“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”*…
If New York, as E.B. White said, is a city that “never quite catches up with itself,” no one may be more aware of it than [Paul] Schweitzer. He is believed to be among the nation’s last typewriter repairmen, and he largely rejects computers, iPhones, laptops, and even credit cards in his workplace. Like a speaker of a vanishing language, he laments the loss of his tribe.
“There are fewer and fewer of us that do this,” he said. “Years ago, if you looked at the yellow pages, there were six pages of typewriter companies in Manhattan. Now, there’s us.”…
The poignant– and powerful– story of “The Last of the Typewriter Men.”
* Ernest Hemingway
As we tap away, we might send darkly humorous birthday greetings to Samuel Barclay Beckett; he was born on this date in 1906. A novelist, poet, and theatrical director, Beckett is best remembered as the playwright who created (with Eugéne Ionesco) what Martin Esslin dubbed “The Theater of the Absurd.” His Modernist masterpieces– Krapp’s Last Tape and Waiting for Godot, for instance— had a profound influence on writers like Václav Havel, John Banville, Tom Stoppard, and Harold Pinter. Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.
No mean typist, Beckett turned out typescript for James Joyce (to whom he was an assistant in the 1920s), for the French Resistance during World War II, and of course, for himself.