Here's Why You Need A Typewriter
Here's why the writer's former best friend is making a comeback
We've all had the fantasy of writers in their dark rooms, cigarettes in hand, typing out their latest work inspired by the Muses. And what device are they suing to channel their inspiration, the secret power of words? Certainly not a Macbook Air. No, when you think of the writers of old, the Ernest Hemingways and Allen Ginsberg's and Djuna Barnes' of this world, you can probably imagine them typing away on an Underwood or a Remington. And it's not just the writers—those of us who still enjoy newsprint probably fell in love with journalism because of the image of the smoky news room, the open air offices where journalists were clacking away.
So why exactly are these clunky old things making a comeback? Some can attribute it to nostalgia, and that's definitely what's driving most of it, but typewriters have developed an appeal that's even more compelling than just being the norm for writers back in the day. The vintage aesthetic that they lend themselves to—nobody can argue with the lovely appeal of typewriter font—has made for a chic, more fashionable kind of poetry, one that's as easy on the eyes as it is on the ears and the heart.
The artists of today are taking notice and using this romantic notion and the imagery of the "poet on the typewriter" to their advantage—groups like The Haiku Guys & Gals' entire shtick is a combination of creation and fashion, all rooted in the use of these vintage typewriters. The look aside, typewriters really aren't that much of a burder; Remington and Underwood typewriters are easy and convenient to carry in a case, along with the other accessories one needs to keep on their person when making use of one of these babies. Definitely not something for the office, but if you choose to go this route, just know that they're convenient. Hell, the mother of New Journalism, Joan Didion herself, never went anywhere without her Royal KMM back when she was a traveling journalist and features editor at Vogue.
So how, then, does one decide in this age of Macbooks and "notebooks", which typewriter is right? It really depends on what you're going for and what your aim is. Looking for versatility? Go Didion's route and get a Royal KMM. If you're an artist working primarily with the specific typewriter aesthetic, an Underwood is probably your best bet. If you're merely a collector of these fine little marvels of the literary and journalistic world, maybe an old Remington is what you're looking for. Regardless, everyone right now can appreciate—and, more importantly, put to good use—a well-oiled typewriter. There's nothing quite like the clack of the keys on the page, the little imprints of ink, the need to refill it, the little mistakes that can happen on the page.
And that's the thing, isn't it? In this world where we can simply hit the delete button, where there's so much online content being pushed down our throats, it's nice to know that we can still commit mistakes. And if we're to commit mistakes, why not do it in typeface?