Grandma Jane had a type writer that she kept on the shelf under her record player in her bedroom. That typewriter was what I learned to type on. I grew up writing stories, and binding them together with thick colored paper as my front and back covers. I would tie them together with yarn, or staple them depending on what supplies we had around the house. Grandma was great at keeping random crafting supplies. She was of that old school generation that never threw anything away. Everything had a purpose, and it would be stored until a future date when that purpose was discovered. Usually for two specific little girls who needed to make doll clothes, have tea parties, or write and act out stories for the adults. #bff
As I grew older she would buy new ink cartridges and paper for me so I could use it for my new journalism skills. Becoming a journalist was actually one of those "when I grow up, I want to be... " maybe a journalist? Maybe a vet? Maybe an Archaeologist? Who knows, it was definitely in my top three.
I had dreams, I had goals. I used that type writer to write weekly newsletters about our family and hang them on the fridge for everyone to see. I recall my mother not loving them, because I was real, raw. I wrote what I saw.
I have been literally writing this story since I was a young impressionable girl. At the time it was present tense. Now it's past. The desire to write it and share it has never faded.
I did it for different reasons back then, but they're very close to the reasons I write now. I wanted to change my family. I wanted them to see my perspective. I had a voice, and I wanted to use it. They wouldn't always listen to me talk, so I wrote.
Later I turned that writing into poetry. I was still writing that poetry well into my marriage with Shawn. He remembers. I like that.
Sometimes this all feels made up. Like I made up some pretend horrible story about my family and no one will believe me when they read it. I was tremendously reassured last night when my brother Cody called me and started telling me his memories. They are the same memories. We are ten years apart in age, so of course our stories would look worlds different if he, too, were to write his memories and compare them to mine, but the overall arc of the story is 100% the same. The emotion is the same. The heartache is the same.
I talk to my cousin, she remembers. I talk to Shawn, and he remembers.
It's really nice having people around who remember, it's not fake. I didn't make this up, I haven't gone crazy. But I certainly feel crazy. That's a lasting side effect I get to live with. Oh well.
How old am I again? This story is a good twenty years in the making, and last night I finished it.
I'm having a small heart attack at the thought of that.
I've hit several points in this process over the last couple of years where I truly thought, that's it, it's done. Is it ever really done?
Truth be told I'm far from done telling this story. Writing this story.
Now, however, it's going to be turned into an honest to goodness BOOK! A book you can hold in your hands and flip the pages.
What?! SO COOL!!!!
I still have so much work to do. I don't think I'll ever want to be done with this. This book is my life, my life is this book.
Now, though, you can finally read the words it's taken me years to pull out of myself!
So much goodness is coming! I hope you're ready. I think I am. :)