When I first started this journey of writing books a little over a year ago, I just had an idea. I was standing in the shower, feeling panicked about life and wondering what was next; where I was supposed to turn. Then, the idea for my first book came to me.
Next came the figuring out how I would actually get to writing. We are a one computer family, with the computer in the living room, where anything anyone does is out in the open and accessible. I knew I could write while the kids were at school, but that is not when it would be most convenient for me to do so, as that is when I get all of the other things that moms need to do without the hassle of being disturbed every few seconds. Then, it hit me.
Our children went to a Montessori school for a year. During that time, while in 5th grade, our oldest needed a computer for word processing. We found him an old Toughbook and got it up to speed. Once we moved to a different state and the children once again were in public school, he no longer had need of his private laptop. So, I found it and plugged it in, wondering if it still worked.
It did work! It fired right up and I began to get excited. I dared to think that maybe, just maybe, this may be possible. Then I looked at the keyboard. There were several keys missing. But, by this time, I was too excited and anxious to get started to let the condition of the machine get me down. I started pounding away and my first book began to take form.
I wrote on the broken down, beaten up laptop in the evenings once the kids went to bed, at my daughter’s OT appointments, at doctors’ appointments. Typing with a broken keyboard was no easy feat. But, I was determined to get my story out. Eventually, my husband took pity on me and found that we could order a new keyboard online. It came and he changed it for me. As grateful as I was, I still marvel that I managed to write over half of my book on a machine with 4 missing keys. To me, it is representative of my desperation to get my story out and how once I decided to do it, there was not much that could hold me back. My computer, like me, was broken. It was imperfect; it was damaged. And yet, it could still turn out the words. It was still capable and willing, even if the journey required more effort and struggle.
The keyboard is me: I am missing pieces. I am old, I am beaten down, I am worn out. There are newer models, fancier versions and prettier interfaces. But, this computer became my beacon of hope. It became my sanity, my safety net, my refuge and my strength, like an old security blanket.
I have since upgraded to another, slightly newer machine, because the old one just wouldn’t connect to the internet in a timely manner. That became the biggest hurdle for my progress. But, I will always keep it in order to remind me from where I came and how I started and how sometimes even the most broken of things can produce amazing results.