The joy of touch (typing)

I first learnt how to touch type on an electric typewriter in high school. In fact I actually took typing as a subject in years 8 and 9 (is it even offered any more?). Before then I’d applied the old ‘one finger at a time, while watching the keys’ style of typewriting on an old manual machine at home.

My typing teacher at school (Mrs. Barker) was completely terrifying, so perhaps it was a combination of learned skill and fear which taught me how to properly ‘use the force’ and type with fingers at ready in the QWERTY position and eyes OFF the keyboard. Once someone in my class couldn’t handle the amount of corrections made on her typing work, and she ended up running out of class crying. After calming herself down, she returned to the classroom … but Mrs. Barker wouldn’t let her off so easy.

When one of my friends took her work up to be corrected, Mrs. Barker very loudly called out across the class (even though her words were really for the benefit of one) – ‘See, trying NOT crying … that’s what you should do’ … *AWKWARD*!

Anyway, I’m eternally gratefully for my touch typing skill – it has served me countless times over the years and makes everything so much quicker and more efficient. I love the interplay between visualising the letters with your mind and feeling the keys go to work beneath your fingers.

There is music in the tapping of the keys and in the silences left between, and it is from that rhythm that I take much comfort and smile at fond memories. Do you take pleasure in touch typing too? Or have you come up with something better?


  1. Gabrielle Bryden

    That brings back the memories. I think mine wasn’t even an electric typewriter that I started with. We used to use white out for mistakes – thank goodness for computers. People wrote whole books on a manual typewriter – what a nightmare. But touch typing is great – I feel sorry for those who can’t.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – Oh my!! How could I forget the white out we used to use for typing mistakes … did you also use correction tape as well? That seemed like a HUGE step forward in technology … now typewriters in general are just so very quaint.

      I couldn’t imagine writing a book on a manual typewriter … thank goodness the process of writing is made much easier for us with computers. I’d be so paranoid using a typewriter about only having the one copy, though I guess there would have been a carbon backup most of the time?

      I love being able to touch type too … it’s such a wonderful skill and most be the skill I most often use! 🙂

      1. Gabrielle Bryden

        No I didn’t use the correction tape! My Dad wrote history books and I remember the yucky carbon paper (you get it all over your hands if your not careful) and the tap tap of the keyboard everymorning when he did most of his writing at home.

        1. tracey (Post author)

          Hi Gabrielle – Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how far technology has come in making the move from typewriters to computers … I feel so spoilt at the convenience of the electronic world! 🙂

          Well as a writer of history books, I can imagine you have many memories of your dad’s keyboarding efforts (I can’t imagine history books would ever be all that short!). 🙂

  2. Lisa

    Oh, my recent excursion to the Berkshires had quite nice touches, especially those cold ‘n’ crisp Bellini cocktails at sundown on the porch at the Red Lion Inn located in Stockbridge. I’ve visited Lenox a handful of times and with each stay its distinctive manner seems to enrobe my senses just a hint more.

    I’m not too sure whether I owned a Smith Corona or Royal typewriter in those days. Hmm, brings me back to a vintage inspired world I’d very much like to get closer to again. I could see myself quite easily casting off this heavily present logarithmically induced philosophy, for quite eves filled with flickering flames, pen to paper and untold literary pages. Well yes, I do love a world filled with technological nostalgia. Things like a cream-colored dial telephone, a radio that talks NPR language, a Bang & Olufsen turntable playing something evocative, and the late fashions of the Côte d’Azur.

    Ah yes, I can just hear those typewriter keys right now, happily tapping away within its melodic yet hesitant musical heart within the stillness of the night.

    PS. Must get back to all these antique nouveautés!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Lisa – Enjoying a lovely cool drink at sundown is a very civilised way to ‘refresh’ at the end of a day … and such a break provides time to prepare oneself for more relaxing or more socialising in the evening ahead. Once more you conjure up delightful images with your words … 🙂

      Yes that vintage-inspired world calls me constantly … and its voice seems to be growing in strength by the day, sometimes there is nothing one can do other than to listen to such practical suggestions. There are so many benefits to simplifying and taking inspiration from classic designs, and perhaps part of the appeal for me is that sense of romanticism that I often associate with times writing by pen and paper in a world reliant on light from the sun or the candle. Your words echo with visions of a world filled with style and elegance … just lovely!

      Take care my dear, and thank you – once more you’ve inspired … xx

  3. Rellacafa

    Oh, I love touch typing! I learnt using a program in IT class that was ever so technologically advanced in all of its black and green, commodore 64 looking glory. I remember studying which fingers are “supposed” to touch which keys and being tested…oh, the good old days. It’s nice when something they made you do at school comes in real use!!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Caf – Haha … I USED EXACTLY THE SAME PROGRAM as you in ‘IT class’ in high school … I didn’t remember that fact until receiving your comment … oh yes, those black and green screens – I remember them well now … they seemed so incredibly modern at the time.

      I totally agree that it’s nice to be able to call on a real skill learnt at school within the ‘real world’ … so much else of what I learnt in those years I’ve surely forgotten …

  4. Rol

    Sadly, I never learned to type properly. It’s all done with one finger (right index) and one on the shift key. Very fast, not many mistakes, but I know there are far better ways. I’m probably way too old to learn to do it properly now though.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Rol – I’m in awe of anyone that can type as you do with two fingers … I’m not sure whether there’s an age limit on learning touch typing, but anyway I figure that you’ve come up with an awesome typing method that works for you – don’t bother trying to fix something that isn’t broken! 🙂

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