Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time Travel With Fred Flintstone and a Typewriter

After waiting for what felt like my whole life, I finally got a desk.
It was a Fred Flintstone desk, the writing surface interchangeable to a chalkboard-type writing area.

I had always wanted a desk. I smirk as I say always - I was about 5 years old. Not long enough to consider a wish as ‘always,’ but it seemed like forever at the time.

And although I was still in Kindergarten, desks being only for the ‘big kids’ in grade one, I wanted my own desk more than anything. What did I expect to do with it if/when I got one? I have no clue. I had visions of sitting at a desk all day doing important things – and what kind of important things? I have no idea.

After finally learning how to print then handwrite, my knees outgrew the Fred Flintstone desk, and it became a place to shove schoolwork brought home with pride.
Then I wanted a typewriter.

And did I know what I wanted to do with it? Nope. But I wanted one.

I wanted to type, produce and create ‘important things’ – things that meant something to someone, somewhere. What kinds of important things, I don’t know - but I had an urge.

I wanted the sounds: the clanking of the keys, the arm with the little letter (typebar) whacking at the paper. I wanted the ding, the rush of the carriage as it swung back with a push of my hand, and the grinding of the paper roller (platen); all working in repetitive unison.

Maybe it was the future inklings of wanting to be a writer.

Even though I wrote a story once - a ‘gory thriller’ about a spider - I never thought I would BE a writer. I thought writers were mysterious people living in castles in the sky, typing their stories on diamond-studded typewriters. I assumed they rode around in limousines all day, thinking writerly thoughts, never talking to pee-ons like me. They were a mystery.

But I still wanted a typewriter.

Now, 30-some-odd-years-later (I’m NOT revealing – so don’t bother asking), I am a writer.

I don’t live in a castle in the sky. I don’t own a typewriter, diamond-studded or otherwise. No limousines for me, and I talk to EVERYONE. Am I mysterious? Hmmmm....maybe (see reference to age, and again, don’t bother asking).

In this world of e-everything, typewriters are a dime a dozen. Folks itching to get rid of these space-consuming relics sell them online; it not for the cost of an ├╝ber-fancy coffee, then often for free. It’s kind of weird - ironic actually - to see typewriters being sold on computers.

But it’s good timing for me, as I am conducting an experiment – a science experiment.
Better yet, let’s call it a time-travel experiment.

As I write this on the computer, my word processing program waits for me to type, delete, backspace, copy and paste, change fonts, italicize and bold – all with the swift movement of a finger or two. No paper, carbon paper or correction tape is in sight.

I itch to compare; to see what I will learn from the experience of going back in time, and to test my writing skills and SPEED on a typewriter.

I am in the process of taking advantage of those e-people anxious to rid of the objects of my affection. I am on the hunt, the prowl, for a typewriter, and will write my next blog (this will be interesting – can I download from my typewriter to the internet?) on a typewriter. To compare how I write, the way I write, and what differences, positive or negative, might try to sway me from writing alternatively.

Stay tuned for the scientific results of my if I only had my Fred Flintstone desk....


  1. Can't wait to see or hear the results... !!

  2. Thanks for another walk down Memory Lane, Lisa! I do kind of miss typewriters. There's something satisfying about using them, not that I'd ever trade my computer...

  3. A Fred Flintstone desk! I didn't know such things existed (very likely they didn't, in my youth) but it sounds ultra cool.

    I'd rather have one of those than a typewriter, which I never did master. I'm just so very grateful that computers came along to save me from even trying to write on an Underwood or even an IBM Selectric.