Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Whatever happened to Creative 17?

by Suw on December 6, 2017

Welp, it’s been a while since my last post about my Creative 2017. When I started the year, I had a feeling that I might run aground in the lead up to Ada Lovelace Day, and sure enough, time to blog became scarce. But that didn’t mean that I wasn’t being creative.

Since learning to knit in May, I have become ridiculously addicted. I have been working on a simple ribbed skirt, and have done a pair of wrist-warmers. I had less luck with two hats, one of which was too small, the other too big, and both of which got frogged and are now being turned into a scarf. But it is really lovely to just sit and knit of an evening. Somehow, it’s more soothing than crochet, though I’m not sure why.

There was always an ulterior motive, though, to this whole project, and that was to try to get my authorial juices flowing. In that, the year has been a spectacular success. I started work on my current project in earnest a couple of weeks ago, and am really enjoying myself.

Thanksgiving weekend, we went down to visit friends in Illinois, and on the way stopped off at an antiques mall in Milwaukee to see if a typewriter I’d had my eye on for a while was still there. It was. A Remington Rand Streamliner, well cared for and, along with its case, in beautiful condition. I couldn’t resist.

The serial number tells us that this particular machine was built in May 1941, one of only 21,200 ever made. They were manufactured between February 1941 and May 1942, and cost $49.50. It’s a shame that then didn’t make more, because this is by far and away the most beautiful machine to type on that we own. I now have five typewriters, and Kevin one, and this Streamliner is the easiest and smoothest to use, with the softest action. It’s the most amazing machine to write with, it really is.

I did have to get a new ribbon, which was easily done through Ebay. And I cleaned up the typebars, which were as clogged with ink as you might expect.

The type now is so beautifully crisp and clear. In the photo below, we have example prior to and after cleaning.

Overall, the machine is in great condition, just a little bit of rust on the frame and a bit of dirt underneath that will need removing. I will eventually get the platen recovered, along with the rubber rollers, but it’s ok for now.

I cannot even begin to describe how amazing it is to work on this machine. It feels much more natural than writing on my laptop. My fingers have to move more deliberately, and my brain is slowed down to a much more thoughtful speed. It’s easy for my fingers to get completely carried away with themselves when I’m using modern equipment, and they tend to run off down cul-de-sacs that they can’t get themselves out of. Using a typewriter gives me the time I need to think ahead, to write in a more considered way.

I’ve also got a much better way of organising my notes than I’ve ever had, which I’ll cover in another post. And I realised that I really, really struggle with the whole consecutive numbering of pages thing, so instead of numbering pages, I am giving each scene a serial number (the date, actually, and maybe an alphabetical signifier if I’m writing more than one scene in a day). This means it’s easier for me to move scenes around without triggering whatever part of my brain it is that loathes interrupting logical number sequences.

The cleaner typebars also mean that Google Docs can do a better job of the OCR, although the first 7,000 words contain a lot of OCR errors that I’ll have to sit and fix soon. But overall, my process is working well, I’m enjoying writing, and I’m in no great hurry to have it all done. Which is a much better result than I had ever anticipated when I started this year!