No typing.
Saturday, July 16th, 2011

I have eleven typewriters.  

That’s not a brag; that fact is not in the least bit significant compared to some of the champions of typing-machine collectors.   And the eleven are not a particularly impressive selection of machines.   They are unremarkable for the most part, and are a representative slice of those machines which are currently most plentiful and reasonably available.   No achievement there.  

Having eleven machines scattered around my tiny apartment, several with neglected typing stopped in progress, does make me seem—at least to me—crazy.   I am not a writer (even though they are sometimes also crazy).   Despite my fond hopes that I am an undiscovered author, all evidence indicates a fanciful fiction of myself as a writer.   Commonly called a delusion.   Delusions are clinically pathological, but this is not a clinical delusion.   This delusion is benign, which may be its worst feature.   Its lack of any damaging effect enables me to perpetuate it, forever.   A never-ending diversion.   Perfect when you have forgotten long ago what you are avoiding.

This fiction of being a writer is supported in many ways:

  • This haltingly updated blog, and its many incarnations since the 90’s;
  • two periodical articles I wrote and published, also in the 90’s;
  • lots of struggling, imprecise prose hewn out of raw ego by wickedly imposed suffering in front of a typewriter and mercilessly whacked onto paper;
  • and of course my mind, racing about desperately trying to escape something, like a tiny mouse trapped, together with a Maine Coon cat, in a cage.

But mine is a particularly incompetent Maine Coon cat.   She never seems able to catch the mouse, and never puts this shrieking, panicky mind out of its misery.  

So instead, I am touching my computer’s feint and inarticulate keys and not pounding the vigorous and decisive keys on any of the writing machines gathered ’round me.   And much to the same effect—diversion from the mortal fear trapped within me.   Only, at the computer keyboard, there is no satisfying ‘thwack’ with each character.  

I ask myself, isn’t this merely a petulant external display of some perceived suffering within?   And, if that is so, what distinguishes it from authentic art?   What is the difference between my masterfully executed delusion of writing, and any other more laudable creativity?   Has not the smelly, homeless person, begging on the street, achieved a virtuosity in the expression of suffering (or even just in the expression of self-pity, depending on your interpretation)?   Has he not conjured from the very substance of his life an expression of the same mortal terror held within?

That sort of failure to obtain some external media—like clay, or marble, or oil on canvas—and transform it in the act of expression is, I guess, just laziness in art.   But then I would never disagree that I am just a lazy would-be writer, content to let some innate flair for writing languish unattenuated and undeveloped, that lack of artistic achievement an artistic expression in itself.  

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