30Hz Bl-g On Writing

Typewriter Experiment #1: Getting to Know You

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As my first experiment in typing on a typewriter I just wanted to get used to the keyboard and do a little bit of key pounding. I must admit this feels much like heavy lifting compared to typing on a computer. My hand has already begun to cramp from using long lost muscles that I perhaps never had. Another thing is remembering to hit a capital letter at the beginning of each sentence. Thanks auto-type. I couldn’t even remember to capitalize the first letter in a sentence about capitalizing the first letter. Also did everyone type with three fingers or was every pinky and ring finger so beefy that fatigue and/or strength never factored in typing a single letter? I’m picturing legions of secretaries and housewives with Hulk Hogan forearms because as we know from Mad Men no male ever typed a damn thing in his life.

My next concern (and damn you capital letter) is the typing required to hit the keys. If I were to type at my standard rate (established on a computer, clearly, as it has taken ten minutes to get to this point in the rumble), I would perpetually suffer stuck or tangled keys. If I, however, use a modified hunt and peck with my middle and in [LINE BREAK] dex fingers (0ops user error on line shift)… What was  Isaying? Oh yeah… the modified hunt and peck actually allows the keys enough time to return before the subsequent key arm raises. In a way I have regressed or perhaps de-evolved along with my method of composition.

I must admit there is something inexplicably cathartic about pounding away at these manual keys. Tired arms, fingers, hands and all. I doubt it has anything to do with burning calories. It’s a proximity to the document. A blood, sweat and tears kind of feeling. Writing is normally such a passive, sedentary, isolated activity. by typing on this Cro-Magnon machine (and by Cro-Magnon I mean Italy in the late 1960s) I have created a more narrow distance between me and the larger-than-life – iconic – creators of a more glorious literary past. I think most immediately of my inspirations: Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Nate West (did anyone call him Nate?). But of course thousands and such have composed on this beast. Cormac McCarthy still writes on this very same model Olivetti (edit: actually one model later). As I conclude this first ever page I would like to commend myself on the increasing lucidity of my document. Also where the hell is the # button for “one?”




In honor of my Italian-made Olivetti, I wanted to choose an Italian artist from the 1960s to soundtrack my rumble. And due to my recent binge on 1980s Synesthesia Nostalgia, I can help but think of Fellini, Anita Ekberg and the music of his favorite composer: Nino Rota. Here’s the finale to my favorite Fellini film.

By jdp

Pittsburgh-based freelance writer, movie watcher and vinyl crate digger. I've interviewed Tom Hanks and James Bond and it was all downhill from there.

Typewriter Experiment #1: Getting to Know You

by jdp time to read: 2 min