TYPEWRITERS TURN ME ON. (A look at writers and nostalgia)

I have a confession. I have been craving me some typewriters lately.

Now before you point fingers, scream “HIPSTER!’ and strut away, hear me out.

I seem to have a typewriter fetish. And I think I know why.

typing is so, so sexy.

typing is so, so sexy.

And it’s not  the pseudo-cool reason you might be thinking of. I do not classify myself as a hipster, although I have a separate fetish for Victorian and Steampunk fashion (trust me, the Victorians knew how to be fashionable). I don’t collect old cameras or take photos of myself with a Polaroid. I don’t even own a working typewriter. So I’m not that one dude who plants himself on a park bench beside an Apple Air wielding teen, plopping a clunky typewriter on his lap with a smug smile. Sipping on a Starbucks. Though that does seem quite nice. Minus the smugness. And horrible fashion choices.

you do not look incredible. trust me.

you do not look incredible. trust me.

I’d like to point out that my handwriting is–and has always been–an assault on the eyes. I have made every kind of effort possible to fix it. So have my teachers. But when the brain is working faster than the hand, it goes right back to a 3rd grade level (which is probably an insult to all 3rd graders). Putting aside a piece for a month and then trying to read it is futile. Writing out quick notes is fine, but when it comes to a complicated novel…writing by hand is just out of the question. And besides, my leftie hand smudges the shit out of anything left that is remotely legible.

well, shit.

well, shit.

Typewriters offer me one thing and one thing only: typing. And you better be good at it, goddamnit, cuz there ain’t no delete key.

While the invention of a delete key (and more importantly, but only slightly so, the computer) is an amazing achievement, something is lost along the way.

I’m sure I’m not the first to admit that I am distracted easily. Computers and the internet makes this an even more frequent occurrence. A piece of me squeaks, “Myra, without all the distractions your amazing laptop provides, you could’ve written that novel already. With a typewriter.” A part of it is true, of course. Typewriters–the old ones, not the electric ones–are pretty much portable, and don’t require a power outlet. They offer a satisfying ‘click-chunk’ as you press the keys. Each letter popping up on the paper is a visible process of machinery. You can see the craft. The thinking is happening in front of your eyes. In this world of online blogging, this is amazing. I think of all the times I could’ve written. When I was camping. On long roadtrips. On sabbatical to the woods. During a power outage, surrounded by hundreds of teeny electric tealight candles, leaning in, squinting to see the parchment with my already shitty vision.

just not practical. I mean, where's the snack cupboard?

just not practical. I mean, where’s the snack cupboard?

But the truth is, I will never know. I grew up with the internet. I pretty much shat my pants when I got my first real laptop (which amazingly, is the one I am typing on now. The thing just won’t die), and honestly, I don’t remember what life was like without it. Living in Redneckville, the laptop was my escape to the rest of the world. I’m pretty sure I cried when I realized all the possibilities. I met my first serious boyfriend online. I’ve sold things online. (Those two things aren’t related, I promise.) The only time when I ever felt the same feeling of freedom again was the day I received my iPhone. Which was one of my spontaneous decisions (I qualified for a free phone and my old one was pretty much befucked…score!). My phone stepped things up another level; it made that feeling of freedom portable.  I didn’t have to lug out my lap-beast (insert sexual joke here) every time I wanted to check my email. Two swipes on my phone, and it was done. Another revolution.

Now I said my first “real” laptop, because I did own one before  that. I forget where I got it from. Most likely a hand me down from a relative. It was a Dell. And it was old enough to actually be able to earn the “haha you got a Dell” joke. It was a similar model to the ones which used to randomly catch fire, and just generally be pieces of shit. When closed up, it was a brick. Pandora’s box. The airplane’s black box. A chunk of coal. I remember it burned my knees once when I typed for too long. It was Windows 98 and all it had was Microsoft Word, solitaire and minesweeper. The battery would last for DAYS. I remember the keyboard had a satisfying sound. It only took floppy discs. For all intents and purposes, it was pretty much useless.

this picture is purely obligatory.

this picture is purely obligatory.

 

But I typed the shit out of that thing, man.

I don’t ever remember writing so much. Even though it typed for me, I would still have to look things up, spell check and plan everything by hand. Looking back, it seems like a good compromise. But eventually, I began to hate the thing. I sold it to a Phillipino woman for $5. She seemed ecstatic. I hope someone is still using it today. After all, it worked for like 12 years without a hitch. It deserves some respect. My 5 year old laptop is coughing up blue-screen blood.

I will never know a time when typing was done with ink and paper, instead of a computer and a flash drive. I can do it, sure, but I will always have the option of going back. The days of being confined to the ink are gone. I suddenly began to understand baby boomer authors who still write by typewriter, or even by hand. There is something at work there the rest of us just can’t see. For example, Tom Hanks famously has a fetish for typewriters. “What I really, truly miss is the physical trail that typing usually gives you,” he said. He even released his own typewriter app. Totally dude. I understand.

we have found his weak point.

we have found his weak spot.

I still want a typewriter, but my laptop offers me so much more. While writing my medieval novel, I notice I don’t know when a certain thing was invented. I want the novel to be as historically accurate as possible. So I save, close the window and Google it quick. I save some entries from the University Library that I might pick up or download later. Boom. Done. Leave that section and keep writing. That is just as amazing as the machinery of the typewriter, but for different reasons. Also, word counts take  a chunk of the worry away from writing contests. I couldn’t imagine counting words by hand.

But of course, I do get distracted. I actually have people to talk to now, online. I’ve never had that before. So I want to talk to them. I also want to keep up with my YouTube subscriptions. And learn how to do that one craft I’ve been waiting to do for forever. And shop. Do some troll bashing. Look at funny cats. When you can do that all in one place, shit gets complicated. Gone are the days of typing until my fingers cramped up. Now it’s more like ‘write 1000 words, take an hour YouTube break then return writing’ process. Then maybe google more about swords.

And I’m not going to bash YouTube here. YouTube (more the people ON YouTube than the site itself) has changed my life for the better. There’s something very comforting in instantly streaming videos which feature a familiar voice, and you know will make you laugh. It gets to the point where it doesn’t matter what they’re doing, as long as it makes you laugh, and it’s somewhat familiar.  Those videos have, sometimes, been the only point in my day where I actually laugh and smile. The parents don’t get it, and to be honest I don’t really get it either. I just know that it works. They stick to their shit, I stick to mine.

who wouldn't love this beautiful face?

who wouldn’t love this beautiful face?

 

My mother just can’t get rid of a typewriter she had in her teens. It’s dusty and grey. She knows it doesn’t work anymore. She doesn’t want to fix it. It sits on top of a desk, all by itself.  It’s an ornament.

So I leave this 1500+ word rant (word counters FTW) still on the fence. A part of me really still wants a typewriter. But I have no idea how to properly care for them, where to buy the ink, or if there’s anywhere nearby which will fix it if it ever breaks. I doubt the last one immensely. The other part of me is so thankful for modern technology that it hurts. The introvert part of me, I guess.

 

The writer part of me will always ache for a time and place (and a device) which allows me to write unperturbed. With satisfyingly click-chunky keys.

I guess I will always have Writer’s Nostalgia.

 

How do you deal with your Writer’s Nostalgia? Do you own a typewriter? Got any tips on taking care of them? What do you use them for?

Check out this post, too for more conversation on the topic.

 

It has occurred to me that I have included nothing brainless and funny in this post. To compensate, here’s a funny video.

You’re welcome.

-Myra

TERRIFYING MONSTERS, EYEBALLS, AND A LITTLE DERP! [I get a tad sentimental]

When I said I’d be posting every week, I really meant every year. Yeah. This was written around February 2014. So deal with it.

For some reason, my brain has been on shutdown the past few weeks. Maybe reading week threw me off. Maybe Valentine’s day drug me down in a pit of despair. (Probably not.) I even stooped as low as returning to Neopets and similar sites. Bad mistake. I could feel the brain cells eeking through my ears as I clicked on digital food to feed to digital pets.

Oh, that reminds me of this video:

do not watch if…easily disturbed.

I have to admit, there are times when I go kinda crazy. Not legit crazy, but crazy enough to shut out the world and research random things like the history of eyeglasses, or medieval torture techniques (which for some reason always shows up in my Newsfeed). Times like these are when I should be writing the most–but I never do. I seem to forget my computer even exists by this point. The ooze is running down my neck as I play some angry birds and try to salvage what is left of my social life. Which is nothing, by the way. And with midterms coming up, it’ll be in the negative values. But the funny thing is, I find myself caring less and less. I return to the touch screen more than ever, my acquaintances slinking away in fear from the oozy blob that is my person. I don’t think I’ve looked in the mirror for a week. I’m too scared. Ooo look! A bunny wearing a backpack.

i do not know where this came from. i apologize.

i do not know where this came from. i apologize. but not really.

I’ve found myself thinking back to past bouts of near-crazy. The one I remember best was when I was really little, perhaps five or so. I’m about to get a tad sentimental here, so if you like, you may skip to the next derpy picture and giggle mindlessly. First of all, I’d like to mention that until I was 12 years old, I was blind as fuck. It never occurred to my parents to get my vision checked. Like, ever. So my childhood up until that point was literally a blur. Moving, blobby blurs. When I was asked to read the board, I would shrug and say “I can’t read it.” They gave each other blurry looks. Looks like it’s special ed for me! I am still amazed that the idea never dawned on any of my teachers, relatives or friends. I was probably squinting, leaning in to read. And now I see babies with glasses and I am instantly jealous. That feeling will never go away.

Now that we’ve established that I couldn’t distinguish “butt” from “boat” in large chalky letters, I shall continue. I’m not too sure about kids nowadays, but when I was little, monsters and ghosts seemed like a very real thing, no matter what my parents told me. (kid’s nowadays don’t seem to give a shit about anything…)

And yet I still watched Bananas in Pajamas and remained unphased. Go figure.

Woah man. Just woah.

Woah man. Just woah.

However, the monster I feared wasn’t your traditional monster. It wasn’t in my closet (I’d checked). It wasn’t under my bed, since I squirreled things away there frequently and liked to chill out with the dust bunnies. (I thought they were actual bunnies…) No, my monster wouldn’t hide from me. He would stare at me from the corner of my room.

After describing my monster to a few close friends, I usually would get this response:

“Oh. That sounds like the Tall Man.” (or sometimes, “Slenderman”) “You must’ve seen the movie and got freaked out.”

holy fucking shit.

 

But I never did see the movie.  And “slenderman” is very much a product of the internet, which was in its infancy in 1997. (At this point, I think we were all still giggling at the dancing baby .gif.) I didn’t respond well to this news. Explaining him away didn’t make him seem any less real.

I remembered he appeared quite suddenly. Just poof! One day he was there. My shitty vision was even more shitty in the dark. All I could ever make out of him was a pale, almond face, long black arms, and the ability to remain perfectly still. His face would never quite stay put; when I looked back, it seemed to fuzz over and morph, like a severely pixelated image. He usually would appear shortly after my mother closed the door, and remain there until morning. I believe this explains my ability to stay up sooper late, to this day.

My Tall Man was merciful, however. He would not appear at a friend’s house, in the living room, or in any other house, for that matter. He was confined to that one corner of my room. When my family moved far away, he did not return.

I will admit that Phantasm and Slenderman still scare the living shit out of me. But, since I never saw him again, I began to wonder: what did I really see? Could it have been a ghost? I will never know, and I don’t really want to, either.

Which brings me back to the present. Every once in a while, I see stuff like that. Not the Tall Man, but pixelated blobs. Usually it’s after copious amounts of caffeine and lack of sleep. I slip into depressive mode and enter the internet and emerge days later bulgy eyed and confused. I’ve searched for explanations, and the best I could come up with is this, but it seems extremely unlikely.

One good thing this could have caused is my epic dreams. My dreams are the best shit ever. Seriously. I have lucid dreams on a regular basis. And I remember about 80% of them. My dreams are more entertaining than a Hollywood blockbuster, dammit. I don’t know anyone else like this (if you’re one of them, go ahead and tell me about it!). Most of my story ideas have come to me in dreams. In one of them I was the son (I usually dream myself as I guy, which is odd) of a biologist turned-drug-dealer. In another, I was a ragamuffin thief in an alternate dimension which had a proficiency for wormholes. In another, I was a young woman travelling the world to find her long lost brother. A time travelling orphan who ends up on a sinking ship in a world with no land. A serial killer who could fly. The plots more unpredictable than Adventure Time endings. Which can be pretty fucked up….

 

I keep forgetting this is a kid’s show.

 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes, being a little crazy is a good thing. Even though it might have its soiled-pants-worthy moments, what emerges from it can be absolutely amazing. Which brings me to this bird.

This is the Potoo bird. (If you spend as much time on the internet as me, you’ve probably seen it already) This bird doesn’t know how hilarious it looks. It just sits around doing bird things all day while the rest of us giggle at it until snot squirts from our nose.

this is what my sexy face looks like.

this is what my sexy face looks like.

The Potoo bird proves my point. One person’s crazy is another’s normal. I mean, it must think we are crazy. Here we are, laughing at an animal, who has no understanding of humour. He just looks back at us all confuzzled. So when I have the urge to tell people about my Tall Man, my brushes with delusions, I just do what the Potoo bird does.

What, you say? Well, I look like a badass, of course. And I will continue doing bird things. Like hunt for insects and poop. Wait.

so majestic. soproud. sowow.

so majestic. soproud. sowow.

I’ll try to submit something next week. I promise. *hysterical giggle*

[please tell me about your lucid dream experiences! do you get them often? do you know why you get them? how cray cray are they?]

 

-Myra

BLOODY FETUSES, BURRITOS AND RAMBLES! [a.k.a Myra’s first blog post]

Here on my desk sits a newborn: mushy with blood and fluid and squealing its first breaths of life. Its mouth opens into a red swamp. Something inside it gurgles.

I stare at it. Oh God. It is mine.

My first child. It sits with my pencils and books on grammar, its fingers sticky with blood and tears and some Coke I probably spilled there last week. It realizes I have entered the room and stares stupidly back at me. It needs to be fed. It…it is…

It is a blog.

Image

      Now that I’ve got that lovely image in your head, I suppose I should introduce myself, eh?

I am Myra Wintermute. No, that is not my real name. I am 21 years old, single, and I live in Western Canada (in a place I like to call “Redneckville”–it shall be called so from now on). Redneckville is a combination of every place I ever lived as a child. Each place I moved to, though it had new faces, seemed exactly the same. I never managed to fit in. This’new kid’ feeling of  the”outsider” never quite faded away after puberty. (Cuz’ admit it: we were all outsiders at puberty.) Being the Other gave me a different–and I guess, clearer–look on things. I vowed to keep this outlook, and therefore at one point resigned to be a…people watcher. Which translated, means, “a loser with no friends.” Thus, my schooling years commenced with me sitting in a corner and waiting for graduation. I jumped at my first chance to get away: an acceptance into University.

Yay!

But once I got all settled in, a horrifying fact dawned on me. I hadn’t left Redneckville behind. Redneckville…it was me. It had become me. It is a part of me and I suppose it always will be. I found myself diving deeper into social isolation and videogames, losing all social skills my parents taught me.  I could feel the writer in me dying a little, but I was too busy drowning myself in Coke and Doritos to care.

Nearing the end of my University career, it has only now dawned on me that I could put my useless outsider knowledge to good, well, use, by the way of the internet. I’d always been a writer by nature, but too damn awkward to do anything about it. An anonymous blog seemed like the best idea. The internet had been my friend for years. 

By last summer, I had made the decision. My baby needed to be fed–something other than liquefied sugar and Zelda cheats. But what the hell to call it? What the hell to say? I spent months planning it out, writing snappy humour pieces that always seemed to be insulting someone I knew. I came up with dozens of usernames, site names, alter egos, and topics. I obsessed with becoming a personalityI asked myself if the internet really needed another sarcastic, slightly bitchy contributor. Every time I sought out to start, I would forget who I was insulting, or why I was writing, and stop. None of my self-taught genius ever made it to the web. Which is probably a good thing.

RambleScape is my second attempt. A space to ramble on about my day, in the way I usually do on the internet. A space where I could mindlessly wander the landscape of internet with complete freedom. Where I could join a community of people with nifty skills, and gain new friends,i nsulting people who irked me only a small, indiscernible sliver in my bloggy pie. Instead of making it all about me and my people issues, I vowed to make someone’s day slightly better. Or try to. 

This blog is for you.

What should you expect in RambleScape?

  • Lots of memes. I like those.
Image

not sure if funny…

  • A carefree attitude.
Image

None. I give none.

Even though I am an English major and have a soft spot for grammar, I will not stick it up anyone’s ass. I promise I will never write shoddy poetry, recommend reading an entire library, or go all grammar-nazi on you. I like to share interesting things with you, whether it be cute kittens, a cool new artist, a book (god forbid), movies, worthy causes, and weird shit that I happen to pass in my day. And I pass a lot of weird shit. You’ll see soon enough.

  • General inappropriateness. 
Image

Hilarious.

  • And as the title states, rambles! Nothing is off limits. I hope you find it as interesting to read as it was to write. I shall write about…everything. All wrapped up in a fluffy tortilla of html. Whether it is delicious is questionable.
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Yeah. It’ll be kinda like that.

Ideally, I will post something every day. I will try to read something every day. Most of all, I hope to talk to people every day. Feel free to comment, email me, or stalk me and try to find my house. Er…maybe not.

Everything will be under construction for a bit while I figure out things, so I might not be regular for a while. [harhar period joke]

But seriously, I always like mail. It makes me feel like I have friends.

Whatever I say, whatever I do, just remember that deep down, I love everything burritos you.

-Myra.