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A Writer’s Melody (c)

Scratch, scratch.


Tap. Tap.

Scratch, scratch.

Swish, swish.

Zip, zip, zip.

Clackety, clack, clack.



Crinkle, crinkle.



A writer’s melody from years gone by.

Quill against parchment.

The dip of pen in ink.

The tap of quill against glass.

The swish of the drying agent on paper.

The placement of paper in the old typewriter.

The clack of keys pressed down hard.

The ringing bell that says you’ve reached the end.

The zip as you push the typewriter bar back.

The crinkle, swish, and ping of crumpled paper

as it flies into the metal wastebasket.


Sometimes I miss those old writing sounds, although I must admit I never wrote with a dip pen, only an ink pen. There is something solid and comforting about the feel of paper and pen beneath my hands. The way the ink rolls from the pen feeds my muse as the loops and swirls of cursive writing flow down the page. Pen and paper are still my favorite medium for creating poetry. Obliterating a bad line of verse with scribbled lines provides an emotional release you don’t get with backspacing. The ching of the typewriter bell signaling I’ve finished one more line or one more page makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something. The wastebasket overflowing with scrunched paper balls shows I’ve been working hard, maybe not successfully, but hard.

Today, like many other writers, I use a computer. I don’t hear the accompanying scratch of pen to paper as earlier writers did, a song of sorts to feed their muse. My writer’s song is the nearly soundless beat of keys being depressed, the soft click of the mouse, and the hum of the computer’s fan providing the accompaniment to my progress of the written word. I print each day’s work out to let me see my progress because a scrolling screen doesn’t’ provide as much satisfaction as a stack of paper, and because I don’t want to risk losing a day’s work to a computer crash.

As I think about the changes that have affected how we create books today, I wonder what melody future writers will hear as they labor over their “babies”. Will the written word be dictated instead of typed?  We can do that today, if one can speak clearly enough. My computer speech program gives me a mishmash of words that make no sense and often have me rolling on the floor in laughter, so it’s still easier to type. Or perhaps we will have advanced to the point where we merely think a sentence and it’s placed on a disc or flash drive or computer hard drive. Maybe there will be a 3-D printer that writers use to create their books. Program the printer and replicate your thoughts in a bound volume. Perhaps we will have an embedded chip in our brain that transfers our thoughts, corrects our mistakes, creates the perfect manuscript in the process, and then stores it on some storage facility in a virtual cloud ready to be formatted straight onto an E-book or I Phone, or computer watch, or directly to the brain of a waiting reader!

But then what fun would that be? No rewrites. No polishing to find that perfect word. No discovering those misplaced modifiers or homophones that make us howl with laughter or cower in embarrassment. And if the book goes directly to brain of waiting readers there’d be no book signings! Bummer.

I don’t know about you, but I like the old-fashioned way of writing. Give me a pen and paper, a typewriter, or a computer keyboard any old day. I’d rather create and recreate and recreate some more.  I love the writer’s melody of clacking keys and scratching of pen on paper. I even like the ping of rejected pages against the trash can. Call me crazy. But a writer has to draw the line somewhere.

No pun intended.

What about you? What writer’s melody do you hear when you create?