Monday, October 1, 2012

The voice of the ruins


  1. Onward! To the purple end!
    Nice post. Something to think about.

  2. Quite insightful. An amazing essay, giving weight and validity to all of us that were, just a moment before reading this post, corresponding to another with a typewriter as opposed to the ease and availability of email. Really hits home...

    Thanks for this, Richard.

  3. I'm taking one of the Letteras to the office tomorrow, just to see what kind of reaction they cause. XD

    Food for thought, indeed; I must admit that in recent months I've become a sort of a convert, using extensively the more modern Selectrics and Wheelwriters for actual work; but this made me realize something the typosphere has been claiming: that *manual* typewriters are the real tools for the post-Armageddon world. I mean, my Selectrics work fantastically well, but without electricity, they're about as useful as a 40 pound doorstop. The 1924 Remington 12, on the other hand, could still continue working, in a room lit with candles, and it wouldn't have the smallest problem to do its job.

    So yeah, I admire the ingenuity and practicality of electronic typewriters (and computers), but I agree: there's a beauty in mechanical typewriters that makes them the ideal tool to express our creativity at a slow, deliberate, contundent, and tangible pace.

  4. After the EMP or a particularly strong solar storm takes out our grid and puts us back in the 1800s, the manual typewriter will be at the ready to help string thoughts into something ordered and reminiscent of civilization. Unlike statuary or figurines, these are antiques with function; that being the individual letter press. The best examples in the typewriter kingdom are also art in their own right.

    When the zombies come, keep a close eye on your red Olivetti ICO. Many in the Typosphere know where you live and it will be a tempting target once civil order breaks down.

    Or something like that ;-)

  5. For me, the more appropriate and poetic weapon of choice for this dystopian piece of yours is your Sholes Visible, that phoenix you are currently resurrecting from the ruins, piece by subversive piece.

  6. ...And in the end, we shall arise from the wreckage of what's left of society and hoist our typewriters--jubilantly and defiantly--aloft, as a phoenix bolting skyward from the ashes of its demise. And we will turn our faces toward the rising sun, to the future and boldly shall we go there, with our machines for the end of the world.

    I cannot even express how much I adore this post. It really struck a chord, kind mention aside, but thank you just the same! I also quite like that hot-rod Torpedo and that crazy purple ink!

  7. Insightful and on the mark again! (:

  8. The press, the machine, the railway, the telegraph are premises whose thousand-year conclusion no one has yet dared to draw.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    and dare I add "the typewriter"?

  9. This is great. I have to remind myself sometimes that the machines we turn to now in our idealization of simpler times were once used to advance agendas that were just as frenetic, hectic, and probably even as toxic as today's.

    Wondering...where does one acquire a purple ribbon?

    1. I believe I got the ribbon from Baco Ribbons ( It's a silk purple ribbon, a bit too heavily inked so I had to wash and dry it until it had just enough ink to produce purple prose.

  10. Richard,

    Your essay is beautiful and your Purple Prose Producer a fantastic thing to behold!