October 8, 2008
I’ve recently added a typewriter to my meager collection of writing-producing materials, which now includes a typewriter, a large pile of scrap paper, a box of pens and pencils that may or may not still contain ink or lead, and I suppose I must also include a computer.
When I began asking around for any people willing to donate me old manual typewriters, I received such questions as “What are you going to do with one of those things?”, “Are your fingers really that strong?”, and the infamous “Why do you need a typewriter when you have a computer?”
The answer to all these questions is easy: too many old things are much cooler than modern developments that have replaced them. A typewriter (especially for the dream-driven writer) is one of these things.
I’m indebted to Freecycle, my new favorite website, for directing typewriter-desiring me toward a friendly person who lives nearby and owned a manual typewriter that hadn’t felt a finger across its keys for 20 years. With a function as cool as it sounds, Freecycle joins together groups of people who like free things. Once you join a local group, you can easily post items that you’re looking to acquire or post things that you have and you don’t need and would prefer to donate to someone who will use it. I actually got so many typewriter offers that I had to sift through them. Freecycle has also been useful for providing my housemates with milkcrates and fabric scraps. It’s quite the website that can connect us in ways we would never find otherwise and give us the chance to share.
So now I spend rainy days sitting on my porch hammering down letters, making keystrokes loud enough for all the passersby to hear and give me a quick questioning glance, and watching each letter swing up and hit the paper as it slowly moves across. I’ve found the need to keep a pen nearby to cross out mistakes, but so far I’ve found my typewriter to be quite conducive to decent writing and good perspectives of the world.