Amazing People

Updated: Sep 23, 2018

Yesterday Was a Magic Day

Yesterday, 15th of June 2018 was an amazing day - and it started with a migraine. It's not often you can say that, as any migraine sufferer will tell you. So yesterday was definitely touched with magic.

A day that I will never forget. I mean that.

I had spent Thursday 14th - my birthday - in Abbey Lane Recording Studios in Drogheda. I was trying to record an audio CD for the children's book I have written. This meant that I had spent 6 hours plus, staring at my tablet screen and concentrating hard. I was exhausted by 5pm and - as it was my birthday - I went to a Bloomsday performance with two of my daughters.

Woke up on Friday and groaned - migraine and a full day of recording ahead of me.

Just can't do it - just can't! Especially as I had already recorded most of the easy bits. Ahead of me were the mad bits with all the different voices and the crazy stuff happening. Just can't.

So I cancelled!

BUT if not today, then when?

I text back and said 'Lads, I'll drug up and give it a go. Just being a wuss!'

I'll go down trying! Turn to my friends for help, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen!!

No touch of magic so far.........

Before we started recording - Eric and Fran having a coffee, me valiantly trying not to be the ailing O.A.P. that I was, looked and felt - Eric asked me how I felt about him composing a piece of music for my CD. He said he had been thinking about it the night before and he would like to do it. I was bowled over, speechless, amazed, touched.

That this man was thinking about the story was compliment enough! But he wanted to compose for it - WOW

"Come here," he said, "I have a piece here I recorded some time ago, and I was thinking that something along these lines would be very effective." He popped in a CD and played me the most beautiful piece of music - perfect for my story. I could hear and see it in my mind, all coming together, the words, the story, the music, as if it was meant to be. It all seemed to naturally belong together.

"Can I have that," I said, meaning that particular piece. But it was not to be, it had been commissioned by someone else. "Something along those lines but a little lighter as it is a children's book," he said. "If you don't like it, just tell me."

This is my first children's book and I have learned so much and one of the main things I have learned is 'let the experts do what they do!'

I'd already learned this from Viv, that's Vivienne Byrne, the friend and artist who is illustrating the story. The illustrations are a bit like she is, unique, quirky, perfectly beautiful.

It was my intention to tell her what I wanted, to dictate, to control, to keep it all mine. When I saw what her first drawings I realised that her's was the expertise. Just as the story came from my imagination - so the images came from hers. If I could do it - I wouldn't need her. Would I? Step back let her do what she is doing.

And so it will be with the music. Eric is a musician, composer. He's heard the story, he's seen the images, naturally he can feel what is missing. The perfect sound will come to him as naturally as the story came to me and the images came to Viv.

Eventually we started recording - closer to 11 than to 10 - I found it hard to settle to it. Partly because of the headache but mostly because of Eric's suggestion, surely this must mean that the story is of some merit! Otherwise it would not be deserving of a composer’s creativity. I didn't ask - he offered. Good Heavens!

It didn't end there, there were more good things to come.

We were expecting six copies of the book from the bookbinder to arrive at about 2pm. Imagine 6 sample copies - in our own eager little paws. 'Expecting' doesn't really describe it. They were supposed to be ready on Tuesday, then Thursday, the bookbinder apparently inundated with work, then definitely on Friday after lunch time. We were like children waiting for Santa - how would they like if he didn't arrive until New Year's Eve??? Exactly! That's exactly how we were feeling.

I got a call from Mike, in Beulah Print, who was planning to head off early for the weekend. Devastating news - books won't be ready until 5pm. Looked like it was going to be Monday - Noooo!!!!

Well Book it anyway!

Then Mike, the real-life Drogheda Santa stepped in, "Don't worry Ruth, I told them, they had to be ready by 4.00pm, I will go and collect them!"

"But you are going home early today! You said so." I was feeling guilty but soooooo grateful.

"Ah, that's the job, it often happens!" he said. "I'll call you when I get back." And he did at 5-ish. Did he shove the box at us and run? No! Not Mike! He opened the office - everyone else gone home early for the weekend - opened the packing and waited for us while we oohed and aahed and wowed to our hearts content.

Viv and Clare and I had already decided to self-publish, we had also decided to try to keep it an entirely Drogheda project. How right we were.

I hasten to add that I had never met any of these people before, Mike O'Leary from Beulah Print or Fran and Eric from Abbey Lane Studios. That is what is so touching, they didn't need to go the extra mile, give of themselves to our endeavours! They are just particularly professional and, and great people.

Thank you so much guys.

Clare and the boys, AJ and John, came back to the studio for some more collective holding of the book and a little more oohing and ahhing with Fran and Eric.

Then it was up to Viv's where she held the book, looked at her work and we had a teary-eyed hug, followed by a slice of birthday cake.

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