Last week I had a quiet lunch with Stella Pope Duarte before she led a lecture and discussion of her books. My colleagues and I had recorded her book "If I Die in Juarez" for the National Library Services/ Arizona Braille and Talking Book Library.
Stella shared her way of writing a book. She researches it, she travels to the sites, she interviews the many involved people. She photographs the crosses marking the finding of the bodies. She lives the story. She dreams the story. She journals her dreams and includes those actions in her book. She is encased in the story, becoming a heartbroken observer of each victim.
In recording the book, we also become encased in the story. Not just engrossed, not just consumed. Even more than monopolized... we know that Stella's voice becomes ours.
We make notes in the margins, we underline words of emphasis or phrases of silence.
We verify any pronunciation of words and we study colloquial phrases.
We map each track of audio; we note each minute of reading.
We catch our own mistakes and make corrections. Mistakes could be a stumbling of a word or in an inflection of voice.We live the story. We are haunted by the young women of Juarez. And we easily turn to Stella Pope Duarte as a friend who has survived this, too.