My birthday was almost two weeks ago and I had long ago given up hope of receiving any gifts. Not that I’m a materialistic person- and don’t get me wrong, a nice night out with my closest friends is one of my favorite things in life, but, it is always nice to receive a little gift on the one day of the year that you can rightly claim as your own, (except if you managed the one in three hundred and sixty five odds- to share the day with your own mother) to know that you’re appreciated.
Then, totally unexpectedly, I came home late from work last night to find a strange, old, worn but cared for, leather covered box with a clip and a handle, and a ream of paper placed atop with a bow tied around it, sitting on my study desk- under the light of the lamp which was turned on.
As soon as I opened the rustic black case and glimpsed the worn, yet well preserved keys, my heart skipped a little in my chest. Having initially been confused at the presence of the strange box upon my desk, I knew instantly that I was looking at one of the best presents I had ever received.
Then came the note… Beautifully written, wound around the platen and sitting propped above the ribbon, as though my muse above was imparting inspiration in text, spurring me on to sit and write again. It had been a while since I had written anything and my frustration at lack of ideas and inspiration was only growing.
I unclipped the typewriter from its case, removed the box, and then placed it on the desk before taking a seat in front of it. I sat staring for a while at the beautiful craftsmanship of such a magnificent piece of equipment, cut from a bygone era. In awe of it’s well maintained or restored condition, I began to ponder the fingers that came before me, pressing the keys that I sat before, what words had been typed? From whose thoughts had they come? The wonder of the stories told from the thump of the letter strikers against the countless pages that have been spun through the paper roll. Perhaps secret documents had been transcribed, now locked away in archival storage- never to be seen again. Maybe great novelists had pressed the words of stories still told today, stories of courage, wisdom, hope, love, or of war and darker times.
In any case, the mystery of the life of the machine that came to be mine left me in wonder at my worthiness to forge my own stories, to press the stamp heads against the ink ribbon and to start a new chapter in the life of the apparatus that will go on telling stories long after I have told mine.
Of course in today’s society with our technology and computers with spell check and auto correct for the grammatically impaired, it would seem impractical to scribe out the pages of a book or story on such an old world device (as enchanting as it would be). But however long it sits upon the bookshelf with my other artifacts from ages gone, it will forever remain a source of inspiration with it’s perplexing, enigmatic past. And when the time comes for the words worthy of its key strikes, and for pages once more to be turned through the paper roll with the platen knobs, and aligned, ready for the first sentences of a new tale with the light push of the carriage return lever, I will take her down from the shelf and sit for a moment, again in awe of her beauty- rivaled only by that of the woman who gave her to me.