The days have been hot and humid, not the best for writing. Today I had a huge dose of inspiration. I played with E.B. White’s Underwood typewriter. Really.
I was so very careful. Of course I didn’t hit a key. What I did was even better; the keys on the typewriter are slightly indented and round, perfect for a finger. I fingered the keys, running the tips of my fingers in circles on each key. I was soaking in all the words E.B. White had typed.
This typewriter typed “some pig”, “terrific”, and many more wonderful words. Did I find those letter keys? T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C? Of course I did. Can you imagine the feeling of touching the words E.B. White wrote?
E.B. White read aloud Charlotte’s Web. His original recording, chapter by chapter, was made on record albums in a boxed set. I had no idea.
I opened the box and read the labels on the albums. Each record side has two or more chapters. This boxed set was a gift from E.B. White to his grand niece. He is Uncle Andy to her.
“Jennie, you’re crying.”
“I guess I am.”
“He wrote me a letter when he sent the recording.”
“Do you see where he started to sign it E.B. and then crossed it out, remembering it was for his grand niece? Will you read the letter aloud to me?”
I noticed the signature. Very cool! And, I read the letter aloud. Gifted writers use few words to convey many thoughts. This letter is a case in point. And, when was the last time you used the word ‘dispirited’? What a lovely letter to Lindsay from her Uncle Andy.
When a new school year begins, I start chapter reading on ‘day one’. Every year the first book I read is Charlotte’s Web. It is always the favorite. I have written many blog posts on Charlotte’s Web and on reading aloud. This is the most important thing I do in teaching. Having the opportunity to touch E.B. White today inspires me to write. Oh, does it ever! It also gets me excited for the new school year and reading aloud Charlotte’s Web.