"If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all." Michelangelo
Because I am married to a classical figurative sculptor, Michelangelo occupies a luminous position in our home. His wisdom matters to us. In this case, I'm quoting him because, well, he's a Big Deal around here. I don't know if this bit of thoughtful humility on his part really applies to the situation at hand. I am thinking rather simply about hard work. Specifically, editing sound files as I turn my novels into audiobooks. Sound editing is some of the most laborious, tedious, difficult, grueling, and time-intensive work I've ever done. It ain't fun. And it requires perfectionistic focus. It's a good thing I'm detail-oriented, because I hone in on every single click, hiss, hum, rattle, or pop in the narrative that I read with such feeling, and recorded so carefully. Two different programs, Audacity and Wavepad, serve to manipulate the audio files, to filter out noise and to optimize the quality. First I use Audacity for recording. It's a great free program, and it works beautifully for basic noise removal, equalization, and compression. But…I record in my office, not in a foam-insulated studio, so there's some reverb. I nailed a big fluffy quilt up behind my desk to absorb some of the echo. But there's still a little awkward sounding whoosh in the background. Enter Wavepad, which has a marvelous high pass filter that, yes, filters out the reverb. God bless Wavepad. I suppose I am learning a new skill, and that's an asset. I'm always grateful for assets that I acquire through hard work. Nor ought I complain. I know people who work much harder all the time. I'm thinking specifically about my beautiful stepdaughter, who is such a lovely young woman, sweet and loyal and thoughtful and grateful, a pleasure to be with. She's studying diligently for the MCAT's while working at a high pressure medical research job. So I'll keep chipping away at the giant, obdurate block of stone that is my raw recording files, hoping to reveal the art within.