the paradox of play

July 21, 2012

I love signs, symbols, synchronicity and just plain goofy stuff.

So when the same image keeps reappearing in my life, I begin to sit up and pay a little extra attention.

For months now, since the very first day that the idea for this creative journey began for greentreehousemedia, antique typewriters seem to be showing up all around me.

I’ve Pinned gobs of photos of them on Pinterest. I’ve dreamed about them. I’ve even bumped right into them in the oddest places like Rabbit Hash, Kentucky (where this was taken for me by photographer Wayne Clause) and in the ancient, coal mining office safe at The McCreary County Museum.

We used to have one a lot like this when I was a little girl. I’d hoped it might still be stowed away somewhere in my parents’ attic, but it’s long gone now in a yard sale. And that’s OK.

Because I can still remember the cool feeling of the hard keys against my fingertips. I remember their clanking sound and the way the little hammers would stick together in clumps if I banged on them too hard. I remember how I’d have to stop and pry them apart getting black ink all over creation. I remember the smell of that ink on my skin and how much soap it took to wash it away and how pretty and silky it looked trailing like little rivers down the drain in our bathroom sink. I remember the raspy, hungry sound of the carriage as I hit the manual return bar to feed it more fresh, white paper. I remember the ding of the bell warning me when I was about to run to the end of the line.

I remember having so much to say in my head that the old keys had trouble keeping up with my stories. I remember what I wrote stuck and could not so easily be taken back and edited and perfected and revised. Corrections with the white tape that had to be lined up just right and struck over and over – again and again and again – to mark out my mistake were just too painful. The white-out fluid that came later was equally annoying as I rarely had the patience to ever wait for it to dry. It was much easier to simply keep my stories fluid and change them as I went along to fit any mistakes I might make.

And that was really OK, too.

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