It was different, writing on a typewriter: the clatter and the noise, the resistance of the old keys forced her to really put some effort into each letter. She imagined she was Ernest Hemingway clicking away old memories, but the urge to drown herself in alcohol became too great to handle; so she switched over to fantasies of being Stephen King writing horror stories in Maine, but found herself breaking sugar cubes into lines and sucking them up with a straw. The bloody nose fit the part, but no actual writing was done.
She decided the typewriter was an annoying machine, but the paper didn’t hurt her eyes, and how else was she going to stay focused on her book? The book by the way was the one that so far consisted of just the line “Chapter 1” in the center of the first page, printed out from her old computer.
Before buying the clanging box of word stamps she had tried everything to stay focused. Unfortunately no amount of website blocking, phone-locking, and coffee-shop visiting lead her to a single word in her word processor. So she did the next best thing: the tried and true method of fifteen-hundred dollars down the hole and taking a hammer to her laptop (she put it in the closet; hammers, she found, were too heavy). She was to be a writer, but without the convenience of spellcheck and fast researching. She was old fashioned and didn’t need that stuff, she was satisfied with the loud clicking and that annoying bell she would inevitably reach once she had actually completed her first sentence- at least it wasn’t the painful silence of a pen to paper, not to mention the carpal tunnel of laptop keyboards.
Click, click, click
“This is the story of Meliss-” no, “Alyssa-” What’s a good last name? “Alyssa Breadwick” sure! God this is going great, might as well take a break then!
She went to the kitchen, proud of her work, of taking the great leap forward. A name! And a sentence! That is one of the highest glass ceilings for a story to break! She poured herself a cup of coffee and grabbed the last scone from the fridge, both leftovers from yesterday’s Starbucks run. All this progress made her excited, ready to be the next Rowling or Meyer. She would be rich and famous and that’s all there was to it. And why shouldn’t she be? She’d read the Harry Potter book, the one with the stone, till about chapter three. And saw all the Twilight movies back in middle school, why couldn’t she do that too? She knew just as much about love and the world as any woman, anyone who didn’t believe in her was just jealous of her natural born talent.
The scone was stale and empty as the apartment. She decided that the place was like Steve Job’s house! So she was just like him, a creator and inventor who would make the greatest new product and create the greatest worlds and become famous! She could see it, famous and rich with a bathtub and a TV in every room.
So she sat there; thinking of this and all the wonderful things she will have done. She thought of all the wealth she will have obtained, all the fans she will have garnered and nourished with her stories. She would have a mansion with butlers who only wore bow-ties and Speedos, and bodyguards would keep even the sexiest men away from her. She will have been so powerful, having used the keys of the typewriter as the voice of the oppressed, and the needy. She would have spoken words that many will argue about for generations. She will have been prolific.
All this as she sipped her coffee in an empty apartment.
Boy was she tired from all the work she will have done, but she figured she ought to have done more. She would learn seventeen languages by the time she was thirty, and have a PhD in thermonuclear physics. She would change the world with her theories and mathematical prowess, and make millions translating documents written by obscure foreigners.
She took another bite from the cold dry scone- blueberry, if you were wondering.
After all that which will be done, she would run for president of the United States, yeah, and create a world just like the utopias she imagined she will have created for Alyssa Breadwick: the perfect girl who will accomplish anything. She will be just like Alyssa, skilled in an art to the point of magic. But her art will have been in the typewriter, which sat alone on her desk ready to become what it will have been.
She got up, and figured a little more typing would be necessary, so she got to it, and sat in front of her typewriter.
“Breadwick. She was a beautiful girl, with long”…”brown hair that was plain and unassuming unless you liked that sort of thing.” Ohh this was getting good, “Her eyes were the color of milk chocolate that had just been taken from the wrapper.”
the first dinging had occured in what will have been the best novel ever written by a young adult novelist- the best debut novel that will have ever been thought of!
“She didn’t like her hair, because it curled in some bits and was straight in others, kind of like the flowers that grow outside of some people’s houses-”
“some summers but not all of them. But one boy thought her hair was the best, his name was-”What would be a good name for a character in what will have been the book of centuries?
She wasn’t sure, but she had now written more than she had ever written in her life, aside from school essays. It was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with her typewriter, whom she named Alyssa Breadwick after the first character she had ever created. She stood up and made her way into the bedroom and thought of the boy that loved Alyssa’s hair more than anything. She thought of how he will love Alyssa, how he will treat her the way every girl wants to be treated. She will have a man just like him someday, won by her charm and magnificent skills as a human being.
And all the while that typewriter, with its clatter and noise, would be there ready to stamp letters to paper for the future of humanity. It would always be there waiting for her and working for her eternally. It would give her the power to change the world by creating worlds. She thought as she laid in her bed of how wonderful it would be when she will have changed the desk at which the typewriter sits. First to a house desk, then to an office desk, then to a mansion desk, then to a palace desk.
These and all good things she will have done thanks to that typewriter; with which she will have done so much, that she soon found that she never did at all.
This story was originally supposed to be a one page short, as it came from the same book of story prompts that inspired them. However, I came to the end of the page and thought, “I’m not done yet.” There are often moments where I feel a lot like this aspiring writer- not that I’m so full of potential that I’ll never use, and maybe that’s just a part of being in your twenties, but full of imagined potential that I only think I’m willing to work on. This terrifies me, and though I have written some gruesome stuff, this story by far terrifies me the most. So to all of you who will have done so much, know that you will have done nothing if you do not start now.
An interesting book about taking advantage of your twenties can be found here