Well, I may learn things the hard way, but I do learn them. I'm typically a person who likes to dive in to new things, especially computer related things, with the idea that I should be able to figure it all out as I go. I'm not a natural researcher who ponders before acting, which led me to the adventure described in my previous post. But now that I'm no longer under the gun to produce something, and enough time has passed to not feel the frustration of my previous experience, I'm taking the time to read the instruction manuals and tutorials on Cinelerra CV.
The official instruction manual (available here) is very dense and not readable - as you expect manuals to be. It does have important and useful information, however. I've learned that there is a lot of jargon involved ("keyframes," "concatenate," etc.) and if you don't have the basic knowledge about terminology or basic functionality, it's like reading Greek. Cinelerra CV's manual is also available in a wiki format, which I think is much better for online reading.
I'm finding that a better place to start is with the online video show "the_source," which features an unlikely pair of thirtysomething guys (one is kind of your stereotypical Linux geek guy, and the other looks like a frat guy - baseball cap, name-brand fleece vest and all) who have a very friendly and effective way of explaining things. The Cinelerra tutorials are within episodes and the guide to where they start and end is on this page under "Cinelerra tutorials." I've found these to be very useful, simple explanations of the basics of Cinelerra.
I'm still exploring this, so if I find more, I'll report back!