If I didn’t know myself so well, I wouldn’t believe this next statement either; soon a Ted Clifton audiobook will be available. Many of you may say, oh sure; I’ll believe that when I see it. I wouldn’t blame you at all. Some of you have followed the confusing story of the Santa Fe Mojo audiobook. It started in October of 2018 and limped along all of the way through 2019 and finally died in 2020. Up to the very last, I believed there would be an audiobook; but I was wrong.
The people I was working with are talented people who have done many things for me and have a vast number of skills. How this got so delayed, and eventually canceled, is not completely clear to me, but what is clear is that it was nobody’s fault. Anybody who has not experienced stupid bad luck just has not tried much stuff. I know people who are totally risk adverse; but they are often the first to criticize someone for failing at something new. Failing is a critical part of learning.
I think we live in a climate where if something goes wrong, the first order of business is to find someone to blame. Some of this blame seeking is nothing more than an unwillingness to accept personal blame for anything. There has never been a car accident where someone said; my fault. When anything goes wrong the first impulse is finger pointing.
Most things that fail are based on a combination of bad luck and numerous mistakes by almost all involved. Nobody was pleased with the outcome of the SFM audiobook—there were no winners. But, at least, it’s over. The SFM audiobook project is officially dead. Long live Dog Gone Lies audiobook.
Yes, the production of Dog Gone Lies, Sky High Stakes and Four Corners War has begun. I’ve lost a lot of time in the audiobook arena so decided to do all three P&C books at once. Now we will see how it goes. I will be holding my breath for several months in anticipation of a successful project. If it isn’t, at least there will be new people to blame.
The world seems to be in a mess. We’ve got hateful politics, terrible TV shows and COVID-19. Is this the end of the world or just a bad season? No matter the subject in America, there seems to be two sides taking opposing positions. It’s a crisis; no, it’s a hoax. Maybe, in some way, we’ve always been this way; but it does seem worse.
This could also be impacted by our apparent need for enemies. You can’t blame others unless there are others. Enemies have become more important than friends. The more enemies you have, the less responsible you are for anything. All of the bad stuff is because of the evil enemies.
I tend to blame myself for everything. The SFM audiobook was a total failure—my fault. The world is going to hell—my fault. Sure, I’ve got my pet enemies; who are screwing things up right and left; but mostly if it directly affects me—it’s my fault.
My books are full of gritty language—profanity to some. The majority of my bad reviews are due to the language, because it offends some. I’m now wondering if that was a mistake; especially because I got into the habit of having a prologue which usually contains a concentration of these words.
From a creative point-of-view I think the language is appropriate and fits the story. My stories involve gangsters, murderers, people under great stress and odd-ball characters who use foul language. Wouldn’t the stories be different without those words? I think so, but it has led to some rather unfriendly reviews.
The language issue came up with the new audiobooks. I had requested auditions from narrators and received great responses from many talented people. As part of the detail information it was stated that the books contain “gritty” language. One of the narrators wrote back and said that they were offended by bad language; but if it was okay, they would substitute their less offensive words as they read.
I suppose there was some logic in that? Here is a book you have spent hours, days and months writing and doing it in a particular way—choosing words that convey your story and characters in a fashion that makes sense to you; but someone else finds them offensive—is it okay to change them? Of course, that was not acceptable.
The request to use different words than the author’s in narrating a book seemed to me to fit into the world where if it does not please me, then the world should change to match what I want. My sensibilities must be protected. The best way to accomplish that is to live in a bubble. Only associate with people of my tribe, watch TV shows that reflect my views, shun all dissenting views and pretend I know everything—since I do.
I was almost tempted to have the person with their own non-gritty words do an audition. I was curious to hear what words they would use in place of my well understood, time-tested offensive ones. But then I decided that was not fair; so I advised that person that my project was probably not a good fit for them. We both returned to our bubbles; secure in knowing we were right.