The Typewriter

February 22, 2017

He was not the type of writer to create his works in the local buzzing coffee shop. He was the type of writer, however, to sit outside libraries and write Iliad-worthy works down into a small leather notebook. Writers in his era tended to be modern, with their flimsy plastic processing machines with autocorrect and spell check on their laps and their double shot of espresso, no cream, all sugar non-fat latte’s in their non-typing hand. Instead, he was the type of writer who sat quietly and observed, because it took real talent to know how to spell incredulous. He was tall, lanky to be precise. His face was chiseled and hardened by his past, which was haunted by memories of unfulfilled desires and a false childhood- every writer’s dream really. He was straight-faced, and often showed no emotion. His lips were as thin as his lanky body, and his smile was nevertheless absent. His face was as colorless as his overly-described mahogany colored hair, softly combed and gelled over due to its overgrown crew-cut style. His eyes, deep set and tired looking, were the color of the black-flecked deep brown of pecan shells. His roman nose flared when he became flustered, usually when observing modern writers type away on their machines.

He walked up the steps of the library, standing tall, shoulders back, and taking large steps as he progressed, hitting each step with almost precise rhythm, one two, one two.  His fists clenched at his sides revealed a sense of business about him, that this type of writer was one not impressed with this era’s advances. He straightened his jacket before entering, a gesture that revealed a nervous air about him, coupled with his melancholic energy that hung over the room as he entered, causing everyone to turn and look at him in his long brown suit accompanied by a black tie, black italian leather shoes, and clubmaster optics. He was a writer, and not only did he dress the part, but his soul, much older than his actual age of 26, reflected his profession as well. If you had met him, you would think he harbored the intelligence and speak of an 80 year old man who served two terms in the Air Force and lived a life of humble attributes. However, if you looked at him, you would simply think he was not a man of his time. Dressing as if he was his father, a man of the 1960s, and talking like his grandfather, a man of the 1930s.

“Clark?” The old bag behind the counter said, catching his attention, “What are you going to check out today?”. She was a fairly sweet woman, but talk too loud and she could become the devil in two seconds flat. He ignored her and walked towards the bulletin they kept on the library wall, a small, unimportant ad catching the light in his frames, causing him to turn swiftly and focus. “Vintage Royal Typewriter. Working and has been cleaned in very good condition and highly collectible. Saint Rita’s thrift shop, Fairfax, CA. Open 10-4 pm. If interested can arrange other hours. $99.”

He believed living in the past did not kill the future, but rather brought a sense of nostalgia to one, for a reenactment of history was a reenactment of the future. History repeats itself. He looked a this ad and contemplated whether he could spend $99 of his hard-earned money on this machine when it could betray him in the future. Then, he looked upon it once more. He could write so much more on this machine than he could by hand. There was no spell check or autocorrect, only keys onto which his thoughts would pour. He reached for the telephone and struck the deal, $99 for someone’s old typewriter, a bulky and inconvenient mess, but a treasure to him.

Weeks followed, and Clark looked down at his typewriter. I need to write something he thought. It was hard, not feeling a pen in his hand and paper underneath him.  Just do it he thought, and so he began:



1942 and my eyes were still blue
As I wrote on my typewriter
And my words stayed true
My novels and stories and poems flowed through
My fingers that grazed the keys
One two, one two
The letters flew rapid onto the crisp paper
And they stuck to form sentences and created a vapor
A vapor that stuck to the nadir of my nose
That smelled of sweet sandalwood and ink I suppose
But then the times changed and the typewriter passed
1992 and the typewriter didn't last
The sweet device that helped voice my mind
Turned into a sleek computer
Of no imagination or kind
While typewriters came in many colors and sizes
These computers only came in white bulky vises
They pulled the youth in
And created a new sin
Over and under the keys were unheard
But I still used my typewriter
The kids thought it was absurd
I still typed and typed until the masterpiece was complete
And on my typewriter I wrote my final defeat
2002 and my eyes were now grey
For the ink from my typewriter stained my eyes a dark clay
My typewriter my typewriter
A glorious device
That made each key develop precise
Well now I would say goodbye to my only friend
My humble typewriter, this is the end

He was the type of writer to write about things he loved, even if once rejected by another.

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