It’s a greasy-gray winter afternoon. The previous night’s rain has washed all the snow away, except for the determined piles along the edges of the road. Those are grungy and unappealing. It is, however, a good day.
It’s good because my MacBook is back home after being sent out for repairs. Well, a replacement MacBook, actually. The warranty on the original was still good, and this was a faster way to keep a customer happy. I’m definitely happy. Now I can sit here in my recliner, in decadent comfort, while I write this, instead of parking myself at my desk in front of the spare desktop computer. (We have this spare because George traded a guitar for it with one of his friends.)
I like the keyboard on this MacBook better than the one we found to use on the desktop spare. Writing depends a great deal on the keyboard. The keys have to tap out just right; if they require too little or too much pressure, I find myself backing up every few words to make corrections, and that ruins the flow. When you’re writing, the typing process itself has to unobtrusive, done without conscious thought, like walking or breathing. This keyboard does that. It feels like home.
There was a time when no keyboard felt like that, though. Like every school kid of the ‘50s and ‘60s, I wrote school assignments in longhand, and I did my creative writing that way, too. When I was a senior, and got a job at a radio station writing commercials and, sometimes, radio shows. I did those in longhand, too. At first.
“You have to use the typewriter,” the crusty old veteran told me a few days into the job. “You’ll be here all day if you don’t, and we don’t have time for that.”
He had absolutely no sympathy for my rather poetic assertion that I needed to “feel the pencil, to let my thoughts flow from my head to my hand where I can hold the words before they hit the paper.” Doesn’t that sound romantic?
“Learn to use a typewriter,” the heartless old radio veteran said. “You’ll have to do it eventually, anyway, if you’re going to be a journalist.”
Grudgingly, I did. Now, of course, I can’t imagine writing everything out longhand first. I can type almost as fast as I think. That keeps the flow going. The only time I prefer handwriting something is when I’m writing in a prayer journal, when I need to slow thought down so I can hear another Voice. But that’s a whole different story.
So, Mac’s back, and I’m happy, despite this grungy winter day. In fact, I’m so happy, that I allowed myself to get totally distracted. This isn’t the column I sat down to write. I guess it’s the column Mac wanted me to write.