The other day I saw a book called Bang the Keys by Jill Dearman in the library at the Northern Colorado Writers' studio. It was in my hand before I realized I'd picked it up.
Okay, allow me to backtrack. Northern Colorado Writers is the dream child of Kerrie Flanagan. The stated goal of the organization is "to encourage and support writers of all levels and genres on their journey to writing success." Currently there are almost 200 members who take part in classes, workshops, critique groups, retreats and the annual NCW Conference.
But my favorite thing of all? The studio. Kerrie rented a good-sized office space and lots of people chipped in to paint, decorate, and furnish it. Coffee and tea are always available, as are snacks, a microwave, wi-fi, a house laptop, a printer and copier. There's a classroom space, a library and all sorts of places to sit and write. And finally there is the quiet room where talk is verboten, with the teal recliner where I sit for hours and hours and bang the keys to exhaustion. It's a place where writers can go to the office, talk publishing, writing, and promotion, and then settle down and work. Pretty darn awesome, if you ask me. Kudos to Kerrie for taking the leap and making it work.
Anyway, Bang the Keys is directed more at people who are starting a project or trying to make that leap from wanting to be a writer to actually, you know, writing. It looks pretty well put together and is no doubt inspiring, but I tucked it back on the shelf after a quick perusal.
What really caught my eyes was the title. See, I Bang Keys. Meaning, I type really hard. People at the library glare at me. My guy complains I type too loudly, especially when he's trying to sleep. Fast (Don't all novelists type quickly? I mean, what other choice is there?) and hard enough to wear the numbers off my keyboard.
The space bar on my laptop is worn like the dipping steps of a medieval castle. The "M" and "N" are gone, and the "E" is well on its way.
I blame my father's old Olympia typewriter.
After all, that's the machine I learned to type on. Sure, the high school had IBM Selectrics, but at home was the Olympia in its gunmetal gray case. I would sit in front of the television and watch reruns of Star Trek while banging out the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog over and over and over, trying to build up speed. Typing out bits of dialog from the TV, trying to keep up, whacking at the stiff keys like I was killing snakes.
Don't ask me why. I don't know. I was driven by little alphabet demons.
Still am, apparently.
One of the guys in my writing group says he's the same way. He learned how to type on an old, obstinate typewriter, and now he beats his laptop damn near to death. So there are at least two of us.