Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Out with the old, in with the...less old?

Anyone who has seen my fridge, or has relatively known me at all in my 23 years of existence, knows that I have always gone through life with a ever-changing list of goals. It has always been somewhat of a life rule for me. The rule is:

Always have at least 3 goals. These goals can change at any time. Goals that are not completed must be renewed or replaced with new goals. These goals can be short or long term. 

Sure, it is weird, but it keeps me focused. Setting goals helps me realize the path I am on, and where I would like it to lead. I don't stress if I don't accomplish the goals because it helps me see the path I chose to take instead, and reevaluate. I don't think it's a system that works for everyone, but it's my system.

One of my current goals is to have the first edit of my book done by July. I call it "my book" but it is really just a physical copy of all the garbage I wrote down from our trip to Europe in a more eloquent form. I am roughly halfway through my first edit, but the second half is going to be much harder. Once we left Italy, I sort of stopped writing, and that is when some of the best things happened. This project is less of a "wow, I hope I get a book deal!" thing and more of a "I'd like to have something to show for those 4 months" thing. I'd like to hand my grandchildren a book when I am old and grey, and have them read about that time Grandma and Grandpa traveled Europe as youngsters. The problem is that I spend about 9 hours out of the day in front of a computer screen for work, and just about the last thing I ever want to do is use it in my down time. The solution seemed clear to me- get a typewriter. Of course! People used typewriters LONG before computers! What a handy way to make this process fun! I would print out my current pages, manually edit them, and type the edited versions on the typewriter. Perfect! What fun!

Step 1: Acquire typewriter
There was no way I was going to go buy a brand new typewriter- hell, there was no way I was going to spend over $30 for one! I spent about a month checking craigslist, etsy, local shops, just about giving up until my first Saturday at Portland Flea-for-All. Sarah and I had set up our PULP booth, and I immediately had a $30 sale burning in my pocket. "Did you see that typewriter over there? Pretty cool huh?" Jacob asked. Like a whirlwind I jumped out of my seat "Typewriter? Where? What kind? How much?" He couldn't muster more than an extended finger in the direction of the table where it sat. I oogled it for a bit. A sweet teal Coronet XL electric typewriter. It seemed to work great, and it was exactly $30. After a fit of jealous rage, I pretty much bought it out from under another vendor and it was mine. OH such sweet success!
Step 2: Use typewriter
After ordering and subsequently receiving my typewriter ribbon from Ebay, I decided to give my new typewriter a spin. Oh how posh I would feel plunking away, oh the wonderful feel not really working. Typing the alphabet it can usually get to "f" and occasionally to "j" before coming to a complete halt. Not particularly the best feeling. I spent a great deal of time researching old manuals, trying to adjust margins and fiddling around with it with absolutely no success. I finally determined that it would have to wait until I could afford to bring it to a typewriter shop for a tune-up.
(typewriters should not type like this)
Step 3: Giving up
I simply determined that my first draft would not be completed by July. There was no way I would have enough time or money to get the typewriter fixed before then, let alone edit, and more accurately, pull an entire second half of a book out my ass before my goal. Riding in the car, Jacob says, "Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that there were about 5 typewriters at Goodwill today." "Let me guess," I replied, "They're all $10?" "No," I sighed relief, "Good because I'd probably lose my shit," "They were $15." Enter me flipping my shit.

Step 4: Redemption
Which brings us to tonight. We went to Goodwill and there was a lovely Smith-Corona. By lovely I mean that it took the same ribbon as mine. By lovely I also mean gross because it is a poopy brown color with sticky goop all over it. I brought it to the wall and plugged it in. I typed all the way across a line, and advanced to the next. It even made a *ping!* at the end of the row! Plus, it had a full ribbon still in it! $15 later, I was home free. Super excited, I brought it home and typed an entire page. The noise could potentially drive my neighbor insane, but I will try to do most of my work when she is away.

A bit of windex to get off all the crusty, goopy mess, and this baby was as good as new! The lesson I learned from all of this was something along the lines of, "just because it is pretty and costs more, doesn't mean it can get the job done," or something like that. One plus side is that I get to be that douche that just had old typewriters hanging around everywhere. Woohoo! More importantly, I might actually get this book done someday.

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