Background photo by Tom Lyons

117,366 Words or Less

Once again, we have a terrific edition of the Cape Cod Life Annual Guide for you to keep close by, all year round. And in the pages that follow, you’ll find some 17,074 words devoted to 18 interviews with folks that call our special region home. Each of these stories is the product of a one-, two-, sometimes three-hour-long conversation, reduced to the essentials. Just before we went to press, I tallied up the length of the unedited transcripts, and I shuddered at the total: 117,366 words. There are plenty of novels that don’t reach that length.

When you read these stories, hopefully you get a sense of the people, their lives, and what they hold dear. But there’s still a 100,000-word chasm separating the raw materials from the final product, which circles back to the burden of print: There is never enough space to say everything you want to say.

Like how Amy Kukulya of Falmouth brought me up close with the same variety of quarter-million-dollar underwater robot used to find the Air France wreckage inside a WHOI laboratory, and then told me about an expedition to New Zealand to survey an area around the Pink and White Terraces, a long-gone geological formation once known as the eighth wonder of the world. Amy talked about how a group of natives, whose ancestors were killed during the same volcanic eruption that destroyed the terraces, were moved to tears upon seeing the data unearthed by the robot. It was a heartfelt story, one of the many she shared during our two-hour, 9,939-word talk. And there was no space to tell it without sacrificing something else.

But there is a beauty in paring things down—even in omitting them. The absence of some things means sharper focus on others, and finite space means whatever survives generally deserves to be there. And it stirs our curiosity: you’ll come away from reading these stories wanting to know more. Luckily, if you run into anyone from this group of passionate people, it’s not hard to strike up a conversation.

Elsewhere in the issue, Matt Nilsson, our special sections editor, has put together a town-by-town guide to make the most of each day anywhere on the Cape and Islands. Dan Cutrona made a habit of translating the vibrant personalities featured in this issue into stunning works of portrait photography. Elsewhere, our island shutterbugs Alison Shaw and Cary Hazelgrove framed up their own standout shots. The Annual Guide is one of our favorite issues of the year. Read on and find out why.

Jeff Harder

Jeff Harder, Managing Editor


Jeff is the Managing Editor for Cape Cod Life Publications.

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Street Scene, Buzzards Bay, Bourne, Mass

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