

They did asynchronous schoolwork for a couple of hours a day and then continued on to whatever online shiny things distracted them. Yes, we went outside when we remembered to. Yes, we ate lunch together, though we all ate different things. Yes, we “exercised.”

And in my own manic style of planning planning planning but not really fulfilling the plan plan plan even in non-pandemic times, I thought through an idea to better bond with my kids and get them away from screens — and to satisfy all of our needs as creators and makers and performers. My intellectual work had moved from producing video scholarship to audio scholarship full time. My middle child, Vivien, is interested in voice-over work, as a fan of anime; she even took a couple of online classes where a group of other young locals did table readings of animated movies. My oldest, Alex[1], performs and sings and dances and and and.

Both kids write fiction, and one of the ways they create their characters is to go to an online random-name generator or a baby-name website. Their approach inspired the idea to develop a podcast of original flash fiction that would be based on a subject chosen by one of those random-word generators. We would each write no more than 250 words around the subject. We would then give ourselves a week to write the stories and then come back together to read and respond to them.

The family that peer reviews together, stays together.

Then we recorded the stories. And — that was it. The material realities of life, school, and carework became overwhelming, and we let the idea of the podcast go until the 2020-2021 school year ended, when we agreed to produce a limited series of three episodes during the summer of 2021. We edited the stories, produced a signature intro with remarks and music and released the podcast, Breed Cry Create, in June 2021. We unfortunately had the energy to produce only one episode. A very limited series of three short stories about . . . sofas.

Before we get to the episode, though, Vivien, 11 years old, and Alex, 14, discuss their own processes:



My process of writing and brainstorming has changed since we started the podcast. But when I was coming up with the story that I could write, I came up with a little plot and started to just type and write. What that means is I had a general idea of what I was going to do, so I wrote the first few lines and pictured what would happen next without really planning that far ahead. So I just came up with the ideas as I went, to put it in simple terms.

The process of writing for me now is to come up with an idea, characters, and make them come to life by having different voices and attitudes for each character, but also talking to myself about what that image in my head is like, and making that come alive. Of course, it's never going to come out how I planned like that picture perfect image, but when you try, you’ll get there eventually. When I’m writing a script with a full idea of how it’s going to go (so rarely), I normally think to myself as I’m going through it again, No, that was a dumb idea. Change it, because some things don’t work out like that. When I’m going into script writing without a clear idea of what I’m doing, I come up with ideas along the way, and think Whoa! That’s a really cool idea! And I don’t need to change it as much. I’m not saying don’t plan beforehand because in doing so you'll be hard on yourself; I wish that for no one. But that’s how my brain and my writing works. So, the process of writing for me is one way, and the next day, it's the other way. 

I was so excited to be in charge of the social media aspect of the podcast. I created accounts and sadly, since we haven't uploaded an episode in a while, those accounts have kind of been left untouched since the first episode was released. I’m also in charge of getting the object generator ready and how that's going to go. 

Overall, I hope Breed Cry Create continues to expand in the world and I wish it the best of luck.



I like to write a lot of metaphorical fiction that ties in with a lot of real world issues. So when the word “sofa” was generated I started to think of what a sofa represents in a person’s life. It could be used for relaxing, reading, sleeping. It’s usually in a space of comfort. If it’s a sofa within your home it usually feels safe. So I wanted to create a character that holds great love and appreciation for inanimate objects. [The main character’s] sofa is where he feels safe, and finally when the sofa is done, it’s served its purpose, it’s worn, it’s tattered. You have to decide, do you keep it, or do you start a new chapter? And that’s kind of how I wanted the story to be. This decision of a man who loves his sofa, who is alone and feels safe with his own belongings, stepping out of his comfort zone and doing something new for a change.

[1] You’ll hear Alex (he/they) going by his dead name “Lexie” in the podcast.



Breed Cry Create


MUSIC cue.


Hi, and welcome to 



Breed. Cry. Create. 



Breed. Cry. Create.



a series of flash fiction written by us —



I’m Vivien Lunsford.



I’m Lexie Lunsford.



And I’m Scott Lunsford. We’re a family of writers, and we’ve challenged ourselves to each write a piece of flash fiction of around 250 words every month over the summer. We use an online random-word generator to choose our subjects.



The story could use the subject as a prominent thing or a character or just inspiration. 



Once we each write a first draft, we get back together, read, and talk about each other’s stories. Then we revise them and record them.



And a note about the title of this podcast. We asked our random-word generator to choose three words that would become the title of the show — and those words were:











MUSIC fades.



In this episode, we invite you to listen to stories about


A sofa.



A sofa.



Sofi the Sofa. By Vivien Lunsford.

Once upon a time, Not TOO long ago, there was a sofa, her name was Sofi. She was about  to belong to a happy family who had just got her from Sofa Shoppe. She was so excited. When she got to her new home, she was in SHOCK. It was so pretty!

She thought “Wow! This is much better than that shop.” 

She saw kids running out the front door, and the man who bought the sofa said “Alexa, Danny, come help me with this! We’re surprising your mom!”

“Okay!” Said the kids.

As they went to the truck to help their dad, there was a van pulling into the driveway.  It was the mom! Through the windows she looked very confused. Then she got out of the van and said “Oh Jack, what is this?”

“Well.. SURPRISE!” 

“Oh my- you shouldn't have because..” She went back to her van and opened the trunk. “I got a new sofa!” Sofi recognized the couch. It was Steve from the Sofa Shoppe!

Everyone laughed as they brought the sofas inside into their living room, placed them down, and went to bed, because it was getting pretty late. 

Suddenly, the other couch who was next to Sofi said, “They are HORRIBLE” 

“Ugh, what do you mean Steve?” 

“I mean, when I was in the car with ‘Mom’ she almost got into a car crash!” 


“Texting and driving, we have to go” 


“Now SOFI!” 

So, they left and went back to Sofa Shoppe. 



“Walter Walter’s New Sofa”


The sound of Walter Walters’ sofa tearing more. The fabric on the arms of the sofa are completely torn off. 

“Oh Ricky! Hang on for a bit more.” Mr. Walters cried as he tried putting the fabric back.

You see, Mr. Walters has had his sofa, Ricky, for more than twenty years. Everyone has told him he needs to get a new one, but he simply refused. But one day as Mr. Walters sat down, the bottom of the sofa collapsed. He sat there thinking to himself “Maybe I do need a new sofa.”

He moved Ricky to the side of the street sorrowfully. Tears were brought to his eyes when the garbage truck came, and took Ricky away.

Mr. Walters needed a new sofa. He got up and drove to the Sofa Shoppe. He went in to see lots and lots of sofas. But none of them were Ricky.

“Is there something I could help you with?” An employee asked.

“Well, I’m looking for a new sofa, but can’t decide which one to get.” Mr. Walters replied.

The employee pointed out lots of different ones: One had light blue stripes, one had a pink floral pattern, and one made of dark brown leather. He looked at them all and said “It’s not Ricky!”

Then something caught his eye. It was the same pattern as Ricky, dark pecan.

“I’ll take that one!” Mr. Walters cheered.

He took it home and sat in his brand new armchair.



Lost Power. By Scott Lunsford. 

The power button fell off the remote a long time ago, sunked into the couch cushions, and Momma couldn’t ever find it. So I have to take one of Momma’s bobbie pins and push it into the power button hole real good to make the TV work.

I started watching TV before Momma and Daddy went to bed.

“Don’t stay up too late, Buddy,” Daddy said. “We got church in the morning.”


He closed their bedroom door, and it was a good minute before I saw the light go out from the crack under it. 

The lights around me in the living room were off. Just one light on from the TV. I turned the volume way low and moved down from the couch to right in front of the TV. I put a pillow behind my back and leaned up against the coffee table. I clicked through the channels to see what else was on, and I stopped at that channel.

That channel.

That channel was going to show a new movie I hadn’t seen before. And then it started up. And it started with showing a man and a woman kissing like I saw Momma and Daddy kissing that one time when I shoulda been in bed. The man and woman on that channel were sitting on the couch, with candles all around them, and then the woman started to  . . .

“Buddy. I told you not to stay up too late now.”




Thanks for listening. Our theme music was composed by Blue Dot Sessions.



Vivien Lunsford is an 11-year-old girl, who enjoys voice acting and hanging out with friends. She writes another podcast called Voices!

Alex Lunsford is a 14-year-old high schooler, who’s been writing all their life, and particularly enjoys poetry and screenwriting.

Scott Lunsford is professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication at James Madison University. His research includes sonic rhetorics, graffiti, and genre studies. An independent audio producer, he co-hosts another podcast called Hidden Language.

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