Uncategorized | February 01, 2004

Glancing about my room tonight, I am reminded of the night my father brought home a typewriter. I was eight and he presented the typewriter to me with little introduction, he simply supposed it would be, “Something to practice all those spelling words on.” I quickly grew accustomed to the different functions, the margin settings, the back space and correction feature. I would type short stories (short paragraphs) to my parents, drawing pictures on them and binding them with yarn.

I was thinking about this tonight, glancing at my recent accumulation of typewriters. I have seven. Seven typewriters, two fully functioning ones, five with various problems. They range from the late fifties mini traveling ones to the early nineties briefcase version. This assortment began to pile up a year ago, when the typewriter I had used for many years gave in. Relatives and consignment shops made sure I had replacements, the obvious problem however–that most of these typewriters didn’t work. Typewriters are expensive to fix, the one typewriter mechanic in Columbia charges $50 an hour, not including parts. So recently, I have found myself taking them apart, undoing the tiny screws and belts to find the problem, and been appropriately dubbed in my house as amateur mechanic.

This typewriter interest arose when I found writer’s block on the laptop. All of this is to say that writer’s block is temporarily relieved with switching mediums. Running out of ideas on microsoft word, opened up new creative doors for me on the typewriter or the notebook, the graph paper or the lunch bag. It is the clicking and movement of metal press contacting the page that has inspired my writing. Mistakes are less easily corrected, giving way to greater levels of experimentation and thoughtful ideas. I had relied so heavily on coming to the computer with ideas, that I found myself locked up, inhibited, relying more on the backspace than the space bar. The typewriter has since forced me to move past the mistakes and open up posibilities otherwise crowded by the buzz of the pc. Getting away from the computer has improved my writing and relieved the barren desperation that is writer’s block.

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