By Russel D McLean
Since we moved into the Gothic Monstrosity last year, we have tweaked and adjusted the interior in many ways. The Literary Critic has gone to town painting and restoring furniture while I have mostly got out the way and focussed on the office. Its now finally getting to where we want it, but while the office was almost complete, something was missing.
And now its here.
A typewriter. From what I can tell this one's from somewhere around '53-'57 and still in great working order. I have in fact now put in a piece of paper with the opening paragraph to The Big Sleep typed up. And it works. It is the missing piece of the puzzle for me. Suddenly the room feels right. And in the few days since adding that last piece, my productivity seems to have increased.
I think there's something to be said for mascots and tokens. I think that some things can help to focus the mind and serve as a reminder of what you're attempting to achieve. I learned to write on my dad's old typewriter. Having one of my own even if its purely decorative reminds me of why I'm still doing this in a way. Its a connection to what's important to me about writing. Even the years in which the typewriter was created matters, too. I had expected to find a piece of old junk that didn't work. When I picked up that beauty (at a bargain price, too) I felt better about the fact that it worked, that it was in perfect condition. Its too loud, of course, to use regularly, and I'm very happy typing at a computer, but I think there's something quite beautiful about typewriters of that era; a kind of slick hope for the future that has vanished from design.
Or maybe I'm just mad. Maybe I'm just filled with a strange nostalgia for the past. Might explain why I also have a vinyl player, why most of my music is from the 60s and 70s, long before I was born.
All writers have habits and tokens and things they keep around when writing. For me, the typewriter is something I've yearned to have for a long time and now that its here, I feel like my writing space is complete; other things will be window dressing but I now have something there that reminds me, every day, where I've come from and what I'm hoping to achieve.