5 days, right brain-left brain

After two days given over to left-brain, copy-editing fever, a good dose of right-brain creativity is in order. I spent Sunday in creative heaven.

Just look at this blissful face! There is nothing like a brand-new book in the world. And when it is YOUR book, your very FIRST book... well! Shine on, Kristy Dempsey, shine on, girl. Enjoy every single moment. I loved meeting you face-to-face, finally. Much good luck with this book and a long, full career in children's books.
Me with You, available now, is a sweet, sweet story of a grandfather and grandchild together, but it's a universal story as well. I bought it for my Jim. As I was standing in line to have my book signed by Kristy, Jim was across town at Ken Gregory's studio, 800east, recording his new album.
I photographed Jim and the band through glass first, as they were recording bass tracks. Each player occupies his own sound-proofed room as he plays. The headphones enable them to hear one another. Jim on piano:
Herman Burney on bass:
Paul Fallat is percussion:And Ken Gregory, who is a composer and guitarist/brass man as well, runs the board as engineer. After the take, everyone congregates with Ken to listen to the playback.
They pick it apart. "I want to do that measure over." "I wasn't sure here at first, now I know what I'm doing." "Let me run that again." "I don't know if I like that tempo." "Let's do it again." "Want to save that take?" "No." Or "Yes, but I want to try it one more time."

And back they go. Third take. Fourth. The Chinese food arrives. "We have to earn it!" says Jim, and they get into a new groove finishing up.

Better? Let's take a listen. Oh, yeah!
It's good. It's really good. It's done! One tune down.
Time for Chinese. And a little goofing off.World class musicians. Another new album off to a good start. They will work long hours, all week, and later this week, trumpet, guitar and sax will lay down their tracks with Jim -- Eric South and Joe Gransden will occupy the studio with Jim and Ken.
I have heard Jim downstairs in his studio composing and practicing this music for over a year. What excitement it is to hear the parts played by the musicians he wrote them for. The harmonies and instruments Jim has heard only in his head are now coming together as a whole new creation. It's exciting to hear the input from the musicians as well, elevating the composition to a new level, and bringing Jim's music to life. You can hear some of the last albums here and here and here, and other places around the Web.A novel is like this. The characters live in the author's head and heart, wholly in the imagination, created out of whole cloth and moments, memories, meaning. They live on the page as the writer fashions them there, with the help of a good engineer and many world class players.

A story is revised over and over -- that's where the magic lies. I saw that magic created in front my eyes yesterday -- what a privilege. I heard it come to life. I can't wait to hold it in my hands, a finished CD. I'll hear it on the radio soon, and I'll remember what it was like to watch it being created, in my home and in Ken's studio...

... and suddenly copy edits don't feel so left-brained. They feel very creative to me today, as I sit here with them, on page 181, struggling with Wendy Ward. I want there to be Wendy Ward Charm Schools in 1962, and especially a Wendy Ward book. But I can't verify this for the copy editor. The closest I can come is 1963. So I may ditch Wendy Ward and create my own charm school to substitute so we aren't anachronistic.

And that will be creative work.

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