Writing Gifts by Bob Krech

I’ve always liked the tools of writing and I’ve received quite a few gifts over the years that were just that. Writing tools. My wife still buys me writing books as gifts as well as books I want to read. All tools for a writer. But my most memorable writing gifts were the real physical tools of the task.

The first writing gifts I remember getting were yellow ledger pads and pencils my father would bring home for me from his office. They were much more interesting to me than the big-lined school paper or 3-hole punched notebook paper we had to buy for school. Yellow ledger pads seemed more “adult,” more “professional.” I saw people on TV, newspaper reporters and lawyers, doing real “business,” real writing on these kinds of pads. I

When I was twelve my father brought me home another writing gift from the office. A Royal manual typewriter. Manual was the operative word. It was like a manual transmission versus an automatic transmission in a car. You had to have pretty good finger strength, but it was very impressive when your words came out in that Times font almost like in a real book. I was all hunt and peck with two fingers, but I quickly learned where all the keys were. Along with this I was given a ream of typing paper so I could really go to town. I wrote my first big school report on that machine. It was about Al Capp, the creator of the Lil’ Abner cartoon strip.

Soon after, I received a Christmas gift of a Cross pen and pencil set.  Gold tone in a silk lined black velvet case. These instruments were only for special writing occasions like signing the back of birthday checks or the bottom of official letters I would write to people like Mickey Mantle or the company that failed to send me the stamps I requested.

The Royal lasted me all through high school where I took a typing class and learned how to use all my fingers. In my junior year in college I finally got the gift of the ultimate writing machine; an IBM Selectric typewriter. It too was used, but it required no special pressure on the keys. You just touched them and bam! There was a letter on the page. It had a ball you could change with different fonts. Many a term paper and short story was written on that baby. That particular gift kept me going through school, work, and my first published fiction, till I bought my first used Mac in 1987.  A big gift for myself. It’s been Mac’s ever since. I wonder what will be next?

But, maybe the best writing gifts of all though, are those less physical writing tools; time, support, and encouragement. Many thanks to all of my family, friends, editors, and fellow writers for many years of those!


  1. Bob,
    I still have my Smith Carona portable manual typewriter. That was a gift to remember!

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  3. Ah, well I remember the manual typewriter I took to college, and the "corasable" paper I used to type on it - and the joy of getting my IBM Selectric with the correction tape right there so handy. Thanks for this trip down memory lane.

  4. My first typewriter that saw me through school and university was a Smith Corona. Wrote my first short stories on it, too. Then I had an IBM Selectric.

  5. Last year, I gave myself the gift of Scrivener software. LOVE that thing...


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