Regarding My Addiction to the Delete Key

February 28, 2012 | 34 comments

{Written on Grandma’s typewriter. Raw and real.}

{Friend — I promise that I will not subject you to a series of posts from the typewriter. But … I do hope this little exercise helps all of us see that life and writing are full of goofy mistakes and awkward first steps. Perhaps that fact can reawaken us to the truth that there is beauty in our imperfections.}

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by | February 28, 2012 | 34 comments


  1. laura

    I. Love. You. I will be linking up tomorrow. Always a day behind…do they have a catch up key on that typewriter of yours?

    • dukeslee

      Oh, Laura. I look forward to your submission. You share such beauty at your place.

      Catch-up key. 🙂 I like that.

  2. Ann

    Raw and real = scary! But freeing, and I’m so thankful for His grace. I am also thankful for you.

    • dukeslee

      Hello sweet friend! I’m so glad to see you here in the comment box. This was a little weird to write like that — in a sort of warts-and-all experiment. But somehow freeing…

      Really glad you stopped by, Ann.

  3. Janet

    Love this. Raw and real.

    When I was in high school they had just gotten their first electric typewriter. I took typing class (not keyboarding). We rotated from non-electric typewriter to the next typewriter until we got to the 2 electric typewriters. It was so exciting when our turns came.

    No spell-check. No highlight and delete. No copy and paste. Raw and real!!

    So well said Jen. We tend to put on our masks and go about our business.

    It is so wonderful to be real once in awhile.

    Keep on keeping on.

    • dukeslee

      My daughters have been having a ball with this typewriter. My husband first brought home a non-electric, but they had trouble pushing down the keys. This one is easier. But it’s not very good at hiding mistakes. 🙂

      Thanks for being here, Janet.

  4. Candy

    I love this. Was just going through a drawer full of greeting cards I’ve kept – my mom typed them all on her MANUAL typewriter! Little scriptures, cut with pinking sheers and carefully double-sticky taped to the insides of the cards. I’ve saved every one of them. I have no idea how her arthritic fingers hits those keys.

    Oh, and there are rarely mistakes. Maybe she did do-overs, but I have a feeling it comes as natural to her as the delete key does to us. What precious memories she has created with that old thing, typed straight from the heart and the Word.

    • dukeslee

      How lovely, Candy. What a treasure those cards would be.

  5. Tara

    I love the second taped on section…story of my life 🙂

    • dukeslee

      LOL! Yep. Me, too. I couldn’t believe how many things went wrong with that post. I almost didn’t publish! But then, I would have missed the whole point, right? Sheesh! Ever-learning, and re-learning …

  6. Dolly

    such a powerful post in your typed and mistyped words…love to you 🙂 hope to link up tomorrow…by His grace 🙂

    • dukeslee

      Yay, Dolly! I always enjoy reading your words. Thanks for being here. Love you back.

  7. Jennifer C

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this! How often we do this with life… we edit what we share with others, put on the mask to cover over our rawness (guilty!). How liberating it would be to expose our realness, if only… Thank you for your bravery 🙂

  8. Christina

    I have my husbands grandmothers old typewriter. How much has changed! But what will always be the same is that we will always make mistakes. Now it’s just easier and quicker to hide them or get rid of them. So thankful for grace and that I don’t have to get everything right because He did. Thanks for another great post!

  9. Shelly Miller

    Love your creativity and your heart. Thanks for being real, it gives me the courage to be that way too.

  10. David Rupert

    This brought a smile to my face. Boy, I miss my typewriter!

    I got a new laptop. Love it. Fast. Pretty. Smooth. But the delete key is in an awkward place. I should have looked for that first. Who knew?

  11. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    I am trying to remember the warning words in my upper division “Writing Process” class, circa 1987, about the losses to literary scholarship that the delete key would cause.

    The concept was that the draft, as we know it, is no more. When we’re done deleting and revising, we have just one as-good-as-we-can-make-it version, rather than a marked-up, x’d-out, scribbled-upon record of revisions.

    And the conclusion was that we’d lose something, in losing the drafts.

  12. Sylvia R

    I got a lot of chuckles from this, but I certainly DON’T miss my old typewriter!

    One of God’s gifts for which I often express deep gratitude is the computer as word processor! The one course I came so close to failing in high school was a “simple and basic,” gently graded pass-fail required typing class for the college-bound. My mother could pound out (correct) text on a typewriter like lightning, but I didn’t inherit that gene! I think I have dyslexic fingers. I use the delete key like others do the space bar! (Just used it…)

    But what fun it was to read this post! It left me considering what I hide from others, but also God’s grace as a delete key. The consequences of my errors still happen, but someday all that mess gets erased for good, and then I don’t even need a delete key anymore! Yay!

  13. Joe Pote

    I love it! What a great tool to show how we edit the parts of our lives and personality that we want people to see!

    Yes, there is a reason that writing is a preferred form of communication for me. It allows me time to think thru what I want to say, to reread, proof, edit, and generally fix up my words.

    In speaking I don’t have those opportunities and am much more likely to say something I didn’t intend.

    Then again…writing does not by any means make me immune to miscommunication…

    Thanks for the revealing post!

  14. Jody Collins

    Jennifer–what a great metaphor for life….who knew–a typewriter. So inspired!

  15. Megan Willome

    You: precious.

    I, too, am an obsessive editor (of my own stuff and the stuff they send me to edit). I edit my edits. I want to put out the best product possible. But one-on-one, yes I want raw & real.

  16. joan

    Count me in. I love this thought provoking post. I am learning to let the edited pieces of my life hit the cutting room floor, and then sweep them out. And the edited pieces are then in the past. I receive God’s new mercies and allow His grace to cover all things.

  17. Michelle

    Thank you…there was something about this visual that was especially poignant for me. Beautiful, messy woman that I am today.

  18. Katie @ Katie Without Restrictions

    What beautiful words ~ thank you for your transparency! I’m so grateful that I came across your blog for the first time today.

  19. Shaunie Friday

    This is so good Jennifer! I was just talking to my mom about learning to type on a manual typewriter and how hard we tried not to make mistakes because it was such a hassle to correct them. I do love the ease of editing in our digital world, but your illustration is so rich and so good at highlighting our desire to look like we have it all together all the time. Thank you for the wonderful reminder to take the goofy missteps in stride and to see them as part of a creative process.

  20. Diana Trautwein

    I LOVE this – but I gotta say – I am really, REALLY glad not to have to use a typewriter any more. Listen, I’m so old (and we were so poor, on a school-teacher’s salary) that I didn’t even own a typewriter until I bought one for my kids to use in high school. When I was at UCLA, I’d go down in the basement of Royce Hall and pay by the hour to use one of their rentals. Other things I do not miss? Carbon paper, ditto sheets, Gestetner machines. Personally, I believe photo-copiers and word processors are gifts direct from the hand of God.

    But I do get your ‘edited life’ reaction. Learning to be vulnerable in print is tough, much tougher than in real life. So your illustration is perfect. Tell those girls of yours to enjoy their pioneer experience, pretending they lived in the ‘olden days.’ :>)

  21. Danelle

    This theme is running through many posts I have read this morning. Talk about “God Bumps”. Wow.
    I stand convicted. The “edited life” runs wild in the cybersphere. It is hard to move past it, yes?
    How I love you. I do. 🙂

  22. Jennifer Ferguson

    For sure, there have been times when I’ve prettied up a post. Times, I’ve even prettied up a situation. But reading your words, it makes me proud of the times that I just been raw and real. It seems like those times that I have been afraid to hit the publish button (but still did it) are the times that I am most astounded by His grace and glory working through other people.

    You are so creative, BTW!

  23. Simply Darlene

    In December my son and I blew the dust off a typewriter/word processor machine I used as a senior in high school. The correction ribbon fell off and rolled into the guts of the thing. Then the ink ribbon gizmo took a dive.

    I like your combo of typewritten words and computer-generated doodads and arrows… 😉


  24. emily wierenga

    you’re one cool lady. i love this. there’s something so genuine, so beautiful, for all of its smudging and mistakes, about a typewriter.

  25. Connie@raise your eyes

    For many years, I used an old Underwood typewriter (sans electricity). Had to hit those keys hard!

    In the 80’s we finally bought an electric, then a computer (IBM & DOS)

    When I first used a computer, I was like Ma Kettle leaving the farm. Yahoody! Copy/Paste!!! Delete!!!

  26. Connie@raise your eyes

    Oh, forgot to say that my adult kids tell me I still hit these computer keys wayyyy too hard.

  27. Jennifer@Adam's Rib

    If that’s all the delete key you need, I think you’re doing pretty well! It’s not only the delete key I need, but the “reorganize” key, the “too much information” key, and the “save it for another post” key.

  28. Sandra Heska King

    This made me a little weepy. My mom was a speed typist. She taught me to type on a manual and had some great stories about the early days. I loved slapping that carriage return lever and the bell. I typed my first submitted pieces on my Selectric–with carbons.

    An awesome lesson here, friend. Awesome!



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