The Typewriter Is Back — to Save Privacy
‘”After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks and the exposes by Edward Snowden,” the anonymous source explained, “it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents” — especially because each document can be traced back to its unique typewriter signature.
‘So will typewriters become a trend among the privacy-obsessed? They certainly have hipster appeal. A number of Brooklyn-based writers raved about them to the New York Times a few years back. Users love the fact that it forces you to commit to your thoughts without relying on the delete key, as well as the fact that you need never run out of power for want of a wall outlet…’
Susan Sontag on the psychological value of writing by hand amidst a digital culture, a point that has amplified resonance two decades later:
‘I write by hand and then I type it. But I have to write the first draft by hand. Now, don’t tell me about the computer — I know the computer is wonderful. I remember one writer friend of mine … said, “I don’t want to use a computer because it’s too entertaining.” It’s not writers’ masochism that makes some few of us continue to hold out against this — it’s that it is better if it goes slower, at least I think so. It’s good to feel it in your hand and it’s good to be able to just think. . . . .
Maybe a writer who grows up with computers would not feel this way, but then, I think, the writing will be different. Let’s put it this way: Writing, like painting, is artisanal. It’s one of the few artistic activities which does require solitude. Most other art activities do involve people and are collaborative. . . . To be an artist or a writer is to be this weird thing — a hand worker in an era of mass production.’
Famous Writers Who Don’t Use Modern Tech to Create
‘Danielle Steel, who is currently the bestselling author alive, has written more than 100 books — all on her trusty 1946 Olympia manual typewriter. George R. R. Martin, writer of the book series A Song of Ice and Fire (adapted into the wildly popular HBO show Game of Thrones), types his stories on an old DOS machine. And Madman director Quentin Tarantino prefers to write all of his scripts by hand.
‘Some may call it romantic, others may call it inefficient, but one thing’s for sure — these 10 writers just don’t love using modern tech, and it doesn’t seem to have held them back…’