The Monster on my Desk

Little kids love monsters — love them, or love to hate them. When I was really little, my ‘monster’ was a huge, black-&-silver, shiny Remington Rand typewriter that lived on the tiny desk in my room.

It was definitely love at first sight. One touch, of just the right force, was enough to create the most astonishing miracles — letters, symbols, words, poems, stories — the only limit was my imagination! And my touch.

As soon as I was old enough, I started writing stories. Half the fun of creating them was getting the touch just right, hearing the authoritative clack of each metal key as it struck the platen, smelling the oil and metal and new paper, fresh out of its box.

The ribbon was the star. Everything depended on it. As I struck a key, the small cage-like metal square that held the cloth ribbon would rise like a hiccup, just a smidgen, barely visibly, and the long metal bar with a letter or symbol at the end would strike up and pound the ribbon onto the platen, around which I’d rolled a beautiful, clean sheet of paper by twisting it slowly, one click at a time, until it was placed just perfectly to receive my words.

It was magic!

Writing has never ceased to be magic. Writers don’t choose to write; it chooses them. We have no choice but to comply.

While I was still teaching, I wrote for newspapers, magazines, publishers, local, domestic and international. But as any language teacher can tell you, teaching someone to speak a foreign language is more than a full-time job. (In fact a teacher of just about anything can corroborate this.) So I never had a moment to myself. If I complained about my frenetic schedule, my mother-in-law was always quick to remind me that if I didn’t write, I’d have lots of free time!

She was right, of course — except that if you’re a writer,il_570xN.330210452 you can’t not write. A climber climbs, a runner has to run. A writer has to write. It’s not a choice

What drives you?



5 thoughts on “The Monster on my Desk

  1. Hmmm…I don’t know what drives me exactly, but I’m glad you asked the question. I like Sean’s idea about freedom from ignorance. I guess I’m mostly driven by curiosity about how things work (mechanical and psychological things). For example, I think the most interesting thing about climbing is figuring out how to do a particular move and how to use all the cool gear.

    • Those are definitely two great things about climbing. How about the rest of you? What do you like best about climbing? What drives you (climbers or non-)?

      • For some reason, “what drives you” is a question that doesn’t really resonate with me–but if I think about it as “what makes you absolutely crazy if it doesn’t exist in your life?” (not sure if that’s exactly the same thing, but still), it’s easier to answer.

        In which case: productive physical activity, being in nature, learning, and being the person I want to be (and want others to think I am). Something like that.

        (As great as they are, I’m not sure if peanut or almond butter figure in. 😉

  2. Salut D! I enjoyed your quote, “Writers don’t choose to write; it chooses them. We have no choice but to comply.” This speaks volumes to how well you capture feelings, stories, moments shared through written word. You have a gift, and you work on it, and your readers reap the benefits. So…what drives me you ask? Freedom from the shackles of ignorance…and peanut butter :-).

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