writing on a typewriter

I write a lot of stuff on typewriters now. It was a Christmas gift a while back. I had to learn to put a ribbon in it, and I still haven’t learned how to make all the text line up. But I never read the instructions. I might get around to that one day, but I’d rather not. I’d rather just put paper in and go. I like the imperfection of it. There’s no code or software making it conform. There’s nothing to scream red warnings at me when I spell a word wrong. And no green squiggly underlines when maybe if read in one sense and conforming to one style guidebook, a comma would be necessary. Honestly, who cares.

I actually spent a lot of my life caring. I know the rules, I know where the commas go, I can spell well enough most of the time. But for a really long time I struggled to tolerate my own mistakes. Is it really a mistake if you accidentally type an extra t in “little“? In the grand scheme of things, is that a mistake? Does that matter? God I hope not.

Nothing is perfect and nearly every ridiculous standard we hold ourselves to is just a way to avoid doing the harder work of just being loving and showing up for our lives. Maybe it’s just me, but in order to become an artist, I had to let go of perfectionism and let myself spell things wrong. I don’t think creativity comes from conformity: I think it comes from the way we improvise when things don’t go as planned, and when just accept what’s in front of us without judging it or arguing about what it should have been.

“Typewriter” by Karen Fred | 2021

This is a blind contour drawing of my typewriter. It took me a few times to get it looking typewriter-ish.

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