In all the annals of object porn, there are no objects that incite greater lust in me than typewriters.
Typing on a computer is a tactile experience, of course it is, but kind of a not-very-tactile tactile experience. I don’t take much pleasure in it altho’ I’m well inured to it by now. That being said, it probably won’t come as any big surprise if I tell you that I love typewriters with big lovey loves and have eleven of those beauties in my house. And you know, I adore them as aesthetic objects — I like looking at machines, in general — but I’m also yummed up with crazy big yums by the physical labour involved in making words on a typewriter. When something comes too easily, it isn’t that satisfying and I honestly believe the end result isn’t the thing it should be, or could be. Writing on a typewriter involves my body in word-making in a more muscular way than writing on a computer keyboard does and I like that; I value making an effort. Working on a typewriter is also good for self-discipline because you have to give much greater consideration to the words you choose, correction on a typewriter being quite a pain in the ass and all. Correction on a computer is the easiest thing in the the world and discourages care and precision. I really think that. In fact, I mostly think typing on a computer just fosters sloppiness and the second-rate, because there’s no real need to choose your words carefully. And once you get used to writing uncarefully, you begin to edit uncarefully, and once that happens, well, you just tend to barf it all up and put it out there in the world, ill-formed and unmitigated.
I like typing, lots and loads, and also I like writing in pencil. I much prefer pencil to pen because HELLO! ERASING! Erasing = a do-over and do-overs? Pretty freakin’ rare in life. Pretty freakin’ rare and pretty freakin’ sweet when you get ‘em. And crossing out a line of text written in pen just isn’t the same. Crossing out leaves a trail, an ugly mark on the page. It isn’t a do-over. That being said, writing with a pen on a piece of paper is still a way more delectable experience than processing words via a computer. And how.
Sadly, I neither type nor write by hand much any more. The ubiquity of the internet means written communication mostly has to happen via computer keyboard. And the computer keyboard detracts from the bigness and the breadth of the sensory experience of making words happen. It feels antiseptic. There’s no real percussive yay, like there is when you use a typewriter. There’s no smooth-paper hand-drag, like there is when you write with a pencil or pen. There’s not much resistance; you don’t have to hammer at the keys, the way you do on a typewriter. There’s no beautiful silver-grey path to make or follow, like there is when you make words with a pencil. And honestly, I just love the notion of writing being, if not a full-body experience, a more-body experience. More body involvement makes for better word-making. And there aren’t too many things I want in life more than really fucking incandescent word-making. Not many things at all.