The good companion

Friday, March 9th, 2012

  • Someone loved this typewriter, or at least someone loved it enough to keep it around and help it find its ways to a retro furniture store as a prop.

    “It’s not for sale. I couldn’t possibly part with any of these beautiful old things.” Says the store owner with a friendly smile as he walks over to the retro desk where I am admiring the simplicity of two old typewriters. “Well maybe I could, for the right price.” He adds with a laugh.

    The typewriter is a British made Imperial portable model, made popular back in the 1930’s after the best seller by J.B. Priestley was reportedly produced on one. I know this not from any special knowledge about old typewriters, but from a quick dance across my own modern keyboard and the magic of Google.

    It’s funny, there was a time when finding my way around a keyboard was like trying to find my way around a map in an unfamiliar city. Looking for letters was like searching my pockets for a bunch of keys. These days though, the internet has familiarised me with the qwerty world to such an extent that it would now take me considerably more time to actually write this by hand rather than type it on a keyboard, and in some ways that’s a little sad.

    Did qwerty or the internet, or maybe both, rob me of my handwriting? Or has it just become so easy to get words out into the world that it’s by my own negligence that I rarely use pens and never write letters anymore?

    I wonder if someone once looked upon this beautiful old typewriter as the enemy, the end of the pen, the doom of ink and a beautiful script? Some people are blaming the internet for the struggles of the modern post office and calling digital communication the end of the letter. Maybe there’s something in that, but as beautiful as this old typewriter is, I prefer the fact that you’re reading my words today without the need of a publisher, printer, agent or big budget.

    My handwriting my be a disaster, but the invention of the keyboard has given my words a life they would never have had without it.