Cheeseburger Gothic

The return of the typewriter (Updated)

Posted October 24, 2014 into Writing by John Birmingham

My first real writing machine - the first rig I paid for with my own hard earned bucks - was a Sharp Intelliwriter 2000. I paid two hundred bucks for it at Monty's Pawn and Loan, down the Valley. I had a small screen about the size of my little finger and 4K of memory. I may have waxed lyrical about it before.

I ditched that sucker as soon as I could afford a 'real' computer, of course; some beige box DOS atrocity with two floopy drives and a green screen. Cost ten times as much as the Sharp.

These days, of course, I work in at the fruit factory. When the next round of book advances start flowing, after I've paid my tax (*whispers* - they read this blog), I'm probably gonna grab one of those sweet ass new retina 5K iMacs.

Which is why I can't believe I'm thinking of backing/buying this clunky monstrosity too.

The Hemingwrite. A digital typewriter.

And that's all it is. Well, sorry, it has some nifty connectivity built in, so as you can back up your heart breaking work of motherfucking genius to the cloud, or something.

But mostly it's about recreating the feel of an old school typerwriter. From the site:

The Hemingwrite provides the distraction free environment people crave while also giving them a familiar keyboard and a robust digital experience. People don’t have to fuss with ribbons, jammed hammers or spilling coffee on their manuscript anymore. The Hemingwrite will help you put words on a page better than any other tool ever made. And with constant backups to the cloud, you never have to worry about losing your work.

I like it because it reminds me of my original writing dream, to live in a small Mexican seaside village, in a fishing shack, with my beautiful but enigmatic Japanese house girl, Miko. My old typewriter would start up in the afternoon like gun fire in a bad neighborhood. I would punch out the words for a few hours before strolling into town where there would be tequila and knife fights and a reasonably priced taco.

I feel somehow that the Hemingwrite might deliver on this promise where life itself did not.

Update.

Having settled on my purchase, it took only one tweet from Mister Charles Stross to turn my head towards the even more retro-futurist Qwerkywriter, which he recommends using with Scrivener to reach 'writerly nirvana'.

This! This looks exactly like the typewriter of my imagination, down in the seaside shack with Miko and all the tequila.

24 Responses to ‘The return of the typewriter (Updated)’

Darth Greybeard ducks in to say...

Posted October 24, 2014
Brain reeling. Does it have a little speaker to make incessant, hangover-unfriendly "Clack Clack" noises? A lever on top for an enter key/carriage return? A randomised "stop working because the keys or ribbon jammed again" feature? That's not a typewriter, it's a Word Processor, from when that meant a device, not software. 'Tis an abomination, neither fish nor fowl, a veritable platypus of word recording thingummies.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 24, 2014
I love this kind of nostalgia. I want a Hemingwrite for the same reason I sometimes yearn for the smell of ditto machine solvent and the perverse artistry inherent in White Out. Every now and then I pull out my old Underwood No. 5 (circa 1920) just to reconnect with an ancient time when keyboards were designed to slow secretaries down because fast typing jammed metal strike keys.

Oh my god, what have we done.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted October 24, 2014
I loved everything about the Panasonic electric typewriter I bought in Korea save one thing.

Dealing with the paper.

This thing? I can see buying one.

Respects,
Murph
On the Outer Marches

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted October 24, 2014
Isn't that what the bunnies are for - transcribing your dictation?

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w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted October 24, 2014
Crouched over the device, peering at the small low screen for hour after hour, it has the look of a device that would not be back, shoulder and neck friendly.

Lulu reckons...

Posted October 24, 2014
Never mind the small screen - those keys are all blank.

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Rob reckons...

Posted October 24, 2014
I thought you dictated your words to your apple box? and thus your dream should be , living on an estate in Hawaii, with an English manservant, two dobermans and you lend your Ferrari to a moustachioed Private Investigator who lives in the guest house and uses your pool free of charge because he saved your life?

Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted October 24, 2014
NBlob has been likened to Magnum PI, admittedly only by those of poor eyesight and memory. But perhaps he could live in the guest house and trade as Cornetto PI?

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 24, 2014
Given my current state of finances, it'd be more like Black & Gold fruit flavoured icy pole PI.

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John Hampshire ducks in to say...

Posted October 24, 2014
Forget the crappy ergonomics, forget the endless distraction of Twitter, the siren lure of the possibilities intrinsic to a 27" HD screen -- THIS is what I need to actually get the writing done!

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spankee would have you know...

Posted October 24, 2014
I have a Remington Portable #2. I would love to use it, but I seriously do not know what for.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon reckons...

Posted October 24, 2014
Does the qwerkywriter come with a set of ye olde flying goggles and a blunderbuss that is hooked up to a steam backpack to shoot rapid fire missiles?

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted October 24, 2014
But the iPad Air 2 is out!

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yankeedog asserts...

Posted October 24, 2014
That Qwerkywriter is awesome! I want one-and I don't even really write anything. And Simon's right-that thing has a nice steampunky look about it.

dweeze is gonna tell you...

Posted October 24, 2014
Prototype looks way cool. However, they won't be ready until mid 2015 at best. Kind of ass about back to the future thing. Oh, and they got hoverboards now...

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Naut mumbles...

Posted October 24, 2014
The keys off old typewriters make great cufflinks.

Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted October 24, 2014
Philistine!

Bunyip swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted October 24, 2014
Yes ZB, but he's a rather dashing and stylish Philistine.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted October 24, 2014
I am forced to agree with that.

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Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted October 24, 2014
Is this one of those "I'm sure I'd always hit my deadline and need minimal copy edits and would never ever farking procrastinate if I just had the perfect writing tools" things?

Saw a guy who had a setup like the one in Gilliam's Brazil once. Dunno if he actually got shit done. But it looked nice.

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MickH asserts...

Posted October 24, 2014
Seems like a backward step myself. Stick to dragon! :P

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ShaneAlpha would have you know...

Posted October 24, 2014
Surely you'll also be releasing the roneograph version of this blog to coincide with this back to the future writers vision?

Remember the roneograph! Getting school children high on toner for over 50 years.

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Sparty ducks in to say...

Posted October 24, 2014
E-ink screen is very attractive - being able to write in full sun- oh yeah

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