12. August 2018

Dear Mister Typewriter

Some years ago, I watched the movie ‘The Words’. Parts of it showed a writer back in the 50s who was writing his story about the love of his life and the loss of his child. No more details in case that you want to still watch it.

So, the author wrote the story on a typewriter. What made me think was that a decades ago authors used typewriters for their masterpieces. There was neither a PC, nor Word, nor a spell checker that shows typos or allows adding details. Things which I heavy rely on!

I liked the idea of writing without ‘thinking’ or correcting. 2-Years-in-the-past Me took out his laptop and checked some offers of vintage typewriters.

When I received the typewriter, a Brother Deluxe 1510,  I inspected every part of it in detail. I could see most keys of a normal keyboard from today. The shift key lifted big parts of the typewriter, the tab key shifted the tab stop metal pins to make the carriage stop. 100% mechanical – that’s impressive! 

Typing the first words was playing around, then I wanted to do some serious writing. However, I hesitated to start because I was afraid of not writing a perfect sentence. It took some time to get used to it.

For instance, this is a letter that I wrote during the Writing Retreat 2018 (yeah, Meetup jazz). Sitting with the typewriter on my lap in the garden was not the most comfortable thing, but it worked out. I had no plan, so I took the first thoughts off the top of my head.

It is not perfect. There are some typos and grammar mistakes in it. But surprisingly I’ve written a complete page. During the peer review, the letter was greeted with giggles and we talked about writing on a PC vs. pen & paper or typewriter. It is indeed a different world.

Let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading,
Martin

Dear Mister Typewriter. Written in 2018.

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1 Response

  1. Robin Lombaert says:

    While modern technology is a marvel, it’s surprising how ingrained certain aspects from “older versions” of technology are. Say, the shift button literally SHIFTS the entire typewriter setting to write in upper case. There’s no reason why we should still call that button the “shift” button today on a pc. Yet we do.

    Goes to show how slow humans are adapting old terminology to the modern status and apply linguistic rules consistently, rather than traditionally… 😉

    Nice write-up, enjoyed that!

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