Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
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for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
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Online Since 1999
||Lewis Grizzard's Typewriter....
Lewis Grizzard's Typewriter
looking at pictures of Lewis Grizzard and his manual typewriter.
I'm pretty sure that it is exactly like my old Royal that I have
retired to the back of a closet. I'm relatively certain my vintage
Royal still works if I could find a ribbon for it. Grizzard wrote
a column about his typewriter in 1983. Unlike Grizzard's
typewriter, my Royal has all the keys -- and will type both an
"e" and "u" -- at least it would the last time
I saw it.
Trying to type an error-free document in the times of the manual
typewriter was a nightmare. Grizzard probably he didn't care how
impossible it was and just kept typing. If he made an error, he
could not backspace and fix it, though. In the days of manual
typewriters, you had to erase your errors with an ink eraser and
Grizzard had to do his own spelling too or look up the word in a
dictionary. Spelling and grammar have vastly improved since the
computer spellchecker was born. Now we can even cut and paste and
move paragraphs around electronically. In typewriter days, cutting
and pasting was literally that. You used scissors and rearranged
paragraphs with scotch tape.
If you made any bad errors when typing on a manual, an entire page
might need to be retyped. I've heard that the floors of old
newsrooms were littered with crumpled retypes.
Maybe Grizzard had enough skill to avoid excessive errors or
enough persistence at ignoring them and muddled through. Or maybe
he just crossed them out and went on since he called columns in to
an assistant anyhow.
When white-out came along in a little bottle with a brush like
fingernail polish, it became much easier to fix typos. You just
had to be careful to let the paper dry before trying to type on
it. I can't imagine a man like Grizzard using a sissy product like
white-out. He would rather retype.
When electric typewriters came along, they practically typed by
themselves. We became speed-writing demons at 60 wpm. Lewis
Grizzard didn't like electric typewriters and continued to bang
away on the old manual even though the ribbon stuck and the tab
didn't work. "Electric typewriters make strange grunting
noises and type faster than I can think," he said.
When the IBM Selectric came along, the carriage didn't move, so
you didn't have to worry about setting your coffee cup where it
would get knocked over when you hit return at the end of a line.
Before that, I had to retype a lot of papers that were the victims
of flying coffee cups.
The world of writing has not been the same since personal
computers. Grizzard called them Star Wars typewriters. Grizzard
shunned computers, saying, "I like to hear noise when I
work." Writers think with their fingers and a lot of creative
thinking takes place between the keys and the paper or screen.
I sort of miss the challenge of my old Royal and banging the keys
hard to get them to print. Computers and iPads correct errors and
misspelled words for you before you even notice anything is wrong.
Machines are too smart when they fix errors you didn't get a
chance to make. One of these days I may dig that old typewriter
out of the closet. I could shine it up and find a ribbon somewhere
that I could wind onto the old, obsolete spools.
wrote 25 books and 3 columns a week on a manual. I would like to
try to write a column on it and see how many crumpled retypes end
up on the floor.
But, right now it will have to wait. I have a deadline to meet.
Grizzard might not have understood computers, but he did
ęCopyright 2012 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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