The second floor of Hodges library was abuzz Monday, Oct. 22, with the sounds of clicking typewriters and English professors prompting students to “write on the floor.” The excitement spurred off of the English department and Hodges Library staff celebrating the fourth annual National Day on Writing.
“Today is about recognizing the whole range of writing,” said Kirsten Benson, Director of Composition for the UT English Department, “From books to Twitter, to text, to Facebook.”
The inclusion of all facets of writing has been the central theme of the National Day on Writing since its establishment by the National Council of Teachers of English in 2009. Volunteers from both the library staff and the English department spent the morning, and early afternoon, encouraging passerbys to “write on the floor,” check out a variety of student publications, write postcards and to try out two vintage typewriters.
Tina Bentrue, a library associate in Interim Library Services, could not help grinning as she watched a student nervously hit the keys to the Corona Portable typewriter.
“This one belonged to my father,” said the library associate. “This is the machine I first learned to type on in the sixties, before electric typewriters were even invented.”
Through the donations and time of people like Benson and Bentrue, educators are able to encourage students to write in fun and interesting ways. Donating her prized typewriter was a no-brainer for Bentrue, however, because she believes writing, especially for fun, is one of the most important things someone can do.
“(Writing) is crucial,” said Bentrue, the 1970 winner of UT’s own Knickerbocker Prize in poetry of nontraditional forms. “It’s life itself. How can you not write? Everyone should write.”