Sunday is when we do beginnings, taking a look at the start of a Peter Abrahams novel, including those written under the Spencer Quinn moniker™. Because of the recent very nice piece in Medium on my Echo Falls trilogy for younger readers, let’s go with the start of Into the Dark, book 3.

“Brucie?” said Jill Monteiro, director of the Prescott Players. “Could we have that line again?”
“‘Do not vorry, my little Gretel,'” Bruce said. “‘All vill be vell.'”
Jill gazed at him for a moment, her dark eyes thoughtful. “That would be a German accent?”
“Jawohl, Kommandant,” said Brucie.

4 Comments on “Beginnings”

  1. German. Don’t remind me. The two German souvenir plates I bought and waited for for so long arrived broken because the seller did not pack them as I specifically requested. I am not happy.

    Meanwhile, it is National Typewriter day. I’m sure OFA uses either a yellow legal pad with pencil or pen or the word processing software on a laptop. Tom Hanks is a huge fan of the typewriter and has quite a collection. I only have two, the Smith Corona Electric I bought in high school with my summer paychecks from my first job and a vintage manual portable Italian typewriter in case I inherited from my late Aunt. Both still in working condition the last time I checked. At the time you could still get ribbons for the Italian one so bought classic black ink fabric. Not sure if I can get the cartridges for the Smith Corona any more. You could change the ribbons easily and I had black fabric for drafts and a single use black film for the final because it looked much better. It also had a white correcting film. I am convinced that typewriter increased my GPA in High School and college as a typewritten paper looked better than hand written and the teachers appreciated the ease of reading. I was forced to take typing the summer before 8th grade (when summer school was voluntary and had electives.) Learned on a very old manual Royal. I am a touch typist and it has stood me well. Never had a problem getting temporary work in the summer for a little extra cash because not only could I type I could also file. Who doesn’t know the alphabet? Well, apparently a lot of the temporaries (anyone remember Thomas Temporaries?) could neither type nor file so I always had summer work if I wanted it.

    Isaac Asimov used a manual typewriter, although I’m not sure it was a Royal. I have an autographed post card from him that is typed. He denied my request for a third “I, Robot” book and then ten years later he wrote it.

  2. ML — you and I may be two of the few remaining people around who can touch type. I actually took a typing course at a business school when I was about 15 (I didn’t take it at regular school because I was afraid I might flunk; I have fat fingers). It has certainly served me well ever since.

    1. They call it keyboarding now and it is part of the state standards in my state. I used an online tutorial program with my 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. It wasn’t required in 3rd grade but they wanted to and I figured it wouldn’t hurt for them to get a head start. They could also access it at home for those that wanted to practice more. I actually had a few students pass 40 wpm. More were in the 20-25 wpm range which is still an accomplishment for an elementary school student and better than many adults.

      It is a very useful skill that is often ignored. I can’t stand watching cashiers enter my information with two fingers, hunting and pecking and then making mistakes.

      You and I learned on manual typewriters. Do you remember getting a finger stuck between keys or typing so fast the keys all got stuck together? I could outtype the manuals so when I got an electric I was ecstatic. Soon I could outtype it too. When word processors and computers came along I had to slow down. It wasn’t until the mid to late 90s when I couldn’t outtype the computers. I think my top speeds were something like 75-80 wpm. I’m slower now because I don’t spell as well as I used to. Typos. Probably a bit of arthritis too.

      But I’ll bet I can still get a job as a temp if I wanted to.

Leave a Reply