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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another Venture into audio book production



As of just the other day, I have another audio book available on Podiobooks.com, "A Handy Guide for Beggars, Especially Those of the Poetic Fraternity," by Vachel Lindsay.

Lindsay was a rather popular poet back near the end of the last century.  And the book does contain a significant amount of poetry.  But most of it is stories.  He travelled "afoot and penniless" through a significant number of states in the Deep South and eastern United States.  And he did mean penniless; he felt that he would have bad luck whenever he had any money on him.  And he made a pretty good case.

As he travelled, he would stop and ask farmers and country people for a meal and a place to sleep.  And they'd give him one.  At the time, hospitality was a tradition of long standing.  Decent people took travellers in, at least country people did.  And in thanks (but not in payment) for their hospitality, he'd recite poetry, his own or from other poets.  He'd give, or rarely sell, copies of his poetry for a few cents, in those moments he felt it appropriate to have money.  And in the long term, he repaid them by telling their stories to the world.

That last is really the heart of the book.  Who wouldn't wonder about "The Dog Man," "The Shark," "The Man with Apple-Green Eyes," or "The Man Under The Yoke?"  The story of "Lady Ironheels" brought tears to my eyes.  Other stories made me laugh, in particular his adventure staying the night in a Mission, "The Temple Made With Hands."

And how was the reading in the audiobook?  Well...  it was, after all, the second book I recorded.  I've gotten better at recording and editing since then.  I make better choices, I think, in using music.  I think I read the book well.  I know I read it as well as I could at the time, over the months it took me to record the whole twenty-some episodes.

I like to think I conveyed the feeling in the stories.  I took great pleasure in the reading, and I rather enjoyed the editing, too.  I'm the sort of guy who has fun tinkering with a computer for hours at a time.  And starting with a recording of just me fumbling through a book, and ending up with a nice smooth-sounding, clean recording with effectively-used music, is a real joy to me.

This wasn't the best I've ever done.  But it was pretty good.  And I look forward to doing more.



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