All Children, Except One, Grow Up

Peter Pan Audiobook

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else. ~ J.M. Barrie

The Story Behind The Story
I discovered the quote above a few days ago, by chance, as I put the finishing touches on my Peter Pan audiobook, a project I’ve been working on for my own pleasure for a number of years.

Before my son learned to read for himself, I thought it would be fun to record a public domain story for him. I wanted him to have something to listen to while I was away on a business trip. As a child, I loved to listen to stories on my plastic record player. The best kind of stories were the ones that had the little bell that jingled to remind daydreamers like me to turn the page.

For my bedtime story project, I chose Peter Pan – a fairytale I had always adored, but had never taken the time to read aloud to my own kids. I recorded the first few chapters and burned them onto a CD, but months went by before I got around to recording any more. When months turned into years, the famous words, all children, except one, grow up, became my reality.

Even though my own kids were no longer interested in fairytales, Peter Pan kept inviting me back to Neverland. Since this project never felt like work, I continued recording all seventeen chapters, even if at times I missed a whole year, just as Peter did with Wendy.

This summer I vowed to complete the editing of this project and get it out into the world. I rerecorded those first few chapters with my newer recording equipment and wrote chapter summaries and worksheets for any teachers or homeschool parents who might find them useful. Finally, as a treat to myself for actually finishing this non-work project, I hired a young artist from Ireland (Inga Hampton) to do the cover art.

Listen Online or Download & Study
If you or your own children enjoy listening to audiobooks (or if you’re learning English and want some listening practice), I hope you’ll check out my Peter Pan audiobook on SoundCloud (free). To download the tracks and/or chapter summaries and worksheets, visit my Selz page.

Children’s Hospitals
In 1929, J.M. Barrie handed over all future Peter Pan royalties to London’s Great Ormand Street Hospital for children. The novel, published in 1911, is now in the public domain (the hospital still earns royalties from the play, which was published later). I hope to find a way to get this free audiobook to children’s hospital rooms. If you have any ideas or connections, let me know.

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An Interesting Interview Question

I’m two thirds of the way through Creativity, Inc. by Pixar president Ed Catmull, and I’m already dreading the fact that it will soon be over.

In the early chapters of the book, Catmull shares a lot about his relationship with Steve Jobs. At one point, when he gets up the nerve, Catmull asks Jobs a question that I think all interviewers should use:

“How do things get resolved when people disagree with you?”

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot. Not just about my own answer or the answer Steve Jobs gave (my way or the highway), but also about the ingenious way Ed Catmull used Jobs’s answer to analyze his business partner and find ways to break down barriers that were stifling growth at Pixar.

I’ve also been thinking about how I might use this question to help develop future characters in my own stories. And how to help my own kids become better negotiators. And how to help my online English students. This book does that to you.

In the Company of Books

This is how I felt today after spending the day in a Chapters bookstore –my annual Mother’s Day gift to myself:

When I’m in the library surrounded by all those volumes, all the stacks, I feel like I’m in the company of a great many friends. Friends who never leave and friends who are always there when you need them to offer comfort and warmth. I feel anchored there.

Sylvan Ragged Company by Richard Wagamese