About a year ago, my husband asked me to come look at something on his computer. Not sure how he had stumbled onto it, but he had discovered Steampunk. Sometimes he’s cutting edge, sometimes he’s late to the party. This time, I think he was a little of both. For the uninitiated, Steampunk is that unique fusion of the modern and the antique – technology and Victorian styling. For great visuals, rent Wild Wild West, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Van Helsing or Sherlock Holmes (the Robert Downey, Jr. version). And while it is certainly not something you find in the mainstream, its popularity is prolific. There is a huge culture surrounding Steampunk, as evidenced by the size of its Wikipedia page. There are myriad sites devoted to the asthetic – blogs, shopping sites, and music (one of my faves being Abney Park). If you are looking for it, you will be able to find it, but like many counter-culture things, it is not going to jump up in front of your face and advertise itself. Usually I find new things because of the variety of sites I surf and things other people send to me. Tonight I came across the next thing for modern-day authors to covet, thank you Twitter and Roger Ebert.
For your consideration: the USB Typewriter. Jack Zylkin is a genius and I humbly bow down to him. I want one of these! Preferably the Underwood, but I’m not entirely certain about the green. My sensibilities say it should be flat black. I remember having to take typing in high school (my mother told me it would be a useful skill, no matter what field I decided to go into, because I could always make money in college by typing other students’ papers for them). It took effort and deliberation to push down the keys of a manual typewriter (yes, I’m that old – or my school didn’t have the money to get that many electric typewriters – you decide). And God forbid if you made a mistake. Your only choice then was to either try and correct it manually or start all over. That takes dedication. You really have to be committed to what you are writing, otherwise each time you type it, it changes a little. I guess that is the beauty of the writing process. Each draft includes changes, until you just don’t change it anymore.
Anyway, I am ready to shop. I am wondering if Jack would custom-make one of these for me if I came up with the typewriter. I am thinking of one of those 50 pound jobs that comes with no warning labels or attorney-drafted disclaimers against such things as strained backs or crushed fingers. But of course, I would also need to get an iPad . . . which begs the question: if I am old enough to remember manual typewriters, does that mean I am too old to be on Santa’s watch list?
Santa, if you are reading this, you know what I want . . . .