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Typewritten tales of life

Here’s to the Blank Page


I’ve had a post rolling around in my head for a couple of weeks; some more nostalgia, this time from the 80’s, but I have procrastinated on putting it down on paper and this morning decided to use my typewriters to respond to a large stack of letters that have been waiting for far too long.  Another TypePal and I have been corresponding about our love for vintage things, and she wrote, “that must be one of the aspects of appeal of old, analogue things – the ability to connect, interact with a thing that has lasted through so much upheaval, still doing what it was designed to do.”  Damn.  So true.  I responded to her letter with much of what you’ll see below.

But before we get to that, I have a close friend who is going through a tough time right now.  Another TypePal that I have never met in person but have come to know and am proud to call a true friend.  Someone who supports me and checks in on me regularly all while going through one of the most challenging times of his own life.  This morning, as I wrote about a connection to an object that has weathered life’s storms and continues to push onward, I thought about my friend.  As I wrote about the potential of the blank page, I thought about my friend.  The words that follow may be all over the place, may be utter crap, but the intention was good.  The dots have been connected for me on why I bond with “old” things… I respect them for what they have been through and for pushing onward.  When it comes to the typewriter, it provides endless possibilities to write, edit, and rewrite until we get it right.  There’s something there if we look deep enough.     

When I was in high school in the mid 80’s I drove an old Karmann Ghia.  There was a girl that I liked, and I found out that she hated walking home from school.  Having a car gave me an “in” with her and I asked her if she wanted me to start giving her a ride home every day.  We went out a couple of times, but one day on our ride to her house, she pulled out the old pleather box that I kept my cassette tapes in.  She held it up and said something like, “you sure do like a lot of old beat up stuff, don’t you?”.  She then went on to talk about my car, my cassette box, my taste in music, etc.  I pulled up to her house, kissed her goodbye, and asked her for the thousandth time not to slam the car door; she did.  We never went out again.

I did like old things; I still do.  To this day I still own and appreciate antique cars, vinyl records, film cameras, and of course typewriters.  These things have endured the test of time; in an everchanging world, there is comfort in turning to something that continues to function even after years of use, and very likely, abuse and neglect along the way.  They may not work perfectly, each with their own idiosyncrasies, but we work around them, and love them for what/who they are.  Their mechanics are somewhat complicated, but much more simple than modern devices that are designed to mass produce quickly and move us on to the next shiny thing.  No, the objects we love take time to love. 

To turn a key in an ignition and wait for the old engine to warm up, to hand crank the window down and wipe the fog off the windshield with the faithful old t-shirt stashed between the seats. 

To go to a shelf and flip through albums, hearing the soundtrack of our lives in our heads and the mood in our soul, picking the perfect one for the occasion, reading the same words on the cover that have been read and re-read a thousand times, then placing the album on the turntable, hearing the familiar pop and hiss of the needle, then being soothed by the music that miraculously comes out of a black disc the size of a dinner plate. 

To hold a metal box in my hands, knowing that I only have 12 opportunities for a perfect picture which causes me to slow down, compose a shot, check and recheck my settings before pressing the shutter release and saying a little prayer to the photography gods. 

Then, of course, there is the typewriter which also forces me to slow down, feed in a blank sheet of paper which has the potential to be so many things… it can be filled with wisdom, humor, facts, or complete crap, but the typewriter isn’t constantly correcting me or filling my blank page with its own words, no, the typewriter is a mechanical connection to my soul, an old friend who coaxes the words out but doesn’t manipulate them.  The resulting page is all “me”, warts and all, but always with an opportunity for improvement if needed.  Just slide in another blank page and give it another go.

So, this one’s for the blank page and the old, battered machine that pushes on to create something that has never existed before; words on a page… a new chapter.


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  1. T.Munk

    Superb! (:
    For some reason I was expecting a letter from you, but I can’t remember why. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ericjtidd

      AhHa! Now that I’m getting caught up I will get that letter out stat!


  2. BillG

    Brilliant. It has been said many times over that a picture is worth a thousand words. This saying conveys just how efficient a photograph/image/drawing might be at making a point or illustrating a complex thought that is otherwise hard to describe. However, in this blog entry you have shown that when put together in a certain way, words are actually capable of conveying things that no picture can.

    With that said, here’s to words and pictures both my friend. I continue to look forward to more of both from you.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bill G

    By the way, as is so often the case when it comes to our respective childhoods, your story has served to remind me of a similar experience of my own. Back before I bought my first car, I would occasionally have use of my dad’s El Camino (the same vehicle that I learned to drive in). One afternoon when I was out running an errand in the “hybrid of a different sort”, I saw the girl who lived down the street walking in the rain. I pulled over to ask her if she would like a ride home. (I had no ulterior motives as it was her best friend that I was actually enamored with.) While we headed that way she struck up the conversation with something to the effect of “why don’t you drive something cool like the other guys?”. I was of course crushed. Later when I repeated this to my friends they were incredulous as most of them thought the El Camino to be a pretty cool ride.

    In reality, I imagine that she was just joking around with me — while the two of us were not really close, she had always been kind to me and she knew it was her friend I was interested in but always too afraid to interact with (such was the story of my high school life). Looking back on that moment, I can’t help but laugh now. Yet in an era when cars played a much bigger role in the social lives of teens where what you drove said a lot about you, I didn’t think it so funny in the moment. While it is doubtful that I’ll forget that incident any time soon, now that I’m able to laugh about it I’m actually thankful for the reminder. Thus I tip my cap to you yet again Eric.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ericjtidd

      I absolutely love these stories. Glad I sparked that memory! Fun fact… one of my earliest memories is riding in an El Camino. Our neighbor had one and I remember squeezing in the passenger seat with my dad while she drove us to some trailer-office at a construction site. Then I got to ride home in the back with a bunch of bails of pine straw.


  4. Werner J

    Good stuff Eric, very enjoyable read. Good to ‘see’ that you have found your voice.


  5. Werner J

    I really enjoyed this Eric, it is good to ‘see’ that you have found your voice.


  6. DIY Home Improvement

    Love this
    Thank you for sharing your love for vintage items and your connection to the typewriter. It’s wonderful to see how these old objects can still inspire us and allow us to create new and beautiful things.
    Great DIY Ideas


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