A-whats? Oh. – Why, thank you!

This morning, in my drowsy state just before jumping out of bed…or, more accurately, crawling, I thought that I had an angle on writing about ‘awards’. But now that I come to sit down and write something concrete I honestly can’t remember what that angle was going to be.

But why should that stop me – I bet I can find something to say 🙂

It’s a bit of a joke in my corner of the audiobook industry just how many awards I have. My natural British self-deprecating nature (it can be so annoying really) finds this embarrassing… or at least, it used to. I’ve given up being embarrassed and just embrace the joy.

I don’t know if this is a uniquely British thing or some fatal character flaw that infects across national borders but I grew up with the habit of brushing off compliments. You know the kind of thing: “Oh, Simon, I loved the way you did such-and-such”. Me: “It was nothing.” or “Oh, it wasn’t that good really, I’m sure I could do better.” or “Oh, I hated it. So-and-so was so much better”…

I was… I don’t know, well into adulthood before I truly understood that what I was doing was devaluing the taste and judgment of the person giving me the compliment. Bet that made them feel good about complimenting me in the future.

I can remember going to a dinner party back in the 80’s when the hostess, having slaved in the kitchen for hours over the meal she had just put before us at the table, said “I’m sorry about this, it’s not very good. Nothing came out as I wanted”. Well, okay… Can you wait till we’ve tried it? Turns out it was actually quite good, but how would any compliment to the chef sound sincere after that… I believe we tried.

So, when compliments come my way I choose to accept them and allow them in, instead of fending them off at the gate. It feels good. And I recognize that in many ways it says more about the person making the compliment than about me. I see the generosity of spirit behind the desire to reach out and that can’t help but uplift us both.

Just today I received an email from a woman in Rhode Island who started listening to a book of mine earlier this year and graduated to a series I had recorded which, she says, has been “…the joy of my summer.” I love that and I love that she felt able to reach out to me and let me know that I had an effect on her. She certainly had a good effect on me.

Awards also mean more when you recognize that it means you are respected by your peers and people who understand the work that goes into creating an audiobook. I started receiving Earphone Awards (for excellence) from AudioFile Magazine about 17 years ago and I now have sixty-five. My first Audie nomination was 15 years ago and I have fourteen on my shelf (having been nominated forty-three times). The Society of Voice Arts and Sciences initiated the Voice Arts Awards 4 years ago and I have six. You see, I’m not shy.

That represents a whole lot of love, for me and from me. I don’t normally say this, but sometimes I do feel blessed.

Thank you!
and 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-whats? Oh. – Why, thank you!

  1. Marcia C Hinkle November 17, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Thank you! Being gracious includes accepting compliments graciously and I think people have forgotten that in the rush to be self-deprecating.

  2. Jan Johnston November 15, 2017 at 6:00 am #

    And good morning! Wow! I knew you were really good at narrating, and my cat Lucy totally agreed (she loved Simon’s voice so much that whenever I would turn on my Kindle — I believe we were listening to TGWTDT at the time — Lucy would come running up the stairs and lay down with the front part of her body across the Kindle and just purr purr purr listening to Simon).

    I looked for that picture to post it here, but alas, I can’t find it. Probably in an old, discarded smart phone.

    Love your work, Simon! My current fur baby doesn’t have the ear Lucy had.

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