I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I started taking the stories I’d crammed into notebooks and typing them out. I can remember hunting and pecking on my mother’s typewriter, and that heavy clack clack clack sound that got faster and louder as I got better at finding the keys. I loved that sound. But it was at least junior high before I learned how to type and got a machine of my own.
For Christmas one year my parents bought me a Canon Starwriter, and let me tell you, for young writer me, it was the coolest thing ever. Three lines of text at a time on a three-inch black and white screen. There was no clack clack clacking going on, but it had a built-in spellchecker. A spellchecker, I tell you! If someone had handed me a ray gun, I would not have been more impressed. I had that machine for a long time, typed most of my high school English papers and a lot of short stories on it.
It was a huge step up when I got my first desktop computer, but a little part of me misses that Starwriter. I wish I’d kept it. Using it made me feel like a professional for the first time.