I grew up in the typewriter age. The manual typewriter age. f j f j f j f j… shift… tab… ding! (Remember the bell?) How ’bout the margin release key for those of us who pushed the boundaries? Good times.
Earlier this year I visited my 92-year-young friend, Ruth, and she asked how my writing was going. I confessed it was in a lull. I also said I wished I had my ol’ Smith Corona. (Gave it away years ago — a decision I’ve since regretted.) With a conspiratorial gleam in her eye, she led me to a closet and pointed to a pale green case in the shadows.
“Would you like my Olympia? I typed college term papers on it in the 60′s.”
A classic. Like my friend.
The Olympia made it’s debut last weekend. After a few tentative taps and “the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog,” one sentence led to another. Then paragraphs. Pages.
Tangible thoughts… and a few jammed keys.
That’s when I realized what changed about my writing. I’m not physically engaged. Granted, I keep a paper and pen handy and write letters often, but sitting in front of a computer, something’s missing. It feels “weightless.” Although I appreciate the effortlessness of it, sometimes it borders on mindlessness — personally speaking, of course.
Typing on a manual typewriter is a multi-sensory experience that I just can’t get in front of a flat screen. I need to see the progress on an 8-1/2 x 11 inch sheet of paper. Hear the zipper-like sound and authoritative ‘thunk’ of the carriage return. Smell the ink. Feel words as they’re wrought. Taste success… eventually. Even if I have to re-type it into Word.
Plus, I can take it outside.
How has technology influenced your writing?
Enjoying my ‘new’ laptop,