February 22, 2006

The Quality of Silence

They had to tape a minute of silence yesterday in the studio where I read the first 105 pages of Between. Why, I wanted to know. To fill in or create holes, they said. To put in pauses that are silent where right now you are putting in pauses where you breathe or pauses where you move or pauses where your stomach makes an odd gurgling noise that yes, we out here in the studio DO all hear, and PS thanks for not farting. You are least fartiest reader we have ever had.

But it has to be silence from that room? I asked.
Yes, they assured me. Silence is a fingerprint.

No other silence sounds like the silence in the small space I spent more than six hours yesterday. Any other silence, even silence from another studio, wouldn't sound like the silence in that one room in this small space of time.

Now, look, I've been doing this WRITING thing for quite some time, and I BETCHA that if
1) I had a soul and
2) if I wasn't gearing up for 6 - 7 more hours of sitting in box ASSIDUOUSLY NOT PASSING GAS, I could come up with a way to make that an interesting metaphor about, you know, life, and how the quality of silence being as individual as snowflakes and etc etc but Lordy, I am JUST not up for it. You make a metaphor for me, okay, and please let it be less cheesey than the sample one. I REALLY want to make one, but I'm too dern tired. This party is strictly BYOM.

For the record, I have not passed gas. EVEN ONCE. Furthermore, if I do? You will know by process of deductive reasoning. If, for example, you hear that I have driven off a cliff to my death tomorrow afternoon, you will know that I have failed in my objective. Why this matters to me so much, I have no clue. But I have weird ideas about propriety. I am violently uncomfortable right now telling you that I DID NOT pass gas, as it seems the WHOLE subject ought to be somehow taboo.

And yet I laugh like a crazed loon everytime a dog, in my presence, does the universal "pass gas and then turn their whole bodies to stare in a puzzled and accusing manner at their own back end" thing. I think it's the GAS IN GENERAL, GAS IN PERSONAL thing. Dog tooting or therotical fart-joke tooting is amusing. Someone's personal actual intestinal tract...their own individual private tooting, I feel they should keep that to themselves. I don't need details, and if I DO hear them, I get terrible sympathetic embarrassment and want to die FOR the tooter. So.

I sent Scott out two days before we began to buy both Beano and Gas-X to pre-emptively medicate myself to safety. He feels the cashier looked at him in a manner both pitying and snide. She is probably tellign all the other cashiers about Gas Guy. He came home sour and said, "You need me to go buy Midol? I'll go buy Midol. THIS was a bit much." Without missing a beat I said, "Can you run back out and get me some Depends?"

I. Am. So. Tired.

The producer said I am doing a very good job. I said REALLY? He said yes really. I said, NO BUT REALLY? He said, Yes. Really. And I said REALLYREALLYREALLYFORTRUEREALLY? And he said, No, I was lying to make you feel good, and I said, REALLY? and he said, NO. You are an excellent reader and I said REALLY and he said DEAR GOD YES YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB I NEVER EXPECTED TO BE THIS FAR INTO IT I LOVE THE CHARACTER CHOICES YOU ARE MAKING YOU HAVE GREAT ENERGY AND ARE LIVELY AND IT'S GOING EXTREMELY WELL, DAMMIT. I said...Really? And he picked up my own discarded shoe and beat me to death with it.

Except for that one beating to death part, he is a joy to work with and he has SWORN he will not let me read the character of Henry as if he were Elvis, which is the ONE thing I fear more that passing gas in that tiny box where Max, the sound board guy, had to adjust the mike so they wouldn't pick up MY HEART BEAT.

Henry is the problem. Because he is probably my favorite male character, and I get scared trying to make him be all I see in him. So far I have read two of Henry's lines, and one was "Me Neither" and one was "It's terrible to be robbed, of course." NOT LONG LINES. But I have read both those lines OVER AND OVER 15 times each with new Bobly instructions each time, telling me NOT sound like Elvis, to NOT sound like Dennis Quaid in the Big Easy, to NOT sound like a muppet on crack. I don't know what Henry sounds like, but at least he doesn't sound like THOSE things.

The producer said: Why is Henry so hard -- Jonno sounds great, so you can do men. Why are you balking at Henry?
Me: I don't know.
Bob: The uncle sounded good, this is just another man.
Me: I want to do him right.
Bob: So you are intimidated because you LIKE him.
Me: I MORE than like him. I want to have sex with him. And I want to read him so well that YOU want to have sex with him, too.
Long pause.
Bob: Well, we have a ways to go, then, don't we. Try the line again.
Me to Max: Um, were you taping when I said that 'I want to have sex with Henry' part?
Max: You betcha.
Me: (muttering) At least I haven't farted yet.
Max: PS, I am STILL rolling...

Posted by joshilyn at February 22, 2006 6:17 AM

You are just too much! Such a deliciously wicked sense of humor. Reading you first thing in the early, early morning makes coming to work early worthwhile. Oh, to be a fly on the wall wherever you are. I am still rolling -- on the floor, I mean.

Posted by: David at February 22, 2006 7:37 AM

Congrats on doing such a good job so far (and for not farting of course). Also, thank you for the morning laugh....the conversation with you and Max? Hillarious.

Posted by: Jessie at February 22, 2006 8:40 AM

Why the heck does the microphone need to be so sensitive that it picks up your heartbeat? That sounds, well...inconvenient. There's probably some deep metaphor to be had about the sensitivity of the microphone too, but I've barely started my first cup of coffee this morning, so the "quality of silence as a snowflake" thing is still sounding profound-ish to me, which doesn't make me a bit of help. Sorry.

Do they have audio book outtake reels, like for moives? Because that last conversation with Bob and Max SO totally needs to be on an outtake reel.

Posted by: DebR at February 22, 2006 9:29 AM


Posted by: Amy-GO at February 22, 2006 10:02 AM

*giggle* "Bob: Well, we have a ways to go, then, don't we. Try the line again."

Please tell me he wasn't *snort* able to say this with a straight face!

Posted by: Mit_Moi at February 22, 2006 10:03 AM

I'm with DebR. I'd love to hear an outtake reel on this one. Thanks for starting my morning off with a laugh!

Posted by: dragonfly at February 22, 2006 10:40 AM

Joss, please if you haven't already, go pick up a copy of the kids' book Walter the Farting Dog. I know your son is already reading Tolstoy and whatnot, but he would probably still get a huge kick out of the hapless Walter. (And I know for sure that you would be ROFL'ing.)

Posted by: Jenn at February 22, 2006 11:36 AM

I'm with Deb and Dragonfly-- pleaseprettyplease ask the audiobook company to include an outtake reel (as "collectors edition" DVDs do).

Your story of what happened in real life was even funnier than what happened in your dream (and the horrible stuff you feared didn't even happen!)

Posted by: Elizabeth at February 22, 2006 11:51 AM

I may actually buy both the audio and hard cover book and then sit in bed and have you read to me. Then I'm going to fart and when my husband says "did you just...?" I'm going to say, "no, I think it was Joshilyn" but I'm going to say it JOSH-I-LIN. Bwah-ha-ha-ha....

Posted by: Heather Cook at February 22, 2006 1:18 PM

Joss I love ya. I'm with you, some personal functions should be kept personal. Now could you come teach my DJ's this? PLEASE.I.NEED.THIS.BAD. Plus, I have a DJ's that hacks like a smoker and clears her throat so loud you hear it down the hall - from a sound proof booth - at least 15 times in 10 minutes, and she's only don't a crossword puzzle and rambling on and on about what nobody knows because we tuned her out hours before, broken only by the incessant throat clearing that we can't tune out.

Sorry I got off track. thank you for the vent... me three I want the out takes reel...of course he's recording you in digital...so no reel. soooo CD?

Posted by: Cele at February 22, 2006 3:01 PM

Precious. Absolutely. I think this post should be the first chapter of a novel.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at February 22, 2006 3:42 PM

Hah! Sign me up for the outtakes too! Maybe it could be one of those hidden tracks, where they don't list it but if you go on listening when the book is over you get to hear Joshilyn and the producer talking about sex with Henry. Though it might make people have accidents if they were listening while driving.

Also--that individual quality of silence is called "room tone." My Partner the Sound Designer can go on and on about it. I can't think of a metaphor either, but I'm no good at that stuff.

Posted by: elswhere at February 22, 2006 9:47 PM

But would it really be so bad if you made him sound like Elvis? I love Elvis-sounding persons...

Posted by: Cornelia Read at February 22, 2006 10:30 PM

Maybe try reading Henry so he sounds like Bob. He can't argue with that.

Posted by: LoryKC at February 23, 2006 11:51 AM

That Roni, and your Henry voice, are SO right.

Posted by: Karen Abbott at February 23, 2006 12:48 PM