Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I love old typewriters. One of my earliest memories is of my dad hunched over the typewriter in the room that would later be my younger sister's, typing out purchase orders and business letters (to this day he still uses the hunt-and-peck typing method). The typewriter had been my mom's in college, and we also had my grandfather's college typewriter around the house. Both were manual, of course, and you had to mash the keys down pretty hard to get the letters to appear at the right darkness to be legible and consistent.

Also when I was little, my grandmother had in her home office an electric typewriter, which I thought was one of the best toys ever. After pounding the keys of the two manual typewriters at my house, I found the keys of her typewriter to be almost too sensitive. (It was the color of Grey Poupon and was still in the same spot when she died two years ago.) I made lots of mistakes, and I don't remember her machine having correction tape.

I think I was in the sixth grade when I asked for a typewriter for either Christmas or my birthday. It, too, was electric (fancy!) and I could backspace and white out over mistakes I'd made, retyping right over it as if I'd never made a mistake! A few years later my family broke down and bought a word processor, the step between a typewriter and a computer, and finally, my parents bought their first computer after I had gone to college.

Now that I'm on my laptop the better part of most days writing, researching, editing what someone else has written and a host of other work- and fun-related things, I can't even imagine what it would take for me to write something just straight out. The way I write things is usually not start to finish. I can't even think of what it would be like for me if I had to retype a page each time I thought to insert a new paragraph somewhere in the middle. But I guess I would if I had to.

So with all that said, I just loved a series of photos I found via Twitter (be sure to follow me @betsyrhame) yesterday of writers with their typewriters (also note how many of these authors have a burning cigarette in their hands. I love that too. Not something you see too much anymore). Check it out.

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