When my daughter was born someone said “Enjoy her while you can. It won’t be long before the world takes her away from you.”
It happened slowly. First there were the doctors and their vaccines. Then came baby sitters, day care, preschool and eventually kindergarten and beyond. Those are good things, but not entirely comfortable ones. Not everybody sees her through your eyes and your heart.
Writing a book and giving it up to the world is a lot of the same. It begins with an idea that you nurture (mostly) alone. Somewhere along the way, if you are fortunate, you have other writers look at what you are doing and tactfully tell you that if you want a Pulitzer for this, it needs a little work.
Then if all goes well, you get a real editor to work on it. It’s not easy hearing “the opening is weak; it doesn’t grab the reader.” Or maybe “that whole section bogs the reader down, make it a scene with a lot of dialogue.” Back to the keyboard.
The real shocker comes if you decide to present your creation to the world in the form of an audio book. When I first heard the voices of my characters interpreted by someone else, all I could think was “Noooooo….that’s not what that person sounds like!”
I’m getting over myself. Even though these characters have lived in my brain for the better part of a decade, I can’t control everything. That’s a good thing.
Soon my book will be thrown out into the world. If it turns out as well as my daughter, it will be a best seller.
My son-in-law recently asked me what was the greatest change I had seen in my 73 years on the planet. I answered “the internet” but it’s not that simple. I should have referenced the larger global communication and media network, including the internet.
When I was a child, the family telephone was a “party line.” This means the line was shared by multiple users in the community. If you wanted to make a call you had to first make sure no one was using it. If you were stealthy enough you could listen in on others’ conversations.
One of the other contacts with the outside world came when the bookmobile drove up our rural dirt driveway bringing a panel truck load of books. The county library was the equivalent of a day trip away, roads and cars such as they were at the time. We got our first television when I was seven years old. I don’t remember when we got a camera.
Contrast that world with the one in which I am working with others to create the audio book version of my new novel, Billion Dollar Bracket. Ready to have your head spin a little?
Planning for the book began with email, text, and FaceTime conversations with my publisher’s representative who is located across an ocean in England. I needed to sign a consent, so I printed it out, signed it, took a picture of it with my smart phone, downloaded it to a computer file, then attached it to an email to her.
She then sent out a call for auditions, through a process I don’t quite understand, but since I requested an “American” accent, the call came back across the big pond. I understand there is a universe of applicants out there, maybe some are out of work actors. I now am listening to the auditions on an “application” called Dropbox on my smart phone. I will choose from what is expected to be fifty or so offerings.
What a world. I don’t understand it any more than I understood in 1954 how they broadcast Howdy Doody into our television, but I’m using these tools. It’s almost as much fun as secretly listening to people on the party line.
I read. I write. I learn. I’m in a writing group and I have four published books. I’m still pretty sure I’m not Steinbeck, but my heart and soul have found their way back to where they should be.