I haven’t the time, and you haven’t the patience to hear me wax poetically in regards to this obsolete writing utensil.
So I shall keep it brief with a story of love and loss, and how we do not always want what we suppose we want.
I adored the typewriter. I always have. They are beautiful, sleek and gorgeous, and dare I say, if the delicious twinge in my heart returns my breath, sexy.
It is what makes writing romantic. The machines loud cracking of machine gun fire. The tinging bell. The manual return of the carriage. It sounds like industry. It sounds like work. It sounds like something is really, really happening. You see so many of your favorite authors pounding away at them. Stephen King writing his enormous tomes of the late 70s and early 80s. Jack Kerouac and his famous scroll. Creating so much work that he did didn’t even wish to stop to change paper.
That is work. That is creativity. That’s how things are done. So I got a typewriter. A late 40s, Royal Quiet DeLuxe. It was gorgeous. It was in pristine condition. I loved it. I bought brand new ribbons, and a. ream of paper. I was going to write something good on this, very good.
I did not.
It sat there.
Alone. Forgotten. Untouched. Unloved. Unwanted.
It is not like I indulged an affair. I did not write on anything. Oh sure a few furtive attempts were made at the short story. Always very heavy, very literary. Nothing came of them.
It did not keep me from gazing upon pornography. Other typewriters. Ones with fuller rounder edges. I even discovered company that made them with USB attachments. So It was like you were typing on the typewriter, but also on a computer. The best of both words.
You could buy one already made, for a hefty price, or you could buy a kit to fashion your own. My Royal balked at this idea of cosmetic surgery, and was downright abhorrent of the suggestion of a threeway with an iPad.
I began to blame Royal for my failure to write. Isn’t that just like a man? I would regularly peruse the instruction manual that came with her originally, it too in pristine condition. Its pages filled with photographs of a beautiful young woman of the 1940s. Her lovely, long scarlet nails gently caressing the machine and demonstrating what love and attention could help you produce.
I married human woman and moved to a new apartment in a new town. I attempted to pull out the typewriter and go at it again. Marriage having given me the stability and structure to work on things. I was typing away when I got the notification on my phone that Robin Williams had died.
The fact that the phone could so easily distract is a pretty fair indication that our moments of passion were not strong enough to hold either of our interests. We both left frustrated and in search of a cigarette.
The typewriter and its case followed us to our next home. One day after years of neglect I went to her, only to find that the spacebar was broken. My inability to be a caring lover had left my machine broken.
I abandoned her again. “In sickness and in health” meaning nothing to me.
I attempted to pull her out and fix her several months ago. But having no mechanical aptitude whatsoever, I only succeeded in breaking the carriage return.
When we moved again in April, I decided to set her free.
I had begun to write seriously in the intervening years. My process, you didn’t ask for this of course, but all writers think they are destined for greatness and want to polish the talk show exposition of their labors before its time, is different. I tend to let idea gestate in the mind. A few notes are scribbled. Random bits of melody. Then I write longhand. I prefer that. The pen and notebook are kinder to me than any other medium. Then I turn to the computer for the first draft, and then notes from friends, and then scribbled notes on paper, and then the finish on the computer.
I gave Royal to my brother-in-law. He is mechanical inclined and said he could fix what was broken on her. Physically and emotionally.
He lives an hour from us.
70 minutes after his departure I received a text with a video, declaring that she was as good as new.
Love heals all.
Thank you for listening.