A rare thing this week when some work comes in. Not a gig as such but definitely work and very welcome it is too. Maybe not financially worth it but for my sense of self.
It requires a car journey which I relish. I even hope that that Plod (cops, for my US readers) might pull me over to enquire why I am not staying home and saving lives as our government adverts constantly implore us to do.
“I am going to work, officer.”
Something I have not been able to say for almost a year.
I have been booked to narrate a series of children’s books for a real life publisher. The same outfit, in fact, who published my novels but then fired me and this throws up all manner of emotions as I hare up the M40, within the speed limit because this gig is not an earner and a speeding fine would make it a loss.
Ten books in fact and I am allocated just two hours to lock them off. As I read – sorry, ‘perform’ them, darling, I am enticed by the prospect of writing children’s books. Barely a hundred words per book. It has to be the easiest gig of all. You know the sort; frightful jeopardy, miraculous but implausible resolutions and all hinging on a few words rhyming.
Nice work if one can get it.
And for the voice artistes too, lucky enough to narrate such tomes. After commission, I am looking at twenty quid per book and so I need to find other upsides and fortunately this is something I have needed to become expert at.
So, here goes…
I am out of my house. I am working. I have another journey home to look forward to. And maybe my new listeners in the years ahead, they might remember the man who narrated their favourite books and then come to read my books also?
This last one is a stretch I know, but man of an certain age working in the arts and in the 3rd lockdown…
Such optimism (delusion) and hope is a key mindset for anyone looking for a long term career in the arts.
Because let’s face it, there are so few real stars. Most careers stutter and falter and why such a mindset is essential for exponents to keep on keeping on. Having conviction is the kind interpretation. Clutching at straws is more accurate.
Narrating these books is also a good experience. To do something new. Book narrator will make my curriculum vitae (resume, for my US readers) more full and interesting (I do not have a curriculum vitae btw). But also because I am about to narrate one of my own books for audio and so this will be a good experience to draw upon. Albeit my book is eighty thousand words long, is not illustrated and does not rhyme.
It is called Eclipsed and is the true story of a father and son and their attempts to crack Hollywood. One is a writer and one is an actor. One is a very deliberate ploy and intention. The other is a complete fluke. A piece of serendipity. Taking opportunities as they appear and seeing what comes in, if anything?
And with very different results.
As the author and current publisher of Eclipsed, naturally I am going to narrate the book myself. Call this nepotism but I think I’ve earned the honour, having lived it and ‘bravely’ written it.
The intention being for the audio book, that the dad reads the book and then father and son will reminisce on certain key anecdotes to serve as something of an update but mostly to make the project more commercial.
I plan to use the same engineer and his studio in Oxford. I liked the bloke and besides, there is something about narrating a book amidst the spires of Oxford. I applied to be an undergraduate at Oxford University many years ago and in fact, I am still waiting to hear back from them. I should probably assume it is a “NO” by now.
It will take four days to complete the book. Eight journeys then with the harrowing government radio adverts for company.
“….unless your journey is absolutely necessary.”
Stay home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.
Well, the print version of Eclipsed is not troubling the sales of JK Rowling or Lee Child. So maybe the audio version will be the breakthrough…
Get out of the house (safely) – Try and make a living – Feel Alive.
But you see my point?