I've always been a writer, filling up notebooks and journals with multi-colored ink that gave voice to the thoughts and feelings that consistently crowd my head.
I received my first typewriter somewhere in middle school. I used that thing like crazy. I had a few different fonts I could use - they were little, round, plastic discs I could change out. I had a robotic kind of font, a pretty, cursive kind of font, and the regular standard issue. I had to buy ribbons. My favorite one was blue. There was also correction tape and reams and reams of paper.
I used my personal typewriter for several years before I actually learned how to touch type. That came in high school. I think it was in my junior year if I'm remembering it correctly.
The class was taught by Ms. Law. That's not her name anymore, but that's what it was when I was there. It was fitting. She was serious about typing, and she didn't put up with any shenanigans. She did, however, encourage shoulder rubs. That's how serious she was about typing. If your shoulders didn't hurt after thirty minutes of typing drills, you weren't doing it right.
I'd like to say I'm making this up. Honestly, I'm not. It didn't seem weird to me at the time. Now I'm wondering why. It seems very weird as I'm writing this post.
The typewriters we used in Ms. Law's class were the great big, heavy ones. They hummed like a swarm of bees when they were turned on, and they each weighed a ton. It got pretty noisy in there when all twenty of us got to clacking away.
It was a very useful class. It's because of Ms. Law that I can continue typing while looking at one of my children and carry on a conversation with them. That freaks my daughter out and it's highly entertaining for me. I'm always happy when the opportunity arises.
I remember working for an independent publisher many years ago. He was blind and he'd write out articles and short stories in Braille. It was my job to sit at the computer and type while he read to me. He was always amazed at how quick I was, how easily I kept up with him.
I don't know exactly how many words a minute I can type, but it's probably a lot. I get a ton of practice. I haven't had an actual typewriter in a long time. If I had more space in my house, I think it would be fun to have an old, vintage machine just because I think there's a certain beauty to them. I wouldn't work on one, though. I'd be afraid I'd break it. I'm kind of heavy handed. I've worn out many computer keyboards in the last several years.
Hey ... now that I've done some thinking about it, I wonder if there was a method to Ms. Law's madness. Maybe she was just trying to preserve her precious, expensive machines. I'll be sure to tell my husband that the next time I wear out a keyboard. I just need more shoulder rubs.