Sunday, May 22, 2011
The One on Typewriters
(Click on photo to be redirected to its origins.)
I'm taking this break from Geometry and the Middle Ages and Oedipus Rex to comment on something I read in the paper today.
What it said was that, recently, the last typewriter factory closed its doors.
I am of the generation that, when sat before a typewriter, regards it as an antique piece, regards it with amusement. Pressing its keys is funny, seeing its results exiting. It isn't a common, everyday thing, it's a piece of wonder from times begone.
And now, I found out that they are now officially dead. If you were to sell your typewriter, any typewriter, you could officially call it "vintage" on Ebay. They are an obsolete product, something that isn't "used" anymore.
But there is something about this "obsolete" product that makes said adjective somewhat sacrilegious.
Weren't some of the greates novels written on it's "obsolete" keys? Didn't Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Neruda, Pearl S. Buck, and other geniuses work on these "obsolete" machines? Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger, Steinbeck... can you imagine Margaret Mitchell pounding away at a Mac, sweating out over Word? And what if Word had suddenly "unexpectedly quit?" Then what, no sunset in the South scene?
And yet, our current generation has the daring to call them "obsolete."
All I know is that if I were to write a book, or write anything at all of substance, I wouldn't want to do it on a computer. In front of the glaring screen, with the malliable production and the untangible creation. I wouldn't be able to write anything of substance with the distractions that a computer can provide.
So what does this mean? That the era of the books of substance has died... with the typewriter?
Because there is something not just nostalgic about a typewriter, but also faintly real, understandable, material, that gives us not an illusion of work, but a concrete fact of it.
Many times I feel like I was born in the wrong era.
Today was another one of those times.
If you have a typewriter to sell, contact me, please.
P.S. We could call THIS the temporary solution. It's marvellous.