~ I normally write fiction but not today.~
Today, I spent the day recording the audio for one of the first stories I posted on WordPress, called The Lily.
When I say the day, I mean the past three weekends at 2:00 am when my children, husband and dogs were sleeping. I tried it with a headset – the kind the ladies at Time Life used to wear when they were “standing by” to take your order for memorable photography books.
But I wasn’t smiling like they were (Another difference – a noticeable lack of funereal arrangements surrounded me). I was slumped over my dining room table (note to self, get chair cushions), red eyes searching through the many, many parameters that are required by Scribl.com to upload an audio file.
This is when I learned we have a mouse. It likes audiobooks, apparently. Or not. It might have been leaving that deposit behind my couch as an expression of disdain or lack of empathy for my main character.
But back to my sad story. The headset was picking up sibilance. I wish that was as interesting as it sounds, like the movie Sibyl, about the poor unfortunate woman with multiple personalities who introduced America to the potential repercussions of spectacular child abuse.
But no. in audiobook parlance, sibilance is the pre-J.K. Rowling’ version of parseltongue. It is the hissing sound that makes you yell at your significant other that they need to just pony up and get a decent cell phone. It is the nerve-wracking noise that accompanies AM talk radio (content notwithstanding). Both the phonetic term and the book/movie character’s name originate from the Greek Sibulla, an ancient female oracle.
How fitting. By the time I was done with this process, I was an ancient female oracle too.
I tried fixing the headset by covering it with the batting from my couch (one has access to these things when one has feral dogs in the home, but that’s another story). I did succeed in getting the story uploaded, and approved. They had one minor change – that I remove the last two seconds of silence from the recording.
Wouldn’t that have been easy to do if I had saved the file?
I’ve been in the desktop publishing business for half my life and I forgot to save the file.
So I decided this was a good opportunity to make the recording even better. I borrowed a “Yeti” microphone from a friend in my choir. And this morning at 6am, I went out to the car with my laptop and re-recorded the audio.
And everything was perfect and it only took 20 minutes!
Ha ha. And I said no fiction today… Heh, heh, heh.
No, here’s what really happened. I uploaded the new file. It was rejected as having too much background noise. I uploaded again, it was again rejected – too much background noise AND too quiet (I believe the term you are searching for here, Alanis, is irony). I compressed. I uploaded. Rejected. I normalized, I uploaded. Rejected. I was out there for three hours. Sweat was dripping off my lip. I’m surprised I didn’t start an electrical fire on my laptop.
Finally, I gave up, came inside, cleaned my house and yelled at my kids (so therapeutic). And at 5:00 pm today, I found a wonderful compression tool from a guy named Chris, who is no longer living but whose fans loved him so much they continue to upgrade his plugin. And, sincere respect, I now understand why.
I have uploaded my masterpiece.
I added the sound to my original post, if you would like to see and hear the masterpiece: The Lily.
This is a guest post, which was submitted by the wonderful Lara Clouden, who typically writes wonderful short stories – I would highly recommend you check them out. She never fails to make me laugh. If you would like to feature a guest post you are more than welcome to visit my contact page with your idea. I look forward to hearing from you, and in the mean time you can check out all the other guest posts here.