It is the most human imaginable pleasure to wake up and write first thing, and once again, I feel so fortunate to be able to. I don’t have to turn on a generator; I don’t have to sit in a trailer office if it’s warm, or the running chase truck if it’s cold, and keep my eye on the the store front while I write; I’m not subjected to any flies or cactus or freezing winds. It is dark and raining outside, but in a merely equatorial manner. What a change.
It’s just such a good feeling to have worked so hard…in a manner of speaking? Government contracting is not so much hard work, as just keeping a firm grip on the job you’ve got and not letting it go, even when it no longer makes sense for you, or anyone, to be there, doing that — so working hard in that sense, this last season, with this dream of a move to Hawaii in the forefront of my mind, but with so few details about how that would actually look and feel? And now to be here — a two-month Hawaii veteran!
And I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll take the trials and tribulations of audiobook narration over just about anything I’ve ever done for money, and it’s so crazy that it’s financially panned out just in time to catch me, here. Nick and I both. I mean, it’s not without effort in its own way — the room we narrate in is hot-ish, no matter what we do, because the A/C and fan must be off for noise, and the little booth itself must be shrouded in a blanket. So when I go in to have a little session after Nick, the chair and backrest are pretty thoroughly with sweat, because he’s a sweat-er. We use one of those ergonomic knee chairs, for narrating.
Last night I was on my next-to-last chapter before the end of the book, and I was really wanting a break and some fresh air, but was soldiering on anyway, and suddenly out of nowhere this passage in Russian comes up. It’s like, the girl travels back to Prague to kill the guy who stands between her old life of crime and sex slavery and her new life she wants to make with the handsome protagonist (voiced by Nick). So she needs to get weapons, and she goes down to whatever Prague’s version of Chinatown is, and this guy Igor immediately has a knife to her throat or I forget what, and so [boom] she’s all, “[long Russian passage in actual Russian characters]!” (To which he responds, in English, ‘oh it’s you,’ or something.)
I was like, Not today, Satan. I already couldn’t breathe and needed to pee and couldn’t reach my phone to put it in translator and I narrate with wifi off and Nick wasn’t in earshot to help me and I was just like no, no, no. This is not gonna take 20 minutes of my life I’ll never have back. And, it doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. So without even skipping a beat, I just adapted the first-person narrative to say, “I spoke to him in his native tongue” or something, and then the manuscript went on to actually say what it meant, and you know what? It was fine. No one will ever know, or no one would except I’m blogging about it.
The first book I ever narrated had these passages in Gaelic that I was unaware of, when I took the contract, and I actually consulted a Gaelic scholar and received some coaching in pronunciation and emphasis. Then, in talking with the author, it turns out she just entered something into a translator and, herself, had no idea how it was supposed to sound, and it was not pivotal to anything, and she’d even forgotten it was there. So after that experience, I’ve been a little hesitant to, you know, indulge these authors with their penchant for Google-translate passages.
I once narrated an entire book without realizing one of the main characters was from New Zealand and was supposed to have a kiwi accent. I’m not sure if that omission made the book better or worse.
Another time, I narrated a book where, at the end of it, there’s a big face off between a [default caucasion] motorcycle gang, a rival cholo motorcycle gang, some Italian mafioso, and of course a kidnapped sexy woman. I was like, omg omg, just rubbing my face. People listening to audiobooks probably think that the narrators have some special training or preparation. They probably think we know, in advance, that a book is going to call for literally three different ethnic accents to all talk to each other at once. Oh, and this book contained a South African doctor character as well, who wasn’t present in this scene thank god. Listeners probably have no idea that, sometimes, narrators are just off duty truck drivers who have zero preparation or aptitude for doing accents.
In fact there were times where I appealed to my sound engineer, Jeff, because I used to record in his studio, in Flagstaff. I was like, “Can you do an Italian mafia accent?” And then he’d do an Italian mafia accent, and I was like, “Jeff, that’s racist.” And he was like, “Well, tell the author. This character is not exactly smashing stereotypes.”
Anyway, yes: I’m feeling very fortunate to have shifted from the one kind of work I was doing, with the government contracting, to this kind of work, for the time being. Neither one of them is perfect, but work is work and I’m very happy. Especially happy to be able to wake up and write with no more kerfuffle than what it takes to create a perfect coffee in our perfect kitchen with the magnificent espresso machine. Ah!
Oh, and Bitcoin is knocking on the door of $33k! I remember so many friends telling me, back when it was $4k in a seemingly permanent fashion, they wished they wouldn’t have missed the boat but it’s too late now! And I was like, no it’s not, just get on the boat! But they didn’t! Oh well, I tried.
If anyone’s reading this and thinking you missed the boat: you still didn’t miss the boat. Bitcoin will be a million in 2025/26 timeframe. Stop looking at the price and just buy it. Just buy whatever you can, in whatever increment, on whatever timeline. I’m selling clothes out of my closet to buy more Bitcoin. There’s no wrong way to buy more Bitcoin right now! Even though the price is suddenly $33k — just ignore that! And buy more. My friends shoulda listened to me then, and you should listen to me now.
PS I am not a financial advisor. I am, merely and always, a smart, sexy vegan.