Ok, I confess that the title whilst intriguing, has used more than a little literary licence but there is an element of truth behind it. You see, I’m using the past as I write this article on a 1968 Remington typewriter. I find that it makes me think in a completely different way from how I approach my work and write compared to when I am using my laptop.
It’s also liberating in that it is just me, my mind, and this green mechanical machine. There are no emails, no YouTube or any other distractions at play. Its all so very productive however ultimately technology does have to come into play at some point in order that you can read my musings on why a typewriter and the 1960’s is still relevant today. Before I explain how I bring the new and the old together, I’d like to explain where my modern obsession comes from.
I’ve always loved the sound of the key clacking and clicking away with fingers stabbing at keys as if trying to push the letters into the desk. Over the years I considered buying one many time and then one day I found myself watching an amazing documentary ‘California Typewriter’. On the surface it seemed like such a silly idea, a documentary about a typewriter shop but as I had some spare time, I gave it a go.
As I mentioned above, it’s about a typewriter repair shop in, you guessed it, California, where over a series of interviews and character observations we haveexplained to us the history of the typewriter, the shop, it’s owner and how it struggles to survive in the days of modern technology. We see included within the narrative, several segments with Tom Hanks who funded the documentary, explaining his own love for simple mechanical devices, his collection of typewriters, and before I knew it, it had drawn me in, and I was hooked. I saw a kinship with Tom and the collectors, not just in the inanimate object sat on a desk or a shelf, but in the what, the why’s and the emotions they drew from their obsession.
I love the simplicity of the typewriter and how, if you make a mistake, you either overtype or simply accept it and move on. It’s a metaphor for life, it gives us an example of what matters and how to handle our little mistakes. You see, I’m dyslexic and getting it right first time can be a bit of an obsession and more than a distraction from the subject at hand however with a typewriter, the obsession gets dropped and I simply accept that I will make mistakes and that I can correct them later.
I need to pause for a second as I’m writing this, you see I’ve paused to take the picture you see with this article so that you can see this this is not just a story. My passion is real and my sentiments true. I am a true believer in time-travel through a typewriter keyboard.
Now, I want others to read this and hopefully get you, the reader, interested in giving it a go. To do that I have to explain how I go from the 1960’s and jump to the modern day. It’s surprisingly easy.
I photograph my page(s) when I am done and send it to myself using email before dropping that image into OneNote. After giving OneNote time to read the picture, I right click on the image and select ‘Copy Text from Picture’ before pasting it into word before correcting it before sharing this weird little article with you, my reader. It’s that easy to bring the old and the new together. Time travel is achieved through email and OneNote. Surprised? I was.
So, time travel may be stretching things, but can we use old technology productively? We can indeed. So, if you find yourself writing on a regular basis and want to take away the distractions, give it a go. It’s easier than you think and, a lot cheaper than you might think as well. This typewriter that I am using to write this article and shown in the picture, cost me 20 pounds. If it’s that cheap, what’s not to like? After all, what do you have to lose when you potentially have something to gain?
Now, where do I get my next typewriter from?
And you, are you up for a little bit of time travel with me?