Below is a story that I wrote on my typewriter. A professor in graduate school told me to use a typewriter instead of a computer, and he was a smart man, so I listened. Unfortunately a lot of my work involves using a computer, because I write on the internet. This is unfortunate.
The nice part about a typewriter is that there’s no internet on it, and thus no distractions, no Angry Birds or Pinterests or whatnots. You go to a coffeehouse and plunk down your twenty-pound typewriter (as I often do). Now what? There’s no internet. No distractions. Now you have to write.
Also, a typewriter keeps you moving forward. My fatal flaw is rewriting things. I must have 40 unpublished Thought Catalog thingies where I started writing it, then started rewriting it, then turned everything into a muddle, then gave up. On a typewriter, you can’t go back and delete or cut-and-paste. You just have to keep writing until you get to the end.
Anyway, I highly recommend a typewriter. The typewriter that I wrote this on is a Smith Corona SL-580. It’s not a pretty typewriter. I know that typewriters are hipster, but this one was made in 1987 or so, and is made of molded grey plastic. It’s not pretty. It’s an electric typewriter, and it’s old, so sometimes it freaks out and types over words, which I then I have to X out. I’m just mentioning this because I want you to know that I’m a better typist than I seem to be in this story, with all the Xings.
Get an electric typewriter, is my advice to you. They don’t look cool or hipster, but give it another ten years, and they probably will. Manual typewriters result in searing wrist pain — and I know, I’ve had a bunch of them. Buy a typewriter that you can actually use, not one that will just sit and collect dust on your pretty pretty hipster mantelpiece.So I wrote this story on my Smith Corona. It is a story called “Unreality.” I’m sort of in a Lydia Davis phase right now with my fiction writing. Or sort of a Borges phase or something. I like short-short now. The shorter the better. Anyway, here is something that I wrote on a typewriter, with a picture of a flower because there’s a flower in the story. Here it is–
U.S. National Archives
…And that is the story that I wrote on a typewriter. I’m sorry if it’s short or sucks or whatnot. Even if my story does suck, get yourself a typewriter today. You’ll no longer have an excuse — a way to procrastinate. And it feels so real and amazing writing on a typewriter, I can’t even describe it: the thunk of the keys and such. And my typewriter only cost $6 at a Goodwill thrift store, and ribbons can be bought online for $10 or so, so you really have no excuse. Get a typewriter today and soon you’ll be a famous writer person just like me; or not like me, exactly — visualize, instead, someone who is actually famous. That person. Soon you’ll be like him/her, and all because of a humble machine that you will love so much. You’ll love it almost as much as a cat, but not quite as much as a cat. Anyway. That is all from me for now. The end. Finis.
TC Reader Exclusive: The Patron Social Club gets you invited to cool private parties in your city. Join here.