Wednesday, June 23

Qwerty blues

From Garrison Keillor's The Writer's Almanac for June 23rd:

"It was on this day in 1868 that the typewriter was patented, by Christopher Sholes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There had been typewriters before, but they weren't very practical — it took longer to type a letter than to write it by hand. In 1873, he sold the patent to the Remington Arms Co., and they brought out the Remington Model 1 in 1874."

QWERT blues
Why you I owe?
Why you I owe?
Stare and flail as I may,
that’s what my typewriter keeps
asking me:
Y - U - I - O ?
© Lorenzo — Alchemist’s Pillow


  1. I learned to type in high school on an IBM Selectric typewriter (circa 1972) with nothing on the keys, no letters, numbers or symbols. So I learned them as I learned piano keys, which also did not have C C# D D# E etc marked on them.

    These are beautiful old typewriters in the photos. You and I are the same age, so I don't think you learned on one of these. :D

    My laptop does stare back at me, like your typewriter, with impertinence.

  2. Y U I O? Nimble fingers would say for the same reason that I O U 2.

  3. Ruth: My mom worked as a secretary, so she taught me rather young, probably at around the age of 8 or so. I guess that is not young now for keyboard skills these days, but it seemed precocious to me at the time.

    I still remember the drills: "The quick brown fox jumped over the fence". Wish I had learned piano as well.

    Bonnie: Yeah, but who's got nimble fingers?

  4. Actually, I wrote today's silly Qwerty Blues way back when I was in high school (just after the dawn of time). I wanted to post something on Saint John's Eve, which is today, quite a magical night here in Spain, and one that has brought me many treasures in the past, but the words were just not flowing, and I remembered the qwerty blues I penned decades ago when in a similar funk.

  5. Beautiful pieces of design the old typwriters. I rmember learning to type or trying too to the strains of classicla music in the background to try and help with the rhythm. Clunky old ex-pool typwriters and very heavy. I was awful at typing this was before I was diagnoised with dyslexia, no wonder I wouldn't see Y U I O, I'd probably have seen U Y O I lol

  6. Clever.
    i'd never looked at the rest of the top line and now it'll be hard to forget.

  7. ha. nicely done. there is something about typing on a typewriter...we had to learn in HS as well...there is still an old one in my parents basement.

  8. My grandfather had a lovely old Royal typewriter that I used to play around on. Gosh, I wonder what happened to that old thing. I would love to have it now.

  9. loved the feel of the keys on a manual typewriter--I had a red portable Olivetti in high school courtesy of my grandmother who gave me an even cooler electric when I went off to college--how I hated that hummm as I tried to wrestle the words for term papers down through my fingertips not to mention the corrections that were always found two paragraphs this day I prefer a keyboard --no laptop keys or imaginary keys on a screen --let me hear the click and feel the motion of the keys--sheer magic!

  10. Hahah! Like it, but I don't think you need that last line.


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