My last Facebook post was, "I have nothing to say". Not a statement I make on a regular basis. And though I have not posted anything in nearly 2 weeks I have been thinking about this blog and why I feel I have nothing to say.
Nearly a year ago, I made the decision to "go Etsy". Bought the computer, the camera, went through a studio redo, began the process of learning to function on my computer and took off on the acid trip that is the parallel universe of cyberspace. Oddly enough, last night my husband wondered, as I sat at the kitchen table for hours after dinner, what I thought my life would be like without my laptop now.
Different. So, so different.
One of the last hurdles on my long list of Things I need to learn on the computer was to set up a bookkeeping system for my business. I looked at the systems offered online and wondered why I was going to pay a fee for a simple payables/receivables set up and determined that what I already had on my laptop, Excel , was fine for what I needed to do. Since accounting is not what I live to get out of bed for in the morning, I was able to procrastinate for a very long time on this one. It was only when we went to the accountant for our taxes and he all but called me an idiot on more than one occasion that I decided I needed to step up and face the numbers.
Excel is a blank slate. It is whatever you want it to be. For those of us that like to be in control and know exactly what the rules and boundaries are, this can be a bit disconcerting. For me, one of the only redeeming qualities of numbers is their absoluteness. One and one is two and that's it. Settled. No maybe, sorta ofs. A sum is a sum. So when I looked at what I believed was going to be a basic spread sheet and saw, what my numbers guy husband called "endless possibilities", my brain had a little meltdown. I didn't want endless possibilities. I wanted a bookkeeping system. I wanted a place to record my endless expenses and my piss ant income. Plain and simple.
I opened Excel and was offered a video tutorial. That voice, that always reminds me of the guy that talked us through the educational films of the 60's about duck and cover and other comically useless information we learned in school back then, brightly encouraged me to get started and follow along as he showed me just the basics of what Excel could do for me. Phantom cursors moved columns around and charts morphed into configurations I would never in a million cyber years need for anything. Now, I will confess. I have always had a "thing" for printed charts and graphs. They appeal to my sense of organization. There is something comforting for me about being able to break things down, systematically, and reorganize them into a perfect, explainable package. I also like they way they look. Neat. Consistent. Pretty. I was being lured into the mystique of Excel. Okay, hyperbole, but I was not feeling the need for a Xanax and my palms weren't sweating and I was feeling pretty darned good about learning this new program.
I took a deep breath. I can do this. I can learn another thing and put it into practice. No really, Nell, there is room in your brain to learn something else. We only use a small percentage of our brain power. So you have plenty of storage space left so press on, MacDuff. I wanted to get the thing set up and done so badly that I just jumped in.
It was pretty easy. I was clickin' and dragin' and highlightin' and totallin' like I knew what the hell I was doin'! Most importantly to me, I was sitting down to learn something new on the computer and it was not taking me an entire week to have something to show for it. In a mater of a couple of hours I had a set of books up on the screen with five months of information organized and posted. It was a remarkable day in the life of me.
But then - there was nothing to say. I had crossed a threshold. I had stepped over a line. I had graduated to something. I had moved on, forward, up, out. I hadn't spent a week hissing and cursing and spitting bile out of frustration over a new computer program. I was even able to ask my husband a few questions without getting so nasty with him that he spent the rest of day wondering why he had married such a lunatic bitch. I was calm. I was confident I could learn it and I was not afraid. I realised I was living in a new neighborhood.
Now let me be very clear. I'm certainly not fool enough to believe myself some computer wizard that can pull off any computer move you can think of. I am by no means the Bobby Fischer of laptops. I have grown comfortable though and I am aware that a major part of my life takes place in cyberspace. I have relationships online that I don't have in physical space. I have a store that does not exist in physical space. I read mail and subscribe to newsletters and blogs that I cannot hold in my hand. I visit events and seminars and never leave the couch and have political discourse with people I only know online. I order supplies, do research and now, keep my books online with no paper involved and not even any real money. My world has become drastically more conceptual. I suspend belief and accept that things have actually happened even though I am of a generation where everything needed a piece of paper to actually be validated and real. Back in secretarial school we learned to type in triplicate (for the youngins' that involved putting three pieces of paper with carbon paper in between, rolling the whole stack into the manual typewriter and banging on those keys hard enough to press through to the last sheet in order to have three copies). Now I think twice about printing because I am more concerned with trees that filling up a file cabinet.
This is a fascinating time for me. I have the satisfaction of having taught myself a new skill set that I never dreamed I would even be interested in and moving into possibilities I am only just conceiving. Now, I need to get my mind around how exactly this all translates into action in the world. I have conceived a new world for myself. But do I really know how to make it work for me?