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Lead Pencil Girl Gone Techno

mari-1980ish-with-fish_edited_edtmp1I was as skittish with a fish back then as I often am today with new tech—excited to take hold of it, but smart enough to look around for help!

Until October 2005, I was happy as a devoted member of Bill Henderson’s Lead Pencil Club (“A pothole on the Information Superhighway…Not so fast!”).  My 1996 essay mentioning that I lived web-free—”Why Live Simply?”—was published in an anthology where it shared the good company of contributions by Vaclav HavelArun Gandhi, and Horton Foote.

But things changed rapidly between 2005 and 2009, when I found myself the assistant organizer of a tech group.  How’d that happen?

Alongside the outdoor tub, still in use.

Evolution happens.  Mine was fostered by a friend who helped Wozniak build the first Apples.  He kindly volunteered his support upon hearing I was finally ready to leave my Lead Pencil Club ways behind.  I’d been using the web for research at the library, and he would help me bring the World Wide Web home.  He took care of my security concerns, helped me set up my email program, and much more.  The following month, November 2005, I was ready to put up a basic website for my biz too, and he held my hand while I phoned in my first order to Network Solutions and registered  my domains.

My niece in Atlanta also helped, in a big way.  A super smart and tech savvy person (who’s also fun, generous, and loving), she offered to take on the role of webmaster for my biz site.  “Just write text, Aunt Mari, I’ll do the rest.”

Webmaster and Me

Pretty soon I was singing “I’m a big girl now….it’ll take more than just a breeze to make me fall over.”  (Sorry, Ingrid Michaelson.)  But eeek!  Even now, whenever I have to learn more new technology, I often do feel like I’m being blown over.   And I wish my first mentor, the Early Days of Apple whiz, could walk me through every single step.  But one can’t endlessly impose on friends.

That’s how I came—timidly—into my first group of geeks, who graciously welcomed a novice.  And with much gratitude to my latest tech mentor, Vid Raatior, I’m truly glad I’ve stepped into another new realm of technology.  Soon I expect to hear “Great text, Mari” without the added comment, “You got the look we want, no worries—but that coding was a little messy!”  (Coding?  Did I write code?)

Sorry, Bill Henderson, that I finally had to jump ship.  Most of my clientele was respectful, or at least patient, about my being a techno lagger.  Authors, because they valued my editing expertise, were willing to overlook the inconvenience of sharing material via postal-mailed CDs instead of email.  Publishers and corporate clients, though, were understandably impatient about my low-tech communication and delivery methods.  I knew the time had come to change.  No more delaying.

I’d rather be…

Still, whenever I spend too many hours at a screen, I am back to “I’d rather be gardening,” my same old chant.

“So garden, Mari,” I tell myself.  Or, “Time to go for a bike ride.”  Or, “Pull out your boogie board.”

It’s critical to take frequent breaks.  I know that the only way I can stay truly happy in this techno world is to exit frequently.  And I hear a finch calling me out of the office right now.

Oh, yeah.  A friend reminded me:  I occasionally coach others in new technology myself these days.  Who’d a thunk!

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