Today, my friends, is the 60th anniversary of the day the world changed, when the Beatles sang on Ed Sullivan and most of North America watched. By some miracle, I got to watch too; my dad hated TV and refused to get one, but he rented one occasionally, and we happened to have a little black and white box on Feb. 9 1964. What ecstasy, what absolute joy I felt, even with him sitting behind me mocking every moment. And to think that Macca and Ringo are still out there making music, and I am loving them still. Faithful, that’s what we are — they to us, and we to them.
All of this, and so much more, detailed in All My Loving: coming of age with Paul McCartney in Paris. FYI.
Mind-blowing! As I write, I’m sitting outside on the deck in the hot sun; it feels like April. A brave crocus has appeared in the front yard, where there’s hardly any light. February is usually the most brutal month of winter, and today it’s over eleven degrees. People are out in shorts.
And I have to spend this glorious afternoon in a tiny recording booth. I am taping the audiobook of Midlife Solo, spent yesterday afternoon, another lovely day, doing so, and will have one more day after this. I’m a fast reader and I know what I’m doing, but still, it just takes time. And it’s emotional work — I’m not narrating any old book, I’m recording my life. Today I will be reading about my father’s death and the death of one of my good friends. It’s part of the job to allow emotion into my voice but not let it take over. We don’t have time for me to sniffle and weep.
At least this audiobook won’t cost much, just paying my young tech assistant Patrick for his time taping and editing. I’m lucky Patrick is finishing the journalism program at what was Ryerson, and has free access to the studio. I taped the audiobook for Loose Woman at a local studio; the whole thing cost me about $800, and I have made back at least $17.50. But a friend in Africa told me what a pleasure it was to hear my voice tell the tale, and an artist in the States found my address and sent a card that’s tacked up on my bulletin board: “Just finished listening to you read Loose Woman and LOVED it. Such an interesting story. I loved it all, but in particularly following the deepening of you into such full humanity. Your writing is musical, so a pleasure to hear.”
I talk in class about the importance of the music of sentences. It’s a huge help when a writer has an innate musical sense. Can’t be taught.
Excuse me while I take off my turtleneck, to reveal the Paul McCartney t-shirt underneath. It’s HOT!
The other day I took a webinar with the esteemed Dinty Moore, telling us about “the invisible magnetic river” that should run through our writing. As a result, I realized the scene I’d decided on to start the next book is not the right one. Just after that, my editor Ellie Barton wrote to let me know she thought the scene I’d decided on to start the next book is not the right one. Good to know Ellie, Dinty, and I are unanimous. Now to find the right one. As Dinty said:
Hard to be gloomy about the world when sweltering in the sun on February 9. Happy Beatle Day to you all!