The smell permeated the hallway closest to the office. Teachers had purple hands. Remember volunteering to retrieve copies in the office just to walk slow as a sloth while smelling the ink? Aw, good ol’ copies!
While attending college I worked at a child development center. There was a Xerox machine-very fancy! Teacher’s assistants were prohibited from its use. Luckily, Kinko’s was close to college for projects. After graduation I landed my first teaching job. To say I was nervous is an understatement…oh boy-ANOTHER learning curve!
I learned immediately who runs the school-the secretary! Attending my first equipment training was nerve-wracking. My palms were sweaty and my knees shook staring at the MONSTROUS machines. The smell knocked me right back to high school. “What year is it?,”I thought. This was my first official training on the job. Thankfully, other newbies were in the same boat. We bonded over fear. It was our initiation to the purple hands club! Nervously I was worried I would break the machines. And lose my job. There was a ditto machine AND a mimeograph. Carbon copy became two particularly important words. I can remember pressing SO hard to ensure it transferred. ALAS, I GOT TO CRANK THE HANDLE AND MAKE MAGIC! Getting the ink off my hand was not as much fun as I had thought. Did I hear the tenured teachers laughing? Paper was limited. Once you hit your limit on copies for the week copying time was over! The number of copies needed determined which machine to use (I remember a dinosaur duplicator). Within two years there was a Xerox copier. All masters had to be sent to the secretary. One learned fast the appropriate time to send a copy folder. Waiting until the last minute, unprepared, would give you a score in the loser’s column. Copies stressed me out. More than once I was sure our school had destroyed the entire rainforests of South America. Is it possible that all the copiers running in the world has contributed to Global Warming? Probably.
Using the chalkboard, other than writing straight, was easy. Inhaling chalk dust had been my norm since the days of eraser cleanings in elementary school. The dry erase board appeared and voila! …colored fingers again! An overhead projector was wheeled into each classroom. “Are we rich?” My own cart too?” Two computers and several floppy discs arrived soon after. “Windows 95” colorfully decorated the screens.
Remember my learning curves? They continue to twist. There are some I’ve conquered! Yippee! But a few are a tad bit crazy and winding. For a few years I felt I had the upper hand on technology. Or at least could stay in its lane…
here’s the breakdown of my curvy and winding past 1 1/2 year road:
Begin with prayer. Move forward with lifelong dream to write (scary enough). Build website. Start a blog. Pray. Publish writing on website (arrgh…. how do I even USE WordPress?). Maintain website. Pray. Read each day. Find your tribe. Pray. Get advice from tribe. Communicate with tribe. Pray. Decide to author a book. Bang head against a wall. Pray. Bang your head one more time for not praying longer. Determine what to write. Pray. Find a coach. Pray. Take more classes. Pray. Create a schedule. Set a budget. Pray. Use social media. Bang your head on something softer. Pray. Start an author’s Instagram account. Pray. Take marketing classes. Pray. Join LinkedIn. Pray. Twitter? Ug…Pray harder! Facebook? (Nope…can only focus on one or two). Begin your own L.L.C. or D.B.A. for self-publishing. Pray. Check daily emails and support your supporters. Get in nature. Pray. Get in nature again. Pray. Create writing idea. Find an illustrator. Learn new publishing software. Continue learning after mistakes. Learn marketing software. Flip a coin. I mean, pray.
Try not to just wave at family and friends only on your journey. Stop and get out regularly. Look up. Get off the screen. Use love, support, and care to manage the corners. Breathe. It is not life and death-although learning can feel that way.
The advancements are amazing (especially in keeping up with family)! I love learning! But everything has its limitations. And occasionally, I miss the simplicity in the smell of the purple copies and dusty chalk hands.
Hit publish. Pray.