Monday, June 22, 2009

To Scratch and Scribble Part 3

Now we're starting to touch on something unexpected, readers. It's that little thing that tells all of us that we are leading up to something big: serendipity.

I was eleven. I had briefly written a chapter for a project that our teacher made us do. It was for a book called The Phantom Tollbooth, which I still love to this day. We, the students, were given the project of writing a lost chapter of the book. I can't remember what I wrote or where those papers are . . . so I guess it's safe to say that project is complete in that now it really is a lost chapter. Go figure.

But there was something else that happened during that time; my family got our own tape recorder. I don't remember where from. All I know is, one day I came home from school and it was just there. It was one chunky looking thing, ancient by today's standards. (Phones can record, laptops, they even have recorder pens that can hold, can't even make this up, 16GB= 280 hours of recording time.)

Completely smitten with the damn thing, I decided to give it a whirl. Of course I did all the primitive stuff that the kid in us always does. I blew into the mic, experimented with different voices, all that nonsense.(Even tried recording an audio drama and later did a fake radio show with my brother where we would do impressions of famous celebrity guests. But that's another story.)

Then I picked up a book. One of my favorites.

It was entitled Top Secret written by John Reynolds Gardiner. The story was about a regular kid named Allen who tries a science experiment where he turns himself into a walking Human-plant hybrid.

With the Tape Recorder ready, I read the whole 128 page novel aloud, creating my very first audio book. I tripped up a bit, here and there. I was nervous even though I knew that this tape was just for me. I remember pronouncing words like "linoleum" and "sergeant" wrong, rewinding the tape to rerecord over my mistakes. But it was a fun little tape, despite the trip up's. It was my own little top secret project.

Flash forward over a decade later and now I'm recording my own book, Mr. Dead Eyes, in podcast form. Sometime during recording, I looked back on this memory and snickered to myself, "How the hell could I mispronounce Linoleum?"

Anyone else care to share their story of tape recording?

Leave a comment below.

Be happy to read them.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." ~ Henry David Thoreau


Alissa said...

My sister and I also had our own tape-recorded "radio show." A few years ago she found one of the tapes and we sat there laughing as we listened to it. I think my brother-in-law just thought we were both nuts. By the way, I actually remember reading "Top Secret" as a kid. As soon as I saw the cover, it took me back.

AmberInGlass said...

I think right about when I was the same age my family had a tape recorder too. I guess it was the same thing for me and my older sister and my friends around my age. We each had our own little fun times pretending to be making our own broadcasts. I recall even doing our best celebrity impersonations as well. :D

I've been listening to Mr. Dead Eyes, and I have to say, all that practice really paid off for you. You sound like a professional reading during your performance. Your rendition of Tomas Wilker is particularly of note. If I hadn't known better I'd swear you had a voice double.

Elisa said...

Great memories of being a kid and playing w/ the tape recorder!!

I very much want to do a podcast recording of my novel, but it's a lot harder than it seems! If I'm gonna do it, I wanna do it "right" -- i.e., I'd want my brother's help. He's an audio engineer (even has gold records on the wall!) and is top notch in his field. Unfortunately, we're in different states, so I'll either have to try it myself and send the files to him, or actually book recording time w/ him.

Congrats on your doing your own podcast recording!

Rebecca said...

Ahh, tape recorder.

I remeber that my parents bought one, and still use it to this day ( Neither here nor there) but I pretended to be a reporter and "wrote" my articles this way.

Of course, they sounded great back then...

As always great post.

Rob said...

Amberinglass: Thanks for the compliment. To tell you the truth, for the voice of Thomas Wilker, I was doing an impression of my father's voice to test it out and it just fit. So that's his voice from now on. Come to think of it, I think that character was inspired by my father.

Thank you all for the comments. I really enjoy reading them.