Ode to the Typewriter

Two things brought nostalgic thoughts of typewriters to my mind recently.  The first was a friend’s post on Facebook about an iPad app that mimics the appearance and sound of a typewriter, and the second was the article below about a library system’s last remaning typewriter.  I wonder if it says something about the worth of a typewriter that access to the one they have left is kept under supervised lock and key.  Or maybe it just says something about the state of humanity that people can’t be trusted.

My last typewriter was a Smith and Corona electric.  Not as fancy as the one in the article below which has a memory cache, but a trusty friend nevertheless.  Unfortunately, my husband got custody of Smith during the divorce.  I had to waive my rights in return for custody of my IBM PC Junior.  Even that far back it was clear the future belonged to computers.  I suspect that instead of being engaged for a useful purpose, the machine ended up on top of a sacrificial bonfire scourging all evidence left behind which proved I once existed.

Whatever happened to it, I hope its last days were filled with fond memories of reams and reams of paper rolled beneath its platen, and the loving hammer of fingers tapping out the first novel I ever wrote as an adult.  I hope it bore the scars of paper dust and carbon smudges proudly.

The typewriter by many is mourned
With keys and platen well worn
Its clickity clack
The return handle zap
Will be heard by writers no more

The metallic clatter the Satellite 40’s daisy wheel makes when it strikes the platen definitely seems too loud for a library, and even too loud for a high-tech informational retrieval center, but it sure is satisfying. If your thoughts come slowly but steadily, the Satellite 40 lends a sense of craftsmanship to your work, as if you’re building arguments as sturdy and elegant as a redwood deck. If inspiration strikes and your thoughts come more quickly, the Satellite 40 explodes with the sound of your mental firework

via In a Library, San Francisco’s Last Public Typewriter – NYTimes.com.

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