In another life, when I was much younger (well, all right then, back in the dark ages if you must know), I was gifted with a Smith Corona portable typewriter contained within a leather case. It came along with a couple of LP recordings filled with typing lessons.
El Pee? What the hell is that?
Shortly thereafter, I hied off to my grandfather’s, ostensibly to teach myself to type. I’m certain it drove him to the drink listening to those lessons, hour after hour, ad nauseam. I would have been twelve, or perhaps thirteen, a mere shadow of my more modern self.
I beat beat beat those keys into submission all through high skool, where I was encouraged to write by a forlorn English teacher with nothing to do and nowhere to go, banished as she was to a lunch-bucket town in the middle of nowhere, man.
Life got in the way, as it usually does, when I, along with several confreres of like mind, skipped town, never to be seen or heard from again. I traveled the world, crossed borders – some voluntarily, others by force of personality or some such – and generally nailed down an easy life free from the confines of dumbassery but for the inhumanity of man I encountered and may have participated in during my grand tour of sand and sun.
It was a good life. It more than paid the bills and then some. I was able to stash the cash until gross dumbassery finally caught up to me in the form of workplace morons. Eventually, in the mid-90s, I made good by means of a temporary escape. I had the good fortune to end up in an adobe in the middle of a desert oasis. Imagine my delight when I discovered it to be populated by photo shoots, wardrobe people, models, various and sundry hangers-on, and a waitress named Annette.
It was during that interlude that I deigned to take up with writing again. Cheap trash, I called it – the writing, not the women. It was good practice (the writing), though, and much needed. Everything I had learned in my early years was long gone, disappeared like a Mexican university student during a corruption protest.
I started at the beginning, willing myself to learn all over again.
Five years later, I hung up on the job and hit the road. For six years I rode North America and the parts of Mexico I liked. I had adventures. I hung out with the occasional diner waitress. I cleared my conscience. I lived life again.
I’ve been writing now for twenty years. I’m still learning. I still churn out cheap trash. Except now, there’s a small difference. People are buying it – in what I consider to be substantial quantities. Go figure.
So, I packed up one more time and moved closer to a known civilization. I am living happily ever after. I still pound away at a keyboard far removed from that first Smith Corona, alone in a room with my imagination. I still manage to hang out in diners while keeping an eye open for the occasional waitress.
Ain’t life grand?