As you may already know, we are releasing our first #EduMatch book in a few days. More about that later. The purpose of this post is to thank my fellow collaborators on this project, and many others. I know I have said time and again how excited and grateful I am. I never usually say why.
Lucy Ricardo and I are kindred spirits. Since I was a kid, I have been coming up with crazy ideas. In first grade, it was the underground newsletter (yes, this was a thing). A few of my friends and I wrote articles, based on things that impacted our six-year-old lives (I can’t remember what, maybe cartoons, hula hoops, and Bobby Brown). This was inspired and encouraged by my parents, both writers themselves, among many other hats. My mom would let me use her computer to type everyone’s article; my dad would make copies for the whole class and the teacher. Cool News only had maybe two or three editions, but I remember how exciting it was to create something together.
As I got older, I became more distracted by extracurricular activities, socializing, and the like. The next big Lucy Ricardo moment came in college. The summer of junior year, I was doing an internship at a nonprofit law organization that helped artists in my area. Being artistic myself, and considering a career in entertainment law, it was a great opportunity. One day, while filing papers, I came across a flyer for a workshop about starting a record label. My eyes lit up and it was on.
I organized every musical friend I had, and Royal-T Records was officially born in October of 2002. Broke college kids, we had no money, but we were determined to make it work somehow. The research was the most fun. I read every book I could find about the music industry. I must have called every studio in DC, until I found one that charged $25 an hour. It was still a little pricey, but we gave it a shot.
After a few sessions, we ended up bonding with the owners and built a partnership of sorts, and eventually recorded there for free. They mentored us, showed us how to work the equipment and told us what to buy to do it ourselves. As the years went by, we looked out for one another, wrote songs together, performed together, etc. The more we learned, we shared, and we grew together. This was yet another early lesson about the power of collaboration. (Alas, this came to an end, as I fell in and out of puppy love with one of the owners. There may or may not be some Alanis Morissette-ish songs I wrote about him floating around somewhere. C’est la vie.)
Anyway, the point of the story is that these are the times where I have truly felt alive. Coming together to create something is magical. This time is no different.
I can easily remember a time in the past when I felt like a teacher outcast. Had I attempted to try anything outside of the ordinary, it quite possibly would have blown up in my face. The idea would have been ignored at best. Some of our colleagues face such toxicity constantly, and it really can kill your spirit. It almost did mine. I try to always remember this when encountering someone hesitant to sip the connection Kool-Aid. It can be very scary to take that first step, especially if you are afraid of consequences.
I’ll admit that, even though everything has turned around (and more) beyond my wildest expectations, I still have that fear before trying anything. What if it blows up? What if people ignore me? Regarding the latter, many times people do 😂 But I’ve learned that’s not the end of the world, and to try new ideas anyway. If it’s good, people may want to collaborate later.
This book project in particular has been an absolute joy. I got to work with 19 other amazing people, learning this process together. It was a throwback to the newsletter in first grade, while uncovering the roadmap as we went along, much like the record label. These are some of the most brilliant, funny, open, kind-hearted, and passionate folks I have met. Before we began, I thought this would be hard…that nobody would want to do this…that if anybody did, I’d mess it all up and it would be like pulling teeth. Guess what? None of that happened! My co-authors are so amazing and have made this process super-easy. In fact, after such a positive first experience, we plan to expand in 2017!
All of that being said (in a very disorganized way…yes, I am laying on the couch. Yes I am on my WordPress app on my phone. No, I probably won’t polish this up later 😬), I need to take a moment to thank those of you with whom I have had the pleasure of collaborating, especially in this educational space. It has meant the world to me. This goes out to all of the co-authors of the book, the entire #EduMatch crew, all of the co-organizers of any edcamp or conference planning team I’ve been on, my teammates at work, my other work families (MAFI, OHHS, and more), GEG DC Metro, anyone who has reached out to me to invite me to their table, anyone who ever believed in me (especially when it was cool not to), anyone who positively impacted me, and especially to Mom and Dad for showing me that anything is possible, and when it gets hard to keep fighting for it.
That felt like the Grammy acceptance speech that never happened 😜