Tuesday, February 7, 2012

They're baaaaaaaaack...

Have you heard 
that these ☟☟

are making a comeback?

Bill Geist/CBS Sunday Morning swears there's a new generation fascinated by typewriters. A typewriter renaissance.
A fascination even among some who've never seen one. 
  This includes singles who think it's more personal to type a letter then send an e-mail. (I digress but back in the day, personal correspondence, from love letters to thank you notes, had to be handwritten, never~fans cheeks~typed.)

     I wrote my high school term papers, book reports and college essays on that already-vintage-vintage Underwood family heirloom. (Except when I could talk my mother into letting me dictate to her.) 

Phil Patton, Just My Typewriter

     By the time I broke into the fiction market, I had a hand-me-down IBM Selectric. It was being tossed (I use the term loosely) at my husband's office & weighed about as much as my 2 youngest children combined. To lug it to the repair shop,  after strapping the toddlers into the backseat, required its own seatbelt on the passenger side. (Remember when weight on the passenger seat signaled "person" & cars would not start unless seatbelts were fastened?)

I admit a fondness for the tapping,
the rhythmic strike of keys against roller carriage,
the imprint of letters on bond,
and that nostalgic ping! at the end of the line.

There were, however, a few essentials left out of the TV piece.

  • If you could not spell, you spent an inordinate amount of time doing this:
☟  ☟  ☟

  • If you could not spell and were a self-taught typist, there was way too much of this:

  • Even if you could spell & type, if you wanted to revise a paragraph, you either retyped the entire page or resorted to this: 

& this:

     Since the introduction of the computer, virtual cut & paste and spellcheck, one of the biggest changes in publishing has been revision. We re-write, hone & polish with ease. We do more of it. A lot more of it. 

     This puts the swearing, hair-pulling, pacing & meltdowns where they belong  with the creative process.

     I was on my fourth book with Scholastic when my editor called to chat about the bottom line: they loved my work & working with me, but copy editing my manuscripts for spelling & typing errors was taking too much of their time. If I wanted to continue, I'd have to get a computer. With spellcheck.

They had me at If

~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~


Revised & polished. Written with spellcheck. 
Virtually cut & pasted.
Hair pulling, pacing & meltdowns reserved 
for the revisions & polish.

Barnes & Noble/Nook             Amazon/Kindle


Augusta Scattergood said...

Such memories!
And how about earning extra college $$ typing research papers for those whose education didn't include a "required" typing course in 8th grade! I was a speedy typist, but my writing career evolved post-typewriter. Can't imagine writing entire books with only a typewriter.

Oh, and think of what we've now lost. The writing process of all the famous writers of the 21st century will never be documented by typewritten pages with handwritten notes on display at the Morgan Library, etc. Ah, progress.

Gary said...

What a lovely post. I miss the sounds of keys of typewriters and bells dinging off in the distance in the newsroom. I do still have my IBM Selectric, also! It makes an interesting conversation piece and a wonderful door stop.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

You had me at IBM Selectric.

Feeling a little bit nostalgic.
A VERY little bit.

Because I do want to write and I don't like white-out. I don't mind cutting and pasting with a mouse but I can't imagine actually writing a book without my Toshiba laptop. (apologies to IBM)

BTW - A Scattergood linked me here.

Michele Ivy Davis said...

I remember cutting and pasting with scissors and tape, as well as ironing submissions that were returned wrinkled. I sure didn't want to type them all over again!

Thankfully my mother typed my early college papers (bless her!), but once I left home, I either pecked away on a portable or used an amazing new invention, the electric typewriter. They had them in the University library stacks -- 10 cents for 10 minutes of electricity, then they shut off and you had to put another dime in the slot.

Do I miss all that? Not a bit. Hurray for computers!