When I was little, I wanted to write.  I can remember sitting under the big Elm in our front yard with a notebook writing a play.  I wrote a few poems.  I kept a diary.  I wrote a lot of letters in those days.  I wrote to my boyfriend, later husband, every day while he was in the  Navy.  I have a degree in English, more in reading than writing, but I went back to school when the kids were little and took journalism classes.  I wanted a column.  I edited a volunteer magazine for a year, wrote some articles.  When I started working, I was doing more copywriting than anything else.  When my husband died, I filled a boxful of journals.  I emailed a friend some deep writings a few years later.  I wrote at work.  I wrote a book, a short story, lots of essays.  Nothing published – just wrote to see if I could write.  Now I have this blog and it’s all opening up again…it comes easily since I have a head full of thoughts to get on paper, confetti thoughts, wisdom of my age, silly thoughts.

But, I digress.  I was really thinking about typing.  I love to hear about writers who still write longhand.  My handwriting has deteriorated to the place where that would be impossible for anything longer than a note.  I love writers who type on vintage typewriters.  There’s something about the click of the keys, the slamming of the return lever, the inability to correct easily… it’s charming…not practical…but charming.  I learned to type in high school…about 10th grade.  It was what you learned if you were going to be a secretary or go to college.  We learned the keyboard, a bunch of formats for business letters and memos, and how to write a term paper, inserting footnotes and doing a bibliography.  We were tested for speed and accuracy.  I think I typed over 70 words per minute with no errors and made an A in the class.  If there was ever a course I’ve used, it was typing.

I really like to type and have embraced all of the new technology from typewriters to electric typewriters to word processors to computers to iPads.  My mother sat down at my computer when she was in her 80s.  She had been an excellent typist when she was young, but hadn’t typed in years.  She couldn’t get the hang of it because the slightest touch produced a line of letters…aaaaaa…she was used to having to press hard and the speed startled her.

My grandkids tell me they learn typing in 3rd grade.  I’m trying to imagine what that is like.  My 3 year old granddaughter knows how to use the iPad, iPhone and computer without even thinking.  She’s had access since she was a baby.  She can’t type, but she’ll learn.  Obviously, they don’t have to learn business letter format because there are templates for that or everyone emails.  They don’t care too much about speed or accuracy since everything is easily correctible.  No more carbon paper, cleaning up mistakes with a razor blade, using whiteout or correcting tape, trying to roll back the page to the exact spot.  I’m pretty sure they do footnotes differently than I did on the mass of term papers I produced from high school on.  No more staying up all night to retype a paper several times so you could turn it in with no corrections showing.  So, little kids learn the keyboard, which has only changed in the addition of computer shortcut symbols and keys.  I suppose someday they won’t even have to touch a keyboard…voice recognition is here now.  They’ll just think it and the word will appear maybe.

I’m feeling slightly nostalgic for how I learned…slightly, I said.  It was kind of fun to learn a skill that opened up so many things through the years.  It doesn’t really matter as long as we have people who want to write in whatever form they choose.  Just get the words on paper!