It eats ribbons. The carriage slips randomly. Its clanking aggravates the dogs. And its ugly-as-shit green finish won’t win any prizes or tender a high resale value. But she’s mine and I love ‘er just the same.
At first, I thought that purchasing the above typewriter, a Royal Quiet Deluxe, would en-kindle the nascent spark for writing that I’ve been harboring for a few years. And, in many ways, expected and unexpected, it did just that. Unlike a laptop, I can’t sit down at it and unwittingly find myself off in a world of puking cats and dancing babies. No, Regina (that’s her name), won’t tolerate such nonsense. In today’s world, she sticks out like a woman wearing a poodle skirt and horn-rimmed glasses. She has presence. She sits there and taunts me with her singular purpose. Have I locked her in the closet on occasion for this? Maybe. But it wasn’t because she didn’t deserve it.
Regina forces me to consider what I am going to say well in advance because once the key is hit, it’s there forever. No amount of x’s will fix what should have been filtered out before the hammer struck the page. I re-read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft recently and he said some of the best advice he received was to edit out at least 1/3 of the first draft. If I can do that mentally, then it feels less like I’m cutting off body parts when it comes time to polish the first draft.
There is also something satisfying about seeing the stack of pages grow from day to day. It’s tangible progress. I can pick up the stack of papers, flip through them, tap them against the desk, and feel the heft. You can’t do that shiz with a laptop. Well, you can, but your DVD drive could stop working.
There’s something innately satisfying about sitting in my office with a cup of coffee or a whiskey and hammering out page after page. Each clack and smudge of ink signalling a step closer to conclusion. Not every page makes it into the stack but even throwing paper into the trash can is far more satisfying then hitting the delete key.