Discover more from Letters from an American
July 30, 2023
This week we finished recording the audiobook for Democracy Awakening.
And so the entire process of writing a book, from getting the idea to reading the audiobook, is done, done, done, done, done.
It reads well, I think. In an odd way it is a deeply personal book: it’s basically my thoughts about the conversations we all have been having for the past four years about history, politics, democracy, and authoritarianism, based on my years of studying history and thinking about the human condition. We originally called the book “All I Know,” and that title would actually be pretty fair.
I’m superstitious about saying more now, but I’ll be speaking about the ideas in the book all over the country starting on the publication date—September 26—and will undoubtedly say then all the things I don’t dare venture now. (I’ll post a tour schedule somewhere obvious as soon as I get it.)
One thing new in this go-round is that the pandemic made it hard to get paper (manufacturers switched to cardboard packaging) and to print new runs (large printing facilities in the U.S. have closed as people turned to electronic formats), so if you think you’re going to want an actual book you might want to consider preordering one in the next week or so, from a local bookseller if you can. The publisher uses an algorithm based on preorders to determine the size of the first run, and while a second print run used to take about a week, now it can take as long as 8 weeks, so strong preorder numbers help to avoid running out of copies.
Considering how much the book feels like a community conversation, it seemed particularly appropriate that the audio recording was sort of old home week. My favorite sound guy, with whom I’ve worked for ages, was producing the recording. He was using a new studio, and it turned out I knew the studio’s owners; we had worked together about five years ago. I had never worked with the director before, but we figured out over the course of the week that we had a number of friends in common. And then, just as we were finishing the last chapter, my nephew, who’s a photographer, stopped by and started snapping pictures.
Here is an image of his I particularly like because it evokes all the hard work it takes to bring a project to life, and all the terrific people who make it happen. Sound producer Michael Moss is at the far right of the photo managing the recording, director Paul Ruben is on the computer screens (probably correcting me for the millionth time, poor man), and I’m on the left in the sound booth.
I’m going to take the night off, and will be back at it tomorrow. I’m guessing this week is going to be interesting.
[Image by Tyler Mitchell of Tyler Mitchell Creative.]