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08 Dec

Welcome to my new blog. I have had a blog before but it was more of a diary and there will hopefully be very little of that here. This is my writing journal. Observations about life are appropriate of course, and little fiction from time to time, but this is a writers blog.

I don’t want to predict too much where it’s going at this early stage, but suffice to say I’ve decided it’s going to be a writers blog and leave it at that.

Ah the clack of keys how I miss it

Ah the clack of keys how I miss it

What’s on my mind? Typewriters. Being of an age when I started out writing that a typewriter was the way you wrote something, I realised today I actually miss the process of writing with a typewriter. The sheer clunky mechanicalness of the manual typewriters and the weird pre-emptive bzz-clack of the electric machines. You don’t get that in the 21st Century the way you did in the 70s… the Apple Mac keyboard I’m typing on now is an almost flat sheet of aluminium with small almost flush white keys in it. It makes almost no noise when I type, not even a click, just a soft nubbing sound which you feel more than hear.

I am typing directly into WordPress, wherever that is in the world, I’m assuming the United States, from my home in Somerset in the South West of England. There is no paper, no carriage return (in the sense of going down a line and returning the carriage to the left of the page) no inky ribbon, no letter hammers getting stuck together when you type too fast… yes it was all a bit of a pain and you can see why the word processor was so popular with people who worked at typewriters all day instead of dilettante assholes like myself who just play at typing…

That all being said I do miss the typewriter. It’s a symbol of something, of an age gone by for sure, but also of literature and the sheer amount of classic books that have been written on one. Think about it, no blogs are written on typewriter. Why would you? You’d only have to transcribe it onto the computer at some point. There has to be some middle road. Some way of reviving the feeling you get from tapping away on an old typewriter.

My favourite ruse at the moment to get back that Hemingway vibe is AlphaOmega Software’s “Typewriter Keyboard”. This is a very small piece of software which basically makes typewriter noises when you type with your favourite word processor. Simple but effective. If you have writing software which runs in one of the minimal distraction modes when you have full screen text, the effect is really lovely and old school. You really feel the urge to peck the letters out more carefully, as if you might actually jam the keys.

Okay so I might still get the urge to go on eBay and buy an old Selectric typewriter one of these days, but until that happy day this will be good enough.

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Posted by on December 8, 2008 in Essay, software

 

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