For the last several weeks I've been cussing and kicking and generally being a female curmudgeon because of internet problems. I finally got things fixed, but not before I spent weeks in agony when I realized everything I do is connected to my computer. It made me long for the "Good Old Days," which is something I do often anymore. Nearly a decade ago I was nominated for Pushcart Prize for an essay I wrote called Slow the Spinning Earth. The essay deals with the way our world seems to be moving too fast. Technology is taking over. Electric everything is the way of the world. I tried, when I wrote the essay, to slow things down a little--at least in my little corner of the world. I drug out old dishes and served our meals by candle light. Against our sub-division rules, I hung my laundry outside to dry in the sunshine. I even bought a bicycle and thought I'd do short errands with it and at the same time get myself in shape.
Needless to say, my struggle against technology didn't last long. I was fine on the bicycle as long as all my errands were down hill. Up hill was a bear and I soon put the bicycle on a hook in the garage and there it still rests. I pulled all my appliances out of their storage spots and diced and sliced and blended with electricity again. My typewriter went back on the shelf and my computer regained its position on the desk. I hate it that we're so dependent on our computers and cell phones and Ipads. But it's a sad truth that can't be changed. Cowboys didn't have that problem. They didn't lay awake at night wondering how long it would be before they could download and upload and work on websites and blogs.
Typewriters won't copy and scan and attach pictures and documents to an electronic letter, but they still do a great job on some things. This past few weeks I've kept notes, made lists, and jotted down ideas on the old Remington I now keep next to my computer to help me keep in touch with the past. I've collected old typewriters for about 40 years. I used to find all kinds of weird looking machines at flea markets and garage sales for just a few bucks. Not so much anymore. And sadly I don't think the lack of machines available is because other people are collecting them too. I think most of them have ended up in landfills because they're too cumbersome and heavy to collect or keep. I've got a couple of them that I would guess weigh nearly 30 pounds.
I apologize for neglecting this blog for so long, but now you know why. And for those of you who are worrying because I haven't answered an e-mail, I'll catch up this week. While I'm struggling to get everything back in order, here are a few tidbits about typewriters for ya. You should try and find one of these wonderful machines and keep it next to your computer as a reminder of how far we've come. I refuse to say "how lucky we are," because honestly I don't think we're all that lucky to have moved so quickly into an age where we are completely dependent on electronic machines that seem to have a mind of their own. And I really do wish we could somehow, "Slow the Spinning Earth."
The first concept for a typewriter was way back in 1714. But it was a struggle to find something that people could use easily, and it didn't really get off the ground until the early 1800's when an Italian invented the first workable typewriter. But even then it wasn't a common machine. Mostly because a good majority of the population couldn't read or write anyway, so there was no need for one. When typewriters were refined by the English in 1820 they began to be manufactured in mass. There's even a big debate about whether Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol on a typewriter.
|Blickensderfer early 1800s|
And for those of you who have books coming, they'll be shipped sometime this coming week. Thanks for being so patient. I'd also like to thank my good friend Donna for being so nice about answering e-mails from people wondering just where I'd gone. Donna and I joke all the time that I should be paying her a salary as my personal assistant. She's always fielding questions from people about my where-a-bouts. Thanks Donna!