growing up, there was a dark corner office/seasonal storage space in my parents’ half-finished basement. there was a large desk sandwiched between boxes of hunting gear, winter coats, christmas ornaments, and other things. on that desk sat one of these. [is my age showing?]
i used it for homework sometimes. and if i had been especially well-behaved that day, and asked especially nicely, my mother would grant me permission to remove the dust-cover and use her machine to write a letter or a story.
writing was different on a typewriter.
in retrospect, perhaps what i was doing was not writing at all – something more like copying. process happened pre-typing – sprawling scrawling on scratch paper [of which my extra frugal mother seems to always have at least a box of on hand]. drafting/crafting happened in my sunshiney bedroom, or on a blanket spread over the grass under my favorite elm in the front yard, or at the kitchen table while my little sisters were coloring.
it wasn’t until after my writing felt complete and my mother had checked for spelling hiccups that i moved into the basement and reverently approached the keys.
even with practice, i still pressed the keys with labored purposefulness, intent on achieving a full page of perfection. the typewriter had correction tape, but i refused to use it. if ever i made an error, i would crumple the marred paper and insert a fresh sheet. mistakes glare.
i will not wax poetic over the days of yore. i recognize ways that clacking words out on a typewriter perhaps heightened my attention to craft in ways that may no longer be necessary or useful in a world in which chaotic mosh pits of ideas can develop and then be structured into shareable pieces all within the same digital page that is stored in the laptop that i carry with me every day.
but the uncovering of a well-loved machine … the faint smell of typewriter ink … the beautiful sounds of intention … well, it’s just something special.