I got my first typewriter when I was in 9th grade. It was a Hermes 3000. A sweet Swiss number that had its own carrying case. I was quite proud of it and wrote a few papers on it and a lot of love letters to various girls I was trying to woo.
What was nifty about that typewriter was it had a key you could push and it would move back a space. Pretty high tech.
My next typewriter came with an eraser key that allowed me to actually erase one letter. That was such a leap forward. I had to push the erase key and then type the letter to be erased and viola, white out. It had an eraser ribbon that ran right next to the ink ribbon and I had to replace the eraser ribbon more frequently than they ink one. That typewriter was followed by one that could erase four letters. I can't tell you how much I loved those bonus keys. I make a lot of mistakes when I type. Never having had the benefit of taking a typing class I primarily type out everything with three fingers.
Imagine my delight when I got a IBM Electric. It plugged in and it was like going from first gear to third.It was a heavy set thing with function taking preference over form and was not meant for travel. But it buzzed along and had an eraser key that you could push and it would erase the last letter and any other letters one at a time for as long as you wanted. Unbelievable.
Despite its advances, I never really cared for the IBM like I did my Hermes. But we did have a long term relationship.
When I completed my dissertation there could be no mistakes. When I decided that what I wrote on page 86 really needed to be on page 44 I had to go back to page 44 and write everything from that point on all over again. It wasn’t very conducive to wanting to make changes.
When I finally said goodbye to the IBM, it was replaced by a computer. I must admit that while others looked forward to getting a computer, I was scared of it. My friend Scott convinced me to buy it and join the modern world. I did, but I kept the world in my closet for over a year until Scott sat me down and set me straight. I was so afraid that what I would write might disappear. I knew right away the computer was smarter than I could ever be and to this day I'm afraid of making a mistake and losing everything.
How one can write has evolved as much as anything. While we all can still take out a paper and pen and write a note that was close to the only option for many years. I suppose the invention of fountain pens and then ballpoint pens was a big jump in the field, but I suspect that the move from my old Hermes to my new computer is more than one small step for humankind. Like many things, the art of writing has been wed to technology. The skills necessary to write have expanded and with it the scope and range of support. The step forward that my erase key provided has now seen leaps and bounds such that now my computer tells me when my three fingers have managed to hit the wrong key. I I want I can just dictate to my computer,and truthfully I’ve tried, but we are yet to speak the same language. Plus I do like to put those three fingers to work on the keys.It's part of my exercise routine.