If someone told me that the bulk of this year I would be home working in my little studio, day after day, week after week all year long, I would have said that sounds about right. But if someone told me that besides my immediate family of three, I would see my favorite people mostly through a computer screen, I would have thought they were joking. It has been a very long year, and we are all so tired. I am grateful that there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, but that light still feels so far away.
I am fortunate that audiobook narration is a pretty pandemic-proof job, a fact I give thanks for every day, and my work life has changed little. What has changed is not working with my directors in studios, or seeing my fellow narrators and producers at various events and workshops, and most importantly, at the APAC conference in New York City. I can’t wait to run around the giant Javits Center again and have a million little conversations while running to the next seminar.
In the meantime, I’ve had a wonderful year in audiobooks, recording everything from paranormal mysteries, to thrillers, to romance novels. From non-fiction books about the corporate culture of Netflix, to modern day etiquette, to how to parent and raise an entrepreneur. From beautiful memoirs like Gold Medalist Jessie Diggin’s Brave Enough that won an Earphones Award from Audiofile Magazine, to Stevie Phillips’ memoir about managing the likes of Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and Robert Redford, (cover above). And I was extraordinarily lucky to read some incredible fiction; Sue Miller’s Inventing the Abbotts, Karen Russell’s Sleep Donation, Emily Gray Tedrowe’s The Talented Miss Farwell, and Brian Castleberry’s debut novel, Nine Shiny Objects. I even got to play SHAKESPEARE in Master of the Revels by Nicole Galland for Harper Audio out next year. Only in audiobooks! It has been a blessing to immerse myself in a new world each week, and to have a reason to escape the brutal and unrelenting news cycle.
I wish for all of us a better 2021. My heart goes out to families who have lost so much this year. We know what needs fixing and I am committed to move forward with conviction and step up to be part of the solution. It won’t be easy, but piece of cake after this year, amirite? It has been a doozy. Happy End of 2020, we made it.
In March of 2020, I had several books to record. I was ready. Then the pandemic hit. I have a daughter. Schools were closed so my husband and I had to split our workday in half and pull double duty with childcare. Needless to say, this was difficult. So many unknowns, so many fears, very little focus. I started recording Brave Enough in April. As I narrated I was grateful for Jessie’s story. She is a firecracker. A woman with unbelievable focus, fierce determination, an unmatched positive attitude, and great sense of humor, she overcame an eating disorder and went on to become a gold medalist in cross country skiing at the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018. She has won several world championships and competed in the World Cup. She is also a spokeperson of The Emily Program which helps women recover from eating disorders. To say that she is an inspiration is an understatement. It was her story, written with Todd Smith, that helped me get through the difficult period of work/life balance during Covid. So it is very special to me that Audiofile Magazine awarded this title with an Earphones Award. It shows me that even in a dark time, the light is always trying to get in, and that if we continue to fight and work hard, we can come out the other side.