Typewriter Lovers – I Feel Your Pain

I am mystified by people who go out and buy a secondhand manual typewriter. Or even a firsthand one. Apparently it’s a thing.

For those authors who started with typewriters and can’t compose their romance novels on any other device, I bow to you. You are entitled to choose the weapon you wish in the battle to write.

But most folks who buy typewriters these days are college students. I’m guessing they think it’s charming and retro and somehow more authentic to pound out a novel on a typewriter, but I’m here to tell those folks, it isn’t. Unless you like getting your finger stuck between the I-O-L-K keys and the inevitable mess that follows. In that case don’t let me stand in your way.

But fair warning, breaking your writing session to find antibiotic cream and a bandage takes a lot of the fun out of a stroke of literary inspiration.

Then there is changing the ribbon on the typewriter.

Every typewriter worth its salt has one which requires patience followed by profanity to remove and replace. If you insert the spools just right you can manage to coat the entire machine with a thin layer of inky dust. If you are really lucky, the ribbon folds and creases in the process.

This means you have to cut off the wonky end of ribbon and rewind the remainder onto the empty spool. So fun. This is why our ancestors hid their hands in those sepia photographs we are so fond of. To cover up the ink stains on their fingers.

Worst of all are errors. I am an inaccurate typist.

This is why I posed a challenge to the placement agency I worked for in college. You should have seen the woman’s expression when she looked at my typing scores, a combination of disbelief and pity. Luckily she was ingenious at finding me jobs anyway. She had to be. Not many companies are interested in hiring a substitute who types both slowly and inaccurately.

Under the circumstances you would think I would have developed a steady hand at correcting typographical errors. But no. My corrected text always looked far worse than it would have if I had just dipped the entire sheet of paper in plaster of Paris and then crumpled it before typing the text on it.

This is why I think we should have a national holiday in honor of not having to use a typewriter anymore.

We could call it Only If You Want To Use One (But Who Would) Day. We could have a parade of people holding up bandaged inky fingers, marching to the beat of hundreds of those irritating little bells which served no useful purpose on typewriters I can think of except to make the typist sound incredibly busy.

I would attend.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.