Reaching the 200 book milestone**, I thought it might be a good time to take a pause and share all the things I’m grateful for after fifteen years working as a narrator.
1) I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to balance a career that I love with being an involved and present parent. I pretty much started narrating when I was pregnant with my first child (and have memories of almost fainting while recording my first book in a very warm studio in Los Angeles while battling morning sickness). I was lucky enough to get to narrate and direct books in the studioand do quality control work at home on my own time on an very part-time basis while staying at home with my kids until they started school. Then, for the past five years, I’ve gradually moved almost all my work to my home studio, so I can run my tween and teen all over town to their various activities.
2) I’m grateful that my in first ten years of working as a narrator, I learned this craft by working with professional directors and editors in a studio, and also by editing, directing and proofing other narrators’ work. By the time I moved to working on my own, I was ready for it.
3) I’m incredibly inspired by the community of professional working narrators that I’ve gotten to know over the years. Friends and colleagues that I can turn to when I need advice on how to approach a title, exchange ideas with about equipment, or just gripe to when I need it.
4) I’m also inspired by all the authors I’ve worked with. Thankful that they’ve trusted me with bringing their words to listeners’ ears as well as awed by the stories they tell.
5) I’m thankful for all the folks in audiobook production and publishing that keep me busy and challenged. And for our union reps who help us keep wages and working conditions reasonable and sustainable!
6) I’m grateful that I get to work in a variety of genres. Each has its own demands and rewards and they balance each other by using different parts of my brain, imagination and emotional range.
7) I’m so thankful that having trained as an actress, and worked in everthing from improv to Shakespeare to radio plays to TV to film, I found my way to acting work that uses all my gifts at once – my director/producer mind, my playful imagination and my rollercoaster of emotions. And my love of reading.
8) Every day, even on days when I am frustrated with the state of the industry, or moments when I can’t get a specific sentence out of my mouth after 20 takes, all I have to remember is, “I get paid to read books”, and it’s all OK. Reading has been a particular joy and escape for me since I was four and I hope that my eyes and/or ears will allow me to enjoy it for the rest of my life.
9) I am incredibly grateful that I can read. Today, I met with my first literacy student. I trained with the Cape Fear Literacy Council to work as a reading tutor earlier this year. Finding time in my schedule to commit to working with a student twice a week was challenging, but after reading SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LUCK AND TRUST by Emilie Richards this summer, I knew I had to just make it work. A couple of weeks ago, I was assigned a student. When we talked for the first time on the phone, she explained her goals. When she confessed that no one in her family or at work knew that she couldn’t read, and that she just wanted to be able to read to her grandchildren, we both choked up. Reading is a gift I am honored to give to her, and I hope we’ll have success.
10) Finally, I am of course thankful for all the people out there who love to listen to audiobooks and for the technology that allows people to buy, borrow and listen to books in such a variety of convenient formats. Without you all, I wouldn’t have this amazing career, so I bow to you.
** I wish I could share which book was my 200th, but it’s very hard to keep track! I finish recording one that releases weeks later, and another that doesn’t come out for months and months. And of course some books I did years ago are no longer available. But I’m pretty sure that I’ve hit the milestone in the past month or so.