My dad used to tell me that the key to staying young was to never stop learning. He would know. He may or may not have coined the phrase, “Look it up,” but he certainly lived by it.
With that in mind, I have always challenged myself to learn something as often as possible. If I check the encyclopedia (-What’s that? you ask. It’s the old-fashioned predecessor to Google-) or if I look something up on the computer/internet just to make sure I got my facts right, I try to learn something new from that page or from something related to my search. My writing is chocked full of interesting things that I’ve looked up, double-checked, made sure it’s right or possible or even just feasible. I thought, “Wow, do I ever learn a lot of stuff!” I figured I was earning tons and tons of extra life credits. I really thought that I could not learn at any greater rate than what I was doing.
Then I got a job at an airline. A prosperous airline in the reservation call centre. (Yes, that is c e n t R E, because it’s here in Canada and that’s how we roll up here.) I have never in my life had a job doing anything like this. Finance, retail, data entry. Nothing in my past prepared me for what lay ahead.
In the last five weeks, I have sat in a classroom, cramming, I’m sure, more information into my brain than I did in all my years in high school. Eight hours a day of class. Forty hours a week, plus at least an hour or more of homework each night. Tears? You bet I cried but I wasn’t alone. Maybe I was alone in the actual tears running down my face, but I found out that many of my classmates felt the same way, and not just the old folks. Apparently, the course used to run six or seven weeks or more, and we were the guinea pigs that got it in four. Same phenomenal cosmic amounts of learning, itty bitty learning time. In my first week ‘on the phones’, most people were really nice and understanding. However, I had a handful of people that treated me poorly because I was new. One actually said, “Oh, I’d hoped to get someone who knew what they were doing,” in the first two minutes of the call. It was a relatively routine booking but I did have to check one thing. By the way, if you EVER want to get someone flustered, just say that right off the bat. It will work, guaranteed!!
However, I made it. There’s still more to learn, but I have a good grasp on the overall picture now. I am not afraid to go to work now!! And I think I have learned enough to make me IMMORTAL!!
In my spare time, I have been working on a new novel while trying to get an agent for the first one or two. That hasn’t left much time for me to blog, although I am on the computer inordinate amounts of time when I’m not studying. In my breaks at work, I write out—using pen and paper!—scenes and ideas, and now I can do this between calls, then I come home and transcribe all those scribbles into breathtaking prose. Once, I tried dictating the notes to my computer. That was a real hoot! says the old lady who is now immortal. The drawback was enough to keep me from doing that very often. I either don’t know how to enunciate words in the English language or the computer just wasn’t listening. Kamahl’s name was spelled five different ways and there were so many wrong words or missed words and “I did not say that” that I just gave up on that idea. There is no punctuation whatsoever and it’s actually harder to proofread something like that than it is to just write it. Also, I find that when I transcribe my notes, I always embellish and flesh out the scene more.
AND I’m going to be revamping my Twitter and maybe Facebook and really work hard to get my name out there. And writing. And working.
If you don’t see me in a long while, just check my room and make sure I’m breathing, please.