‘I was quickly obsessed with every click and clack of the keys. I was so motivated by these sounds that I waited for the ting that would come at the end of every line, followed by a long brrrr sound. It’s the best.’ This week our guest blogger is publishing intern, Luzelle Sotelo who writes about her life-long passion with typewriters. In case you are wondering the following text was produced with the aid of a word processor. A few months ago, I bought a typewriter.
I’ve dreamed of owning a typewriter since I was maybe 11 years old. I’m sure this was slightly influenced by the hipster aesthetic popular on Tumblr in the early 2010s… but I like to say that my main fascination with typewriters is because one of my formative writing memories was learning how to type on a typewriter.
My mum and I tried to pinpoint a specific age or year (maybe 2002?) with no luck. I remembered I was writing with red ink and I attempted to type my name without any spelling mistakes… as a maybe-4-year-old, naturally I failed. I remember my mum taking the paper and after waiting a short time, my typos magically disappeared. I resumed by key smashing until the end of the paper.
My parents don’t even remember what happened to that typewriter. I’m sure they donated it somewhere, or gave it away to a friend. It was because they were the proud owners of a brand-new computer, where you could type something out and easily hit the backspace button to delete it, if needed.
On one sleep deprived afternoon, I saw an advertisement for a typewriter. At this point, owning a typewriter had always seemed like an unattainable dream for me. It was something that I thought wouldn’t really happen.
In all the time I had spent daydreaming, I never thought about what I would do if I actually had a typewriter. (I honestly thought I would never get this far.) There is obviously one function of a typewriter, and that is… to write.
I get distracted easily. I can have good intentions whenever I use Google in the middle of writing on a Word doc – maybe to find an answer or a synonym – but I will very much end up doing something else like taking a Buzzfeed quiz on what kind of dog I am (a mutt, apparently).
In the spirit of feeling like 2020 would be the year where I would work on my writing, I convinced myself that I needed this typewriter… It would help me write without being distracted by notifications on my screen and falling into the abyss of the internet, fight my inner editor that deletes every word I write, and the mysterious effects of blue light.
Also, typewriters are really, really cool.
I didn’t need to convince myself any further. I messaged a nice lady, and I came home the next day with a typewriter in hand.
I was quickly obsessed with every click and clack of the keys. I was so motivated by these sounds that I waited for the ting that would come at the end of every line, followed by a long brrrr sound. It’s the best.
I wrote, and I wrote and I wrote. I wrote some bad poetry, unfinished short stories, journal entries, more bad poetry, notes, scripts, and more. Seeing letters and words tattooed onto a blank piece of paper was something that gave me joy. It made me think about every word and be intentional for all the ones I write down – because it’s hard to take the words back.
Admittedly, some of the novelty has worn off now… I gravitate to my laptop when it’s late at night, or there’s always a piece of paper nearby for when I’m struck with a line for my story.
But I’m still very fond of my typewriter. My typewriter challenges me to intentionally think about what I write, which has made me more thoughtful of what I say. In my fixation of wanting to say what I mean, I feel like it has helped me find my voice. I hope others will find their own typewriter; maybe it’s an item, a place, or a person – but something that will help them bring out their true inner self unapologetically.
Luzelle Sotelo studies creative writing at University of Technology Sydney and interns at Spineless Wonders. On weekends, you can find her in a bookstore or expressing her creativity like making floral arrangements for weddings. But she always comes back to her love for reading and writing.
Featured image credit: #storybombing installation, Ringwood, Victoria, 2018 by Richard Holt