Guru to you, too

It’s been a long time since I blogged, and, looking at this site, which is now being transformed into my website, too, I’ve been thinking what I always think: Why?
I write every week in my writing groups. I could post stuff. I need to post stuff.
So I’m posting stuff today mostly to thank Corinne Litchfield for transferring all kinds of stuff from my old website to this one. We’re not done yet—we’re just getting started—but I have hopes that I can work on my own website… with Corinne’s guidance.
I don’t know about you, but I have always needed a guru to guide me through new stuff. (The word technically applies to a spiritual teacher, but I find that I often gain some spiritual insight from whatever I’m being taught.) Though I love to read, adore reading, can’t wait to get back to the book(s) on my bed for my before-sleep reads, I don’t seem to absorb well enough by reading to tackle new things with any degree of confidence. Especially technical things.
But if someone sits down and SHOWS me, well, then I am willing to start hiking up my own learning curve (which sometimes, I swear, is vertical).
Yes, I’m a teacher. I show others how to do stuff all the time, or at least give them information they can use. But I have found that knowledge of AP Style and punctuation does not help with a lot of stuff in life. You need to know about semi-colons, though, and I’m your gal.
Thus, the guru. Currently, this is Corinne who made me a nifty website on another platform more than a year ago. She has that fearless spirit I lack when it comes to social media and putting stuff online. She just sits down and Figures Stuff Out that bamboozles me.
For example, I just had to email Corinne and ask her how I get into WordPress to make a new post. (In my head, I’m hearing my own nagging voice, “If you did this more often, Jan…” Yeah, yeah.) She emailed back in minutes (from her mobile device, of course) and gave me the quick tech answer. Which is why I’m in her debt.
This reminds me, too, of my first computer guru, the one who convinced me that I could actually sit down in front of a screen with a blinking cursor and make it do stuff I wanted it to do.
I had a math teacher in high school who tried his best to teach me to write a computer program and he had a student aide who worked hours with me after school on said programs (not to mention on the basics of algebra and geometry, which still elude me). No dice. It didn’t take.
But the tall man who married me, the one who insisted we buy our first Macintosh computer (for $3,000!) in 1984, saying, “It’s gonna change your life, Toots”—he was my first computer guru.

Cliff and Jan and the new Macintosh, 1984, Davis, California

Cliff and Jan and the new Macintosh, 1984, Davis, California

I continue to be grateful to Cliff every time I open my laptop at home or sit down to my snazzy iMac on my desk at school. He did not listen to my protest, “But I’ve GOT a typewriter.” He was waaaaaay ahead of his time, technologically speaking, and he convinced his small newspaper to let him set up a digital darkroom before bigger papers did. It surprises me now to realize that he was 30-something when he was doing this. “You’re gonna put out newspapers on Macs someday,” he said, and I thought he was nuts. Guess how my students put out their newspaper in our snazzy new computer lab these days. Yep, on grown-up, bigger Macs that could, I swear, fly.
Cliff had deep, as my friend Georgann says. He got the Steves (Jobs’ and Wozniak’s) vision while I was wearing bifocals, as Butch Cassidy says in the movie. He also was imparting spiritual wisdom (though he wouldn’t have seen it that way) as he sat patiently by my side, enduring my wails when I’d lose something on the screen or have to be shown again how to print something on the old tractor-fed paper coming out of the box into the dot-matrix printer.
He got me, and he loved me anyway, and I continue to be grateful for that. (Thank you, Clifford. I can’t believe you’ve been gone 15 years.)
So I smile when I have to email Corinne to ask something simple because, as I tell my mass media students, who can’t believe this, that it seems just like yesterday when I first used email, well, now I’m the older one who is lost, technologically speaking.
I am grateful for my gurus, all of them, who have come along just at the right times to teach me what I need to know or remind me of what I used to know. And for the spiritual hand holding that comes with it all. Really, that’s the best part.

About janishaag

Writer, writing teacher, editor
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8 Responses to Guru to you, too

  1. Lauren says:

    Love to you, Aunt Jan, and to Uncle Cliff. I think about him often and wish I could have known him better as an adult. You’ve always been incredible at imparting spiritual wisdom yourself (and this future 8th grade English teacher could still use your help with semi-colons!). Lava you. ~Nonen

    • janishaag says:

      Awww… sweetie! You’re makin’ me teary. He’s so proud of you and Kevin, your forever companion spirit, too, you know! And I’m happy to ‘splain semi-colons and any other funky punctuation/usage stuff so you’ll be extra-special smart for your 8th graders! LavaU muchly!

  2. Connie Raub says:

    Thanks for your techno-blog, Jan and congrats on morphing your web and blog. I think you are courageous to attempt any of this! I’m SO glad I’m not teaching now and having to try to fake even knowing a tiny bit about what kids today know. Thanks also for sharing some more about Cliff. You guys are so cute in that picture! Richard and I had one of those Macs back in the day! I didn’t have a clue! Thank goodness for Gurus and patient people! Good for Corinne (WAAAYYY better than Google or Siri!!!). Enjoy your new found power! Love, ~Connie

    • janishaag says:

      Thanks, Connie. I couldn’t do any of it without the help of younger people… my students, Corinne, my niece and nephew who knew more about Macs and iPhones in the first hour they used them than I do! I love that you and Richard had that same Mac… of course, you did! You, too, married a techno guy! Love and hugs to you.

  3. Vonnie Madigan says:

    Jan, there is no doubt: you rock! Glad you are working on a new website…think strategic. I’m here if you need help.

  4. Donna Just says:

    Awwww! Great nostalgia!

  5. CorinneL says:

    I just went to access your site via the WordPress app on my phone and read this. Thank you so much for your praise and for entrusting me with your site! I love that we can be gurus to each other: writing, creativity, technology… the list goes on.

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