Portrait of the Artist as a Man
October 12, 2014


My fascination with typewriters stared young. My mother, wanting to encourage the creative writing I was already doing, retreived a typewriter from her mother’s basement. I remember it feeling enormous when she handed it to me. I could barely lift it.

I don’t remember much otherwise. It was in a powder blue suitcase with beige keys and metal casing. It made a delightful shuk shuk shuk sound. The keys slotted back in place easily. It was the first time I was satisfied with putting ink on paper. It wasn’t handwriting but it was still tactile and pleasant to feel and legible.

It didn’t write much with it though. I never get the hang of writing first then editing afterward with a pen. I was a perfectionist child and didn’t understand the creative process. Clearly the great poets of the world would simple dash our perfect couplet after perfect couplet.

If I couldn’t do the same, I wasn’t doing it right. And it’s why I couldn’t bring myself to write on the typewriter.

I feared the misplaced letter and avoided that fear on the computer. I taught myself to stare at a blank page and write and rewrite a phrase in my head until it was perfect them put it on the page. With a computer, I could fix the typos, the regular transpositions I create from typing one-handed. No one could see them. No one could see that I wasn’t spectacular.


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