One of my favorite things to do as a young boy was sit next to my mom by the typewriter and watch her type my stories. I would hand write all kinds of stories and poems when I was young; in fact, I can still remember the very first poem I ever wrote. When I was in the first grade, my best friend moved away and I wrote this poem for him:You’re going away, I wish you could stay; I will miss you, In every way.
My mom typed it up the night before I gave it to him.
We spent so much time by the typewriter; I can still hear her coaching me on my sentences. “‘Once there was an ostrich named Oscar.’ Stop, put a Period there, Sammy.” She would go on, “He was a very fast bird, Comma, able to beat all of the other animals, Period.” She would make my passive sentences active and help me to describe my nouns with simple and clear adjectives.
When she wasn’t coaching my writing, she would read Robert Frost to me:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
I remember hearing The Road Not Taken for the first time and the anxiety I felt for the poet’s decision as he stood before the two roads; yet I also felt his triumph as Frost concluded his poem:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Eventually, I learned how to type for myself. And for the most part, I know how to use commas and periods. But the thought that I can’t help but linger on is this: whose dreams are you typing down on paper? In a very real sense, my mom gave substance to my thoughts. She transferred the elementary scribbling of a boy onto paper, bringing his dreams into reality.
Are you doing that for anyone? Is anyone doing that for you? It’s not just about stories and typewriters, of course, but about birthing the dreams of another. The surest way to frustrate your dreams is to isolate yourself from people who can take you places. The surest way to quench the life of another is to neglect to fan his or her dreams to life.
Don’t be afraid to ask someone to type up your stories; and don’t be too busy to do the same for another.
© Samuel Kee, 2011