Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Typewriters writing a new chapter

Well, here's a bit of a turnup. My son Jon points out to me that the latest edition of the official magazine of the UK Museum of Computing contains an article about a revival of interest in the good old typewriter.

It seems that there are a number of 20- and 30-somethings who feel stifled by modern technology. And so when it comes time to locate their inner novelist, or just write letters, they like to hear the sound of hammering keys and the ding of a bell when they reach the end of a line.

One Mariah Pospisil, 22, of Los Altos, California, is quoted to the effect that 'It just seems like the computer and printer are too much of an intermediary between me and my writings.'

Hey, I favour a quill pen myself.

Anyway, more than two thirds of the customers at the California Typewriter Co. in Berkeley are in their 20s and 30s. Robert Thompson, a professor at Syracuse University and 'popular culture expert', says that the young people who choose typewriters are very careful about what they write. 'It doesn't seem as disposable and casual.'

And when things aren't going well, Heather Folsom, 28, says that she can rip the paper from the machine and crumple it up. 'I find that really satisfying,' she says.

Well, that's a positive way of thinking about it.

Actually this article looks suspiciously like a load of old cobblers put together in a press release to plug a typewriter shop. But never mind.

3 comments:

Ivan Prokopchuk said...

There's something here.
Most of the good novels of the last thiry years have been produced on typewriters, those McLuhan movables that by some application, actually produce inky copy that you can see and revise from, the pick-pluck-and-pray method of Kiplinguesque composition, the erasers, the gumming up of works as you jam eraser and paper parings into your Underwood, the worke-over paragraphs, the laboured production of one sentence, and after two hours,reaizing the thought process was all wrong, and even worse, that you lead sentence was moonshine.
A typewritten product is somehow more compelling, pointed, magical, largely because of what you had left out, and the work is finally good because you had cut, cut, cut.The finished product does not eem as disposable and casual.
I find as I get older that the thrown-away thesaurus and dictionary now have to be retrieved, because I have forgotten a lot of what I knew, even basic stuff, like is it "quandary" or "quandry", do you pronounce it kor-allary or corollary?
I am going back if only for short stories alone. Typewritten product is somehow slicker, crisper.
Ivan

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I read the magazine UK Museum of Computing, and I was surprised because the articles are very interesting.