My wife and sometimes co-author Carolyn and I have spent portions of the past several months or so re-editing, shortening, and injecting new life into two books we wrote more than ten years ago: The Hard Karma Shuffle and its sequel The Crushed Velvet Miasma. It’s been an interesting process.
Understand, that if Carolyn had written that first paragraph it would have read very differently. Several months or so would never have flown. It would have read 3 months, 8 days, 14 hours and 27 minutes. More than ten years ago would have become the exact number of years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds that had elapsed since we sent them to the New York agent who first shopped it around for us.
This is not to insult Carolyn. Her attention to getting the details right is admirable and a good part of the reason she’s developed a devoted readership. I, on the other hand am an approximate kind of guy.
Her background is in television news, where the difference between getting your facts straight, and being a little off, translates to angry viewers, angry bosses and even the occasional lawsuit.
I spent much of my professional life as a disc jockey. Shooting from the hip and taking the flack for it later made me quirky, amusing and for the most part succesful at filling the space between songs with fun weirdness. I once had a listener tell me: “Much of the time, I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about, but you make me smile just the same.”
Carolyn comes from a family of contractors and carpenters. Advocates of the measure twice, cut once school of thought. My roots are with a family who believed fervently in the “close enough for government work” method of home
Much of what Carolyn caught in her final read through of both books was dead-on-the-money, in terms of needing to be fixed. We had a character driving a P.T. Cruiser three years before they’d been introduced. It became an Audi. Jay, the disk-jockey whose on-air sidekick is his own hand with lipstick on it, has to punch a button before another song will start. Good catch, oh, meticulous one.
Here’s where we started to part ways a little. She obsessed over whether the goodie Jay talks into is a mic or a mike. (You’ll find arguments for both on the internet.) She insisted we nail down the exact date of a Grateful Dead show in Eugene, Oregon because the ages of our characters hinged on the info. My point of view was that most of the people who went to those shows probably don’t remember the decade, let alone the actual year and venue. She cares deeply about a picky reader calling horse-hockey on us for an errant detail. Me, not so much. I figure, if we entertain them with the story, they’ll forgive a small faux pas. And those who won’t are badly in need of finding a life somewhere, anyway.
Here’s the bottom line. She’s right. I’m wrong. She knows it, I know it and she knows I know it. Sigh. 30 wonderful years together with this woman and going strong.
What’s that? Oh, yes dear, I stand corrected: 29 years, 9 months, 16 days, 4 hours, twelve minutes and 7, no make that 8 seconds. Website www.deadlyduomysteries.com