I have an audiobook intern! I’m teaching her the ins and outs of audiobook production, and in exchange for that, and some compensation because fuck unpaid internships, she’s going to be doing my editing for me – the part that’s so tiring that it makes me just go “ugggh” when I even think about it. I’ve been on recording hiatus for weeks with the bronchitis (flared back up), but…almost there. And if this works out, and all I have to do is narrate, I should be quite productive on the audiobook front.
My other young apprentice (and yeah I’m using my Emperor Palpatine voice when I say that), a writer with whom I barter my editing and formatting skills in exchange for other tiring tasks I don’t want to do, has gone through the audio files for A Little Too Broken and flagged all the, surprisingly many, places I didn’t stick to the ebook word for word when I recorded. At the time I thought, fuck Whispersync (which requires exact matching between ebook and audiobook). I don’t want a mingy $0.50 royalty on an audiobook anyway from cheap bastards who buy the $5 ebook just to… And now I’m like, oh, wait a minute. That’s $3.50 in ebook royalties, plus $0.50 on the audiobook, so that’s $4 really, which is about what I’d get on a $20 audiobook… And I’m not getting any sales on the audiobook now anyway… Fine. I’ll fix it.
It’s not even remotely as easy to change out audio files with ACX as it is to change an ebook, so even though I may be deleting a few lines that Young Apprentice thinks, correctly, that the ebook is the better for having, it’s the best way right now to get ALTB approved for WS’ing.
So yeah… Writing the Other. I’m going to write On My Honor. The white cop and the biracial journalist, star-crossed lovers if ever there was. Harper Miller and others have encouraged me to do it, and, TBH, those bloggers who’ve expressly forbidden me as a white man from doing it because it’s “cultural appropriation,” well, nothing like telling me what I can’t write to put a fire under my ass to write it.
Some of us were dubious when we heard Jodi Picoult had written a novel with racially charged subject matter, but she seems to have done, you know, exactly what a white person should do in this case. Here’s her statement from her Reddit AMA:
I read a ton of writings by social justice educators, to get the vocabulary of what I was trying to say. Then I attended a racial justice workshop, and left in tears each night as I realized I was not nearly as blameless as I liked to think I was. I met with women of color for over 100 hours of interview tape, and they were kind enough to overlook my ignorance about their lives as they told me about their fears, successes, hopes, dreams — for ex. the woman with a baby son, who worried after there was another shooting by police of an unarmed Black man — “How will I keep my baby safe when he’s bigger? How do I teach him not to be Black?” It made me realize that’s something I never had to worry about, as a white woman, a white mom. These ladies also vetted the voice of Ruth in the book, to make sure she was authentic. I couldn’t have written this novel without them. I also met with two former Skinheads, who explained to me how they entered a life of hate — and what made them get out of it. They are both dramatically changed men — one even works for the Simon Weisenthal center and has a Jewish wife — and I left those interviews thinking, “If guys like THIS can change…can’t ordinary people change too?” To be honest, the research I did for this novel changed me the way no other research ever has. I used to not pay a lot of attention to race and racism, which is in and of itself a privilege. Now, I can’t stop seeing how race affects every interaction; I can’t stop talking about racism with others.
I really, really need to write Marc and Jesse #3 first, but I’m not feeling that yet. I have a ghosting job to do by end of November, so my creative focus has to be on that, and that’s a good reentry for me into the world of fiction. Then I’ll be ready for the boys.