I haven’t used a typewriter for donkey years. I was listening to a podcast on the plane and an author was saying- he didn’t use a computer. He used an old typewriter. He was asked if the slowness of the process bothered him. His response was interesting. He doesn’t write to be fast. He writes to enjoy and be a part of the process.
Using the typewriter, no matter how fast you are, requires retyping of pages. This author believed that by the very process of retyping his pages until satisfied, that the actual act of typing pressed into him the words, and made him a part of the finished writing.
I wonder, have we lost something when we gained speed with the computer. I love how easy it is to spell check, I hate with a passion how easy it is to forget to turn off the spell checker and find out one has written –I red the book. I love the ability of turning on speech to hear what the writing sounds like when read by another person. It’s also a great writing tool for catching odd bits here and there. Do we when we write, bash along at a great speed, and by doing so lose a bit of the essence of our writing like that author believed? I wonder.
I don’t think I can go back to using the typewriter. I miss the sound of it, but it’s too hard to give up all the bangs and whistles the computer offers. I can bring my laptop anywhere with me. ( I know Orwell carried his typewriter, so did Hemingway, but seriously would that fit into my purse?)
How do you feel about the typewriter? Is it a relic from the past? Are you like me, who once had a young visitor to my study, and upon seeing my typewriter asked, what’s that? When I explained what it did, wide-eyed the response was…gosh, you’re really old!