A Memorable Performance
Friday, April 27, 2007
A cool, steady drizzle was falling this morning over the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, where I live, but it wasn't a sad or dreary rain. It felt nourishing and cleansing. The hillsides are bursting in green now, and the cherry and pear trees are in full, glorious bloom. The tulips are opening, the forsythia has painted swaths of eye-popping yellow across the landscape. In my garden, the early peas are an inch tall, the fall garlic is ankle high, and the broccoli and radishes have just broken through the soil. On a morning like this, the rain seems more friend than foe.
I had planned to start the day by transplanting a bushel of daylilies I had dug up and divided a few days ago. Not in this rain. So I poured a second cup of coffee and decided to check out a package that had arrived in the mail last week. Inside it was the new, soon-to-be-released audio version of my upcoming children's book, "Marley: A Dog Like No Other." The book comes out next week (May 1 release) along with my other children's book, "Bad Dog, Marley!" Bad Dog is an illustrated book for 3 to 7 year olds. Marley: A Dog Like No Other is an adaptation for young readers, 8-12, of Marley & Me. And Harper Children's Audio is simultaneously releasing an unabridged, four-CD audio version read by the actor, Neil Patrick Harris.
I performed the audio version of Marley & Me, and have always had a hard time listening to my own voice read my words. I guess we all sound funny to ourselves. But this morning I popped in CD #1 from Marley: A Dog Like No Other, and Harris' soothing voice hooked me immediately. "Wow!" I thought. "So this is how it's supposed to sound." You probably remember Harris as the child star of the TV show Doogie Howser, M.D. He has since gone on to have a varied acting career. I was thrilled to learn he was performing the audio version of my young-reader book. And he did not disappoint. The story is aimed at third to seventh graders, and Harris set just the right tone, bringing the characters to life and bringing a lot of emotion and personality to his performance.
Jenny came in from the other room while I was listening. She heard me in there, laughing out loud at my own writing. "You are enjoying that WAY too much," she said. Well, what can I say? It's a whole different experience to hear my own words come to life through a talented actor. Good job, Neil Patrick Harris!
As I said, my two children's books come out this Tuesday, May 1, and I will begin a three-week book tour that day with a scheduled appearance on NBC's The Today Show. I say "scheduled" because there's always the possibility I could be bumped in the event of a breaking news story. Otherwise, I'll be there, with Gracie the Labrador retriever at my side. Gracie is pretty funny. She's so skittish, the sound of her own nails on the tile floor can spook her, but she doesn't think anything of going on national television in front of millions of people. Calm as a cucumber. I hope I absorb some of her mellow energy.
To find out what cities I'll be appearing in for my children's book tour, please visit the "upcoming events" link on the www.marleyandme.com home page. Now it's time for me to sign off. The rain has stopped and I just might be able to get those lilies into the ground. Happy spring, everyone.
posted by John Grogan at 12:52 PM