Lasting Words (Memoir)
There is a 1920’s Simth and Corona Typewriter resting resolutely on my desk at home. It holds supreme reign there. Occasionally, I pad down the stairs late in the evening a quietly peep into my writing room. I have the overwhelming suspicion that this dated mechanical, now made obsolete by digital convenience, has been reminiscing over words berthed through the last several decades. That thought alone occasionally awes and intimidates me. It's almost frivolous—actually punching out my own thoughts and adding them to a list of words so much older and likewise greater than mine. But out of passion and necessity, I use that typewriter and make my own little marks in its history.
I have always believed in making your living at something you love. Writing was my love but I was told vehemently by many that I would never be able to make a living at it—at just writing. And I believed them. So, I shifted my angle, stuck a red pen in my back pocket, and became an editor. Now I live in the best of two worlds. During the day I edit the beautiful and soulful writing of others, being careful of my bias’ and my personal sense of creativity lest they distort my editorial bent. And after I am done working, I put away my red pen, sit down at my typewriter, and I punch out my own attempts at beauty and soul.
Why a typewriter—
All day long an amiable and wide-screened Mac computer gazes stupidly into my face as I silently tap away at it’s digitally sensitive keys. This machine makes my life infinitely more simple and convenient. I can spend an entire day analyzing, correcting, editing, deleting, and reading without ever having to break out the white-out. But at the end of the day my sense of creativity is screaming for release. Just the thought of another blank computer screen, unblinking and noiseless—save the quiet humming of inner-machine-workings—makes me want to throw that infinitely convenient and helpful machine out the window. Some deep inner part of me longs for the sharp ring of metal keys against inked ribbon against paper. The very look and smell of a new white sheet rolled into the Smith & Corona is inspirational. Even the force required to punch out those words, on keys older than my grandfather, forces me to rest, to think, and to await further words to pound against the page.
In a society where our lifestyles are as expendable and changing as so many of our spoken words, I have found myself writing—using tools with which to do so—to pound out something memorable, something lasting. I long to create something I can cling to when the winds of change blow through my life.
How many ancient Macintosh computers or Hewett Packard machines do you find resting in valued and almost holy places a-top the desks of writers? None. A computer, as with any electronic machine in our day and age, is dated and soon obsolete almost as it steps from the production line. Convenient, yes—very much so. But expendable, disposable, quickly recycled as the next new model arrives.
As for me, there are a several thousand words—worthwhile I hope—that must be said before I leave this earth, and I want them to last. They are words of memory and story, truth, and lessons learned through experience, even secrets that must wait several generations to be heard.
These words I will pad down the stairs late in the evening to write. I will pray quiet prayers for wisdom as I lay my fingers on keys older than my memories, and pound out words—lasting words.