Janis Ian & Stefan Rudnicki Record My Audiobook!* – Part 2
Honestly, I’m still a little inarticulate about this, so pardon me if I trip over my own tongue a bit, and do expect revisions and additions in the near future.
First, the experience was so surreal I wish I had come home with a snippet of the recording so I could remind myself of the enormity of the experience (it is THAT surreal, so much so that it is hard for me to recover the memory accurately, like trying to remember a dream). Alas, I was advised that it’s not wise for the author to hear the unedited version, so they did not let me take any samples home. And I understand why.
But…I want to revisit that first moment (and a few moments after!), that very first moment when I was sitting in the studio, and Stefan said, “We’re ready; Janis, begin whenever you are.” Janis was cocooned in the recording booth, and she began to speak into the mic, her voice broadcast into the room we were in via some magic speaker that made it seem like she was standing right next to us (as we joked, it sounded like the voice of God, since I could not see her but her voice was completely present):
“Lost Cantos of the Ouroborous Caves…. Chapter One,” she began.
First there was the shocking reality of it. This was actually happening. My first book, 6 months after its first printing, was being recorded by Janis Ian and Stefan Rudnicki.
That’s the fan-girl, awe-struck, holy s**t moment. I expected that moment. I had prepared myself for that and talked myself into at least not squealing with glee out loud (one must be vewy vewy quiet in a recording studio).
What I didn’t expect is what happened next. Janis had warned me that she had to read the book as she read it, as she heard it, which would be different from how I hear it in my head. She said to prepare myself for that. I thought, no sweat, man. My father has read the book aloud to me, my friends have as well. I’m used to different “interpretations.” And also, I trust Janis, and I trust that any interpretation she gives it will be hers, with her lyrical, tender, melodic voice, and therefore, it will be just fine. She’s just gonna read the stories as she reads them. Right?
Wrong. What Janis and Stefan did in creating this audio book is anything but an “interpretation.” It is not their “version” or “reading” of my book. Every reader takes from each word and each turn of phrase or completed story what they need, what they want, and then that moment dies and they move on to the next one. As both a reader and an author I am used to that. I expected to “hear” Janis’ version of my book. That’s not what happened. What happened – and this is what I was unprepared for — is that I was launched into the 3 dimensional audio world she and Stefan created out of my two dimensional words on paper. Listeners of audio books are accustomed to “hearing” the movie of the book. But the experience — as the author — of witnessing the creation of that specific, living, breathing, moving, palpable, world out of words I wrote on a page…was like watching inspiration and creation herself in action. I was in the unique position of experiencing the creation of the world they made. And entering their world was mesmerizing.
Again, I will say, I was humbled, awed, honored and inspired with the expertise and care they took in cultivating that audio world out of the silent paper seeds I gave them.