This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.
Today I’m pulled to the typewriter. It’s been a day of writing copy, on a laptop, for another client. And I wonder why I feel so compelled to it. Haven’t I had enough of writing for the day?
The typewriter has become a symbol of the modern day hipster, but strip away the stereotype, focus on the form, and the typewriter re-emerges as the tool for the modern man.
When I write on a typewriter, I feel something. Like I’m doing something with my own hands. Like there’s something at stake if I mess up. Like a blacksmith stroking a hammer to an anvil. Because there is no delete key on a typewriter. Write a wrong word and you can’t take it back. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. You have to own your words and keep going.
Metal. Ink. Paper. Three core elements to writing on a typewriter.
For a man like me, who’s unlikely to ever embellish in a world of craftsmanship — of working with my own hands to make something of use — this is as close as I can get. And if something breaks, I can fix it.
Hammer down the key. Metal rod hits ink. The word appears. The impression of the self. Undignified… no, dignified. Dignified, raw, unpolished, and true. You can’t get that on a laptop with a delete key.
It’s all so polished today. And in a world where we all want to, at least, appear to be polished; where there are societal pressures to be polished, it’s a relief to return to a more analogue way of expression. And that is what I feel today, writing this… relief.
Metal. Ink. Paper.
Imprints on a page. Imprints of a man who wanted to leave a mark. Who wanted something he could call his own.
Unpolished. Unedited. Untouched by ego.
All him. All beautiful. All dignified.
Under the pressure of his own fingers. Hammering away onto paper, with metal, into the summer afternoon to the clanking sound of a typewriter.
And damn, it sounds good.
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