This semester, my MacBook Pro has been sitting off to the side while I write letters and draft poems on a manual typewriter. The typewriter is a requirement for a class that I am taking called The Poet Critic. Each student has a partner in the class, to whom we write letters discussing our reading assignments and anything else we may be reading, share what we have been working on, as well as anything else on our minds that we may find relevant to write about. Composing my poetry on a typewriter has been the real challenge for me. Copy-pasting is key to my editing process and somehow handwritten drafts had disappeared from my practice. The typewriter is bringing a few lovely things to my practice as a poet: 1) I have a physical copy of everything I write, every change I make. 2) I no longer spend an hour writing a sentence, deleting it and rewriting it (as I have been doing in writing this). I just write the sentence and move on. 3) I can’t check my Facebook every five minutes on my typewriter. 4) The physicality of using a manual typewriter is sort of fun.
I make oil paintings rather than Adobe Illustrator images, while a computer can do embroidery I spend painstaking hours making little French knots, why has my hand disappeared from my writing practice? I like my embroidery a little imperfect and a little oil paint in my hair, and I like seeing what color of gel pens I wrote poems in the 7th grade. Technology may be convenient but what of a practice is lost with it? I don’t even print out half of my poems. If my computer died tomorrow I would lose most of it completely. Maybe it is worthwhile to slow down, spend some time with my work, punching the typewriter keys.