Quotes about Typewriters & Writing by Typewriter

Don’t expect the typewriter to ever completely disappear… ~Hal Fair, National Product Coordinator for the Brother International Corporation, quoted in “Typewriters of Electronic Era,” The New York Times, 1984 November 23rd

In the late ’70s, I bought a typewriter — portable enough for world travel and sturdy enough to survive decades of ten-fingered beatings. I’ve since acquired many more — each different in design, action, and sound. Each one stamps into paper a permanent trail of imagination through keys, hammers, cloth and dye — a softer version of chiseling words into stone. ~Tom Hanks, Hanx Writer introduction, 2014 [Hanx Writer is an iPhone and iPad app that recreates the experience of a manual typewriter, developed by Hitcents.com. –tg]

Man is a type-writing machine, unconsciously printing his daily record, to be submitted to the great Proof-reader. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

After a while the typewriter keys are the most comfortable place for your fingers. You miss the sound when you are away from your machine. Your mind works faster when you are sitting in front of it and words seem to put themselves on the paper of their own accord. You get to look for the “e” that is out of alignment, the key that sticks, and the funny clicks when you use the back spacer. Talk about the violinist who knows every mood of his instrument! The typewriter is just as temperamental. Sometimes it won’t help you dig out a single bright idea, sometimes it puts thoughts down before you have formulated them in your mind. ~Elizabeth R. Hartman, “Ink in the Blood,” in The Modern Writer’s Art, edited by Theodore J. Gates and Robert E. Galbraith, 1936

[D]aily my soul keeps rubbing out and writing in new lines upon my face; and in the same way my typewriter, in a slow, more stolid fashion, responds to my spirit too. Two men changing typewriters or motor-cars are, though more subtly, like two men changing boots. Sewing machines, pianos, and fiddles grow intimate with the people who use them, and they come to express those particular people and the ways in which they are different from others…. Steel bars and wooden levers all have little mannerisms, little expressions, small souls of their own, habits of people that they have lived with, which have grasped the little wood and iron levers of their wills and made them what they are. ~Gerald Stanley Lee, “Dead as a Door Nail!”, Crowds: A Moving-Picture of Democracy, Book One: Crowds and Machines, 1912

As a playwright, Williams had the minor defects of his major virtues. He sometimes ran a purple ribbon through his typewriter and gushed where he should have dammed. ~T.E. Kalem (1919–1985) [Tennessee Williams –tg]

All good writers have a cherished beat-up typewriter and a favorite well-maintained pen. ~Terri Guillemets

A good author dances on typewriter keys. ~Terri Guillemets

The book’s idea or theme or meaning has been stirring about in your consciousness for months and probably years. When the idea first hits you you feel enormously stimulated and heightened. Then you wish you could get away from it, but now nothing but death can separate you from it. It’s no use…. Now everything else in your life takes second place or fades out of your consciousness altogether. Clothes are unimportant, letters go unanswered for days or even weeks, parties you regard with a lackluster eye, travel is a lure to be avoided like death, for it is ruin to the sustained rhythm of your work day. Teeth go unfilled, bodily ills run unchecked, your idea of bliss is to wake up on Monday morning knowing that you haven’t a single engagement for the entire week. You are cradled in a white paper cocoon tied up with typewriter ribbon. Awake and asleep the novel is with you, haunting you, dogging your footsteps. Strange formless bits of material float out from the ether about you and attach themselves to the main body of your story as though they had hung suspended in air for years, waiting. ~Edna Ferber (1885–1968), A Peculiar Treasure, 1939

Stories live in typewriters. Try a different typewriter — you may get a different story. ~Terri Guillemets

I’ve had secrets come out of my typewriter in invisible ink. ~Terri Guillemets

They’ll find ink in my veins and blood on my typewriter keys. ~Terri Guillemets