On the day before I flew to Chicago I spent some time arranging outfits on my bed for Holly to inspect and approve (or not). I wanted to look professional, yet warm, be comfortable, but not too casual. Fun, but not weird. Who knew about the crinkly, unwelcome sounds made by the blouse and sweater combo I chose for day one (classic cut! bright colour!)?
Within an hour of arriving at Tyndale House, my publisher, I wore a neon-orange large men’s t-shirt provided by the wonderful recording team. It did not crinkle when I lifted my arm to swipe upward on the iPad. It did nothing for me at all, really. I wore the droopy t-shirt around all day long, meeting people. I spilled salad dressing on it at lunch so that I wouldn’t look only like a traffic cone, but also like a hoser.
Here’s what I learned about recording an audio book:
- I really am a helpless spiller and should not be trusted with nice clothes.
- Bring throat lozenges.
- Wear chap stick to prevent lip smacking, which I learned from the brutal honesty of Dave, the EFC podcast producer who has to listen to my lip smacking.
- Plastic water bottles crinkle too, especially when they’re cold. Drink room temperature water from a glass.
- It’s more tiring than you would think, reading your own work all day long for 2.5 days. Plan to go to T.J. Maxx if you can, for a little break in the evening. You will be able to buy a can opener to replace your old rusty one.
- Listen to other people who know what to do. This is almost always key to success.
It’s a strange feeling for me to imagine people I don’t know — maybe even stranger to imagine people I do know — listening to me read The Minister’s Wife out loud to them. But it’s also kind of cool. Maybe they will listen like I listen to things, walking around my neighbourhood with my dog on a leash, or vacuuming or cleaning the kitchen for the 100th time, doing all those ordinary, beautiful things that connect us to the ordinary and beautiful each other.