Recently, I read a piece by Dan Rather, a past CBS broadcast news anchorman, where he was nostalgic about the typewriter and the atmosphere it created anywhere where a writer was creating some piece of writing. Click: TYPEWRITER
Reading the piece reminded me of simpler times when being in a room where writers were working was a comforting and reassuring experience.
As Rather writes, the room in which the writer of the past created his work, clicked metronomically with the rhythmic clickety-clack of the keys tapping out words, the pace relative to the typing skill of the writer.
Remember all the sounds: the whir as you inserted the paper and turned the paten wheel; the clack when you pulled the lever to advance the paper for the next line of text entry; and then the click, click, click as you typed the letters. Such a reassuring sound. Each click confirmed that another letter was being added to the formation of a word, completing a thought in the writer’s head.
The pace was reinforcing, the click-clack confirming. The momentary silences in the pause of the typing were opportunities to develop the thoughts being created. A pause after typing a period gave one the chance to sit quietly and review, examine, revise, or continue.
What a reassuring workplace. The staccato clicks confirming that someone was writing, each click signalling that a thought was being developed, an idea was being put to paper. The clickety-clack in the room produced the feeling of a writer at work, productivity was being completed, ink was animating thoughts recorded forever on paper.
None of this is in today’s world. Technology has been replaced by silent swipes. Flat keyboards lack reassuring feedback from spring-baked keys. Entry is mere contact with the key symbol. No depression of the key, no click of reassurance. Nothing. Just silence.
The silence must be deafening. It must be an unwanted vacuum of no sound, something the young find intolerable or undesirable. They replace this objectionable aural vacuum with music, clamped to their ears with headphones, isolating them from any other invasive sounds that might interfere with their mental flow. Some eschew the headphones exchanging them for sound just filling the room, immersing them in a bath of musical murkiness.
Woe to return to those simpler times. A time when we weren’t swamped by a deluge of distractions, inundated with new input, flooded with waves of new data. A time when we dealt with one thing at a time, had time to think about it, to review it and examine it. A time for more consideration in a calmer, less disruptive atmosphere. Just the gentle clickety-clack of creativity confirming life as simpler, more relaxing, and gentler in those days of old.
Oh, to hear that typewriter again.