Having Conviction in Your Thoughts

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Amid the unrelenting march into the digital age, we get this:

The Digital Generation Rediscovers the Magic of Manual Typewriters – NYTimes.com.

My father's Hermes. Bought sometime in the 1950's.

I like it. We have a whole generation of people who have probably never experienced a manual typewriter. I don’t know whether it matters or not, but it DOES reveal a little piece of how we are changing.

“It’s about permanence, not being able to hit delete,” he explained. “You have to have some conviction in your thoughts. And that’s my whole philosophy of typewriters.”

I hadn’t thought of it that way.

It wasn’t all that long ago that we had numerous Selectric typewriters in the department office where I used to teach. It was pretty cool when they came up with typewriters that could ‘erase’ (using a strip of white-out that ran along side the strip of ink).

Mostly, I think it’s a good thing to have a backspace, but now that he mentions it, it probably does affect how we write. After all, you can always delete it if you don’t like it. Perhaps, over time, it also erodes our standards. Little by little, we delete less and less, until eventually, any old crap seems to be OK to publish.

Perhaps, if we knew what we typed was going to be a pain to change, we think a little more before we hit return.

Also, there is something quite satisfying about hearing your words hitting the paper. Feels like you’ve actually done something.

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Comments

Having Conviction in Your Thoughts — 1 Comment

  1. I can’t remember which writer remarked the same thing: he refused to do word-processing because it let him fuss over editing all day and not write.

    “Conviction in your thoughts” is an excellent way of putting it.

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