A Day in the Life

Before I start in on today let me go back for a moment to yesterday. I was clearly in a bad mood! It probably began when I woke from a bad dream – that’s never a good start and it affected my mood through the day and made work just that bit harder. When you’re feeling under-par it’s not surprising that little things niggle all the more.

This work of narration requires intense concentration for quite long periods of time (okay, it’s not rocket science or microsurgery, but still…) and mistakes in the text put greater strain on that focus – and to add to it, as I’ve mentioned, ending a book is always a bit of a downer even if the book isn’t my favorite. I think this is what’s called a ‘first-world’ problem… I’m still an incredibly lucky guy.

Today has been much better. I had the option of starting that new book today (Pinocchio) or leaving it till tomorrow. I have a lot of ‘small stuff’ to catch up on so I thought I’d see how things went first and if I could make an early start on the book all the better for my weekend.

So now I’m going to take you through my day from start to (almost) finish:

I felt like using the rowing machine as my early exercise and managed to achieve a personal best (making up for yesterday’s wimpiness, I guess). Shave, shower, breakfast. While I was enjoying my oatmeal (heart-healthy) I started checking my emails. Once my oatmeal was done I spent some time on an email to my friend Bradley (yes, that Bradley – see earlier blogs) trying to give him some information about turning his book into an audiobook (here’s the book on Amazon – click here). Also sent an email to introduce him to a publisher who has expressed interest. Amongst other emails that needed attention was an email from our landscape designer… which sounds very flashy, but our new house is very rough outside and we need to know where to focus our attention in order to improve the landscaping over the next ten years or so (just spending a little bit at a time). Having an overall plan seems like a good idea. Scheduled a meeting to discuss those plans.

Email arrived from publisher Penguin Random House regarding a possible new book – was I available within a certain range of dates? Consulted calendar and then checked with another publisher about potential dates for a book already accepted. Emailed Penguin Random House to say ‘yes’ (Yay! I’m not unemployed after Thanksgiving). Email from Ryan who operates AudM. They provide an app where you can hear longform articles from numerous magazines (their latest deal is with The New Yorker –check out the website here) read by several well known audiobook narrators including ‘yours truly’. Ryan had an article for me (Yay, work!)

By now it’s time for a coffee…

Started prepping Pinocchio – just listing the chapters and page lengths of each, so that I can get a general picture of the breakdown of the book and plan what chapters I’m going to record, when, and how long they’ll take. Having done that I decided to record the article from AudM – it was about 20 minutes long on the subject of the Rorschach personality test, an article from the London Review of Books. Everything I get from AudM makes for a fascinating read and it’s always a pleasure (unless there are masses of foreign pronunciations… well, even then). Having recorded and edited the piece I uploaded it via Dropbox.

Then I had to take on a task I have been avoiding for more than a week. For the second time in the last few years one of my credit card issuers, in the interests of security, decided to issue a new card… with a new number… It’s the card I use most (because: air miles) and that means I have a list of 20 websites I need to check on to change my subscription info. What a pain. Also needed a couple of phone calls. Oh, and I had to re-install the card on my iPhone and Apple Watch so that I can use Apple Pay… I think that counts as another ‘first-world problem’. 🙂

In the middle of that I renewed my membership at Huntington Gardens. If you live anywhere near Pasadena you must visit this place – it’s fantastic. We’ve been members for two years now and visit quite often for the tranquility, the art, the exhibitions, the music, and occasionally the theatre – we saw a wonderful performance from an RSC touring company a year or so back. It’s been well worth the annual membership – check them out by clicking on this link to their website. The restaurant and Tea Room aren’t bad either – though our favorite place is the Chinese garden (oh, and the rose garden in season has to be seen to be believed).

Then, lunch.

Tomorrow night is my acting class and I have two scenes to work on this week. I just printed them off. Then I heard back from AudM’s engineer that I had made two mistakes in my recording so I re-recorded those passages and uploaded them. Then I read through and marked up my scenes for the acting class as a first step to exploring them more fully. A UPS package arrived (spare battery for my computer mouse).

Having done all that I decided to record the first hour of Pinocchio – it’s delightful. So charming. Got as far as the end of chapter 11. My wife let me know via text that she had a spare hour or so before her next major appointment so we arranged to have tea at the same time (she’s way down in Orange County at UC Irvine) and chat over the phone – a chance to connect… very pleasant.

Then it was tech-time! I had a computer failure last week and decided to upgrade my equipment. But before I can use this new iMac I’ve bought as a replacement I need to get all the software I need installed. in the old days you could just load the one program for this and one program for that – but now I have various security ‘dongles’ to attach and each one comes with it’s own security program… there’s a lot to do.

In the middle of that I had dinner: left-overs, but delicious left-overs (my wife is seeing student theatre at the university tonight so I’m on my own).

And that’s it, so far. I finished as much as I’m going to do on the computer just before I started in on this blog… Now I have time to do the washing up and watch a TV show. Then lights out!

And there you have it, just an average day.

Take Care
– S.



About Simon

Simon is an actor who found his way into audiobook narrating as a side-gig and seems to have made a success of it. With some training as an actor as a child (just a couple of hours a week, but it stuck) and 15 years working inside the BBC (ending up as one of the presenters/newsreaders on BBC Radio 4 in London) he found the ideal combination for an audiobook narrator. Found his way to California two decades ago and never left.

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2 Responses to A Day in the Life

  1. Jan Johnston November 9, 2017 at 5:25 am #

    Oh, lord have mercy!! I just woke up, having my first cuppa and reading your blog. Now I just want to crawl into bed for another couple of hours!

    Oh, you young people. I envy the energy. (I too, have a rowing machine, but it’s standing up against the wall covered in dust!)

    I GREATLY enjoyed your submission today!

    • Simon November 9, 2017 at 8:27 am #

      Young? Okay, I’ll take that – I do have many years ahead of me. But never thought of 61 as young 🙂

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