Monday, July 9, 2012

Why I Use Typewriters

Admittedly, my typewriter use of late has been lackluster.  Still, I noted in a much earlier post that I write letters and other things by hand while doing much of my typing with a typewriter.  My next post will be about why I hand-write as much as I do, but I want to talk here about why I use a typewriter.  I want to remind my precious readers that, as always, what I say here isn't really about what I think but points to the larger question of how one should go about becoming successful in a chosen career path.  What I think and do only serve as the avenues for writing about the bigger picture, though of course I do want my readers to find me incredibly flashy and impressive.  And, indeed, my choice to use a typewriter has a lot to do with how to become successful.

I'm not sure modern typewriters really count.  I mean, if you can hit the "delete" key and the typewriter deletes, is that really what we think of when we imagine typewriters?  Probably not.  As a young boy I was amazed to find out, when working for a lawyer, that typewriters are still produced except now with deleting capabilities.  Of course, even those typewriters with a delete key cannot simply delete and erase ink as if it never existed: pressing delete essentially says to the typewriter, "use white out, please."  The key on the typewriter might as well be "white out" rather than "delete."  Oh well, I suppose the people producing these typewriters can't be as precise or logical as I am.  But since these silly deleting typewriters aren't what we imagine when we think of typewriters, let's try to forget that they have ever seen the light of day.

I have two typewriters in my possession, though I really only use one.  The oldest of the two typewriters is very old indeed.  If I remember correctly, it is a pre-1900 baby.  Quite frankly I don't care if I don't remember correctly, either, because I want the typewriter to be that old--I'd be very upset if someone told me that it was made later than that.  At the same time, I'd be very upset with myself if I ever tried to seriously use this old typewriter with any regularity.  Unfortunately my other typewriter is a modern typewriter, but thankfully it lacks any delete key, at least when it's only being used as a traditional typewriter.  It actually has the ability to hook up to a screen and type onto an older type of computer to save on a floppy disk... what the heck is a floppy disk?  Anyway, needless to say, I don't and won't use the screen because I don't want any temptation to hit delete and watch the words disappear. 

You may have read before that what it means to be a writer is that I write.  I write whenever I can, not when I feel inspired or "when I feel like it."  And the key to writing is to let the words spill out unashamed of the quality.  The more one writes the better one gets at writing.  If I were constantly concerned with the quality then I'd basically not write anything and then not get any better, and then I'd be forced to worry about the quality because it wouldn't be very good, then I'd not write much of anything, and then I'd not get any better.  You see, typewriters are key because the keys tell the story.  Once you press a key the letter stays, the words stay, the sentences stay and never leave.  That's how you improve and learn, by practice.  Afterwards whatever you write with a typewriter can be edited and transformed into a much better piece of work, so you get the best of both worlds: quick improvement and advancement in the world of writing by, indeed, writing, and a good work.  Using a delete key would only produce a good work, maybe.

So there lies the key to success: if you want to be good at something, do that particular thing.  Don't worry about being good at whatever it is, just do it, as Nike would tell us.  Eventually, after lots of time and practice, you can decide whether the skill that you have exhibited is enough for you to justify continuing to seek your passion.  Granted, if it's your passion, you should do everything you can to make your dreams come true, but there are clearly situations that call for re-evaluation.  But just do it, that's the secret, and that's what typewriters facilitate.

Anyone who knows me might be disappointed that I have written a post about typewriters and have left out my penchant for tradition.  To those folk I apologize, but my love for tradition will be a big part of my next post about why I write letters by hand.  Until next time.

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