His name is Remi, we are having a love affair, and my spouse knows about it.
He is a Remington Portable. A archetypal typewriter manufactured in the mid-1930s. His ruddy grey body sits squarely in the centre of my coffee table, the focal point of our living room. And rightly so. As a writer married to a bibliophile, words are central in our home.
And now more than ever. As new mother I have never been so keenly aware of language. Word by word I am naming my daughter's world. Raffi songs are sung by heart, daily chores are narrated, and tastes, colours, sights and sounds are animated for her sheer delight.
My daughter teaches me each day that, when it comes to words, it is all about the delivery. For instance, plainly announcing "We are going for a walk" receives no more than a glance, while sing-songing the same line results in a mess of wild baby giggles.
Typewriters have a similar effect on me.
It doesn't matter what words fall into Remi, he makes them beautiful. It's this beauty, and the love of sending and receiving letters, that inspired my friend and I to co-found the Vancouver Letter Writing Party last fall. Each month a growing number of us gather for no other reason than to type. Letters are written, brimming with minutiae, and they are beautiful.
These words want to be read. They are climbing up, off of the paper, begging to be stamped, sealed and sent.
When was the last time you wrote a letter—typewritten or otherwise?