3.12.18 - Bean Fosters – Golden, CO ~ 11:06 AM MT
It’s weird how a letter on a typewriter feels more real than a note typed into a word processor. Something about the tangible ink slapped onto the page one neat character at a time that delivers finality to your words. Typing on a typewriter forces you to arrange your thoughts in real time, creating a sense of emergency that nudges your mind to move forward rather than laterally.
Once you organize the first few words of a sentence and you like them enough you put them down and you figure the rest out as you go. Before you know it your fingers are splashing all over the keyboard and little tiny metallic pangs are echoing throughout the room until a delicate chime rings to delay the creative symphony for a few seconds.
There is definitely something more present about typing on a typewriter. On a computer with WiFi your mind is being torn to the sides, “come hang out in the periphery of the Internet where you won’t have to work so hard,” it calls to us. But being lucid enough to arrange your thoughts with a focus where you can’t believe your fingers are actually moving with purposeful conviction feels like a submission to the magical creative element that eludes the amateur artist. It’s funny that returning to a more primitive, real technology can trigger the magic that lives inside of us.
As I type this in Word Processor, I am constantly fumbling my thoughts, going back into my sentences and reworking them, never allowing my mind to uninhibitedly flow forward. Real time editing grants me the godlike power to alter the creative process and assure that I don’t make any silly or clunky mistakes. The problem with that is that it interferes with the free flowing creativity that is necessary to any worthy piece of work. It would seem unnatural to see a painter go back over their work and erase a stroke of the brush. When a painter dips their brush into a palate and splash it onto a canvas they mean it; when I write on a typewriter, plucking at the keys, I mean it.
A real element is lost in the creative process when it lives in the electrons of a screen, separating our hands from our creation. It is a similar transition in social media where we immerse ourselves in a world of appearances, a world that feels real, but isn’t. It gives us this sense of partial familiarity because the importance of the real is lost in the robotic 1’s and 0’s of binary code.
There’s nothing wrong with waiting for creativity to circle back around, sitting in discomfort as it orbits your mental grasp, just like there’s nothing wrong with admitting to something painful that’s happened in your life on social media. But the electronic cursor that prods your mind, blinking in your face like a cruel mockery of your stagnant creativity is akin to the way that the world of positive appearances mocks your negative experiences. A refusal to accept the real thrusts your existence into a world of appearances that seeks only to satisfy surface level gratification, ignoring the deeper concepts of our lives that wind up plaguing our minds into a cycle of consumptive passivity.
Allow pain to enter your mind and let seeds of creativity take on some water before you abandon their growth. Simpler times seem nostalgic because our minds were more engaged, more responsible when we didn’t have crutches to carry us along in our lives. It’s hard to argue for the welcoming of pain into one’s life, so think of it as an invitation to the real; a return to experience rather than appearance, because experience is where we derive meaning from and in the end we all want to lead meaningful lives. Don’t let the electrons mock you into a passive life. Move forward, not laterally.