There’s something about the look of those stark black letters on white cotton paper being pulled from the typewriter. There’s no way to duplicate it. You can’t photocopy it and achieve the same effect. You can’t use your computer because no font in the world can duplicate it. The indentation of the letters perfectly in line with the ink. Each letter its own. Different from one typewriter to the next. The subtle twist from symbol to symbol. It makes each page a piece of art.
But that’s nothing compared to the thrill of sitting in front of an old typewriter tapping the keys and watching words form thoughts, poems, tales or letters.
When I was young my parents had an old adding machine. It seemed ancient to me. No electricity. It worked purely on its own with poking and prodding from the user. I always longed for it to type letters and words instead of numbers and currency. I would close my eyes and feel the keys beneath my fingertips and dream as I tapped at them of sitting at a desk in a quiet room composing poems, a great novel or a love letter. It soothed my soul and made me dream.
I didn’t take quite the same pleasure at using the modern typewriter we had. The look of the words upon the page pleased me, as did hitting return and watching the typewriter return to its margin. But it was never the same.
Yesterday while antique browsing with a friend and our kids we came across an old typewriter. I eyed it calmly. Cooed at it from a far. Smiled and drifted before strolling over to lay my hands lightly upon the keys. Old feelings and memories rushed over me and I felt a surge of need. A desire to sit near a sunlit window or in a night darkened room and write on the old beast of a machine. The kids soon joined me and I stepped aside to watch them poke at the keys with delight.
The magic of that old machine still holds so much sway over me. I’ve never had my own so I’ve never known for sure if it would serve me as a muse or a distraction. There’s a pull though. Something that screams from deep inside to write that way. As with so many other things in my life I’ve never been sure if I should give in.
5 thoughts on “the typewritten word…”
Old typewriters rock it hard.
We still have the adding machine and the old upper case only SP typewriter. If you want it you can have it.
Antique typewriters completely rule. I’d been looking for one for ages, and I finally found an old Underwood–thanks to a friend who worked in an office supply store–that allowed me to scratch that particular itch.
You may find it worth your while to check out Ace, up in St. Johns. They have an amazing array of cool stuff.
Mom: I’d love the adding machine. Not so much the typewriter. It’s not what I’m looking for.
Sybil: You know it. Clearly. You know, because you said it and all that.
I’ve always loved a typewriter…