I remember that typewriter.
I spent hours tap-tap-typing on the yellow not-quite-a-keyboard. Pressing one key kind of mashed all the other keys down with it, but still, I kept tap-tap-typing. I don’t know what stories I tap-tap-typed before I turned three-years-old, but I sure had a lot to write.
As a tween, I lugged my mom’s old brown-and-cream typewriter up to my bedroom and typed story after story after poem after poem after endless, never-finished story. Never content with the result of individual letters smacking the cool white page, the pile of crumpled papers around my pink garbage can grew by the day, the hour, the minute. I don’t know what stories I slammed out on that old, worn out, hand-me-down typewriter, but I sure had a lot to write.
We got a computer shortly thereafter, and I spent hours typing stories across the blue screen, the little white cursor flashing — sometimes mocking me. We kept getting computers from that point forward; I kept writing my stories on the ever-changing screens. For years and years and years, I have written and written and written.
Recently, going back to follow the advice of other writers I admire, I have asked myself, “Why?” Why do I write? — Here for the world to see, in my journal for just myself, in various ways and places for my children. Revisiting the why doesn’t always feel comfortable. The asking makes me look into the nitty-gritty of which emails I reply to, which ones I toss. The consideration of these questions makes me wonder why I dance around certain subjects instead of diving in with all of my writing spirit and soul, and why I cannonball into the “lesser” ones. And then I ponder if “lesser” stories really are lesser stories, or if they also have a place, a reason to be told.
Asking — and answering — these questions brings me back to my personal definitions of success: Pressing publish. Connecting with others, even just one. Telling my story in its bits and pieces, the great big stuff that takes years to find the courage to write and the daily minutiae that will mean so much to read back over many, many years from now.
Short-haired, pink cords wearing Jenna on her little blue and yellow typewriter had the right idea all those years ago: Just keep tap-tap-typing.