While on a girlfriends’ getaway weekend this summer, I stumbled across this old typewriter in a consignment shop. Tears literally came to my eyes as the memories came to mind: Countless hours were spent as a teen hammering away on my old black Underwood (which was much older and sexier than this model). You may have never seen me type, as the title reads, but you certainly could hear me through the closed bedroom door as I clack-clacked away on endless adventures starring me and my friends and a random celebrity or two. In fact, my best buds would often sit at my side as I typed, making dating requests and wardrobe choices that I would incorporate seamlessly into my tales.
Back then, inspiration was as simple as a glance stolen at a cute boy in study hall. A snatch of a song from the radio. A cruel teacher, a friend’s clever quip. Of course, nothing seemed simple at fifteen!
Even now, I find prompts for plots not all that different: a glance from a stranger on the street, a lyric lifted from iTunes, a sadistic boss, a clever quip from my kid. I guess I’m working from the same emotional center.
I sacrificed many a tree to the writing gods throughout the 1980s. I would emerge from my room triumphant; typewriter ribbon ink smeared across my face like eye black on a football player and Wite-Out on my fingernails like a bad French manicure. I had CREATED.
I recently gave one of my heroines the surname Underwood as an homage to my long-lost typewriter. That triumphant feeling is still present as I tap-tap away on my MacBook – writing with the same effort and purpose as if I were pushing down those heavy black keys, pushing back that carriage return with a zing. I’m just much neater and quieter about it now…