WHAT THE HELL

Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

What’s your type?

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Seems a fellow in St. Louis (my home town) has an art project going in which he has installed 40 typewriters all around the city and encourages passersby to type their answers to the question, “What is St. Louis thinking?”

Henry Goldkamp also runs a mobile poetry business. He parks himself somewhere and types out poetry on demand, though I can’t imagine he pays his rent that way. Art for art’s sake, right? The typewriter project, however — which he plans to keep open through September — appears to be an interestingly earnest parody, or not. People are intrigued and type out whatever is on their minds at the moment. Goldkamp hopes to publish the thought hoard at some point.

Oddly enough, many folks have a hard time figuring out how a typewriter works. I must admit, I don’t really miss the old machine — changing ribbons, unsticking the keys, gooping Wite-Out all over the place, and don’t get me started on carbon paper!

On the other hand, are our deep thoughts too fleeting nowadays, thrown out into the electronic cosmos like steam?

13 comments on “What’s your type?

  1. John W. Howell
    September 17, 2013

    Steam in the Cosmos? Naw like parts be parts, words be words. If they sit on analog material or are digitalized they are still there. The only steam in the cosmos are those words said aloud by politicians

  2. margaretjeanlangstaff
    September 17, 2013

    I heard about that on NPR! What a hoot that people are so interested and actually using the typewriters. And what an inspired act it was for the guy to go around and “plant” them. This means something big, but (duh) not sure what yet πŸ™‚

  3. Susan Irene Fox
    September 17, 2013

    Brilliant idea. The sound of clicking as those keys hit the roller peeking out from behind the paper. Fingers having to thoughtfully push each letter, depress each one then pull the return instead of gliding along a plastic keyboard. Make a mistake? A regret is only a crumpled piece of paper tossed across the room into an overflowing trash container.

    Steam? Vapor… like dandelion seeds blown into the wind, never to be retrieved.

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 17, 2013

      There was something very satisfying about the old beauties, wasn’t there? I liked snatching a piece of paper out of the roller when it was finished, without errors…

      As for dandelion seeds, some of them sprout, don’t they?

  4. 1WriteWay
    September 17, 2013

    Very cool project. I have to admit I don’t think I would get very far on one of those typewriters. But I do love the sound of typewriters …

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 17, 2013

      Electric or manual? πŸ˜‰

      • 1WriteWay
        September 18, 2013

        Ha ha … I love the sound of the manual typewriters, although I’ve only really heard them in old movies. My first typewriter was an electric one. The sound of the keys was not as romantic as those of a manual. And I am now so spoiled by computer keyboards …

  5. Carson Craig
    September 17, 2013

    I love this art project idea, although I confess one of the best days of my life was when I got my first PC and printer and kissed typewriting goodbye forever. As for the persistence of words on paper vs. digital media, I think with cloud backups and whatnot, the digitized versions might be much hardier than their paper forebears. Love that steam-in-the-cosmos simile, though.

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 17, 2013

      Then again, those early dot-matrix printers were no great shakes…

      Thanks for stopping by, Carson. And for the follow!

  6. lnahay
    September 17, 2013

    Text messaging and emails aren’t the outlet for deep thoughts. You need to go back to such timeless things as typewriters (/our beloved computers) and pen and paper for that. Thanks for sharing! What a brilliant social experiment.

    • Kevin Brennan
      September 17, 2013

      I’ll second that. Now, the Rosetta Stone, there’s a lasting document!

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This entry was posted on September 17, 2013 by in Writing and tagged , , , .
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