Friday, March 2, 2012

The Writer who wrote the Words

Stella Pope Duarte, author of the book "If I Die in Juarez"

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.


Rohrerbot said...

A lot of people who come to our state wonder what all the crosses's nice to know that they are not forgotten.

Al said...

It sounds like an intriguing book. It seems like a lot of work to make a recording of it, thanks for the view into that world!

Thérèse said...

I have seen one day a picture of all the crosses... at the time it made me look further into the subject: terrible, terrible.
It must certainly have had such an impact on you having to read it so carefully for future listeners.

Kathy said...

Thanks for the insight into what goes into recording a book for the blind. And thanks for your contribution in doing this for those who can't easily enjoy wonderful books like the rest of us.

altadenahiker said...

If I'm not able to listen to your performance (is that still the case?), then I plan to read the book. Thank you for the introduction.

The only person I've ever met who had Ms Duarte's dedication to a story and belief in the value of lives lost, lives given a line or less in a passing newspaper story, was an LAT writer who for several years found the stories and interviewed the families of every (usually young) person who was killed in South Central LA.

coupons said...

The Writer who wrote the Words
i would like to say thank you about this cool post, and this idea very helpful to me and nice article
Thank You

RoeH said...

I want to read that book. Thanks. I don't think I could do that. I can read well and all - but it's the continuity and fear of stumbling that would throw me off. Great work you guys do!!

Brenda's Arizona said...

Thanks everyone for your comments.
AH, the format we record in (digital) is available only to those who have the provided equipment to listen. Who was the writer you mentioned? Would love to read their writings.

Roe, you can do it! The team director edits out stumbles, and if there are any retakes to be done, it is simple. Really, it is all simple, rewarding, and consuming.

Pat Tillett said...

I've seen photos of the crosses, but had no idea what they represented. Well, this time I looked it up. Wow! What a crazy, scary and sad story.
I might have to read this book. Thanks! Great post...