Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ninja as Child - #1 - Typewriter of Destiny

My love for writing begins in the second grade. The idea of becoming a writer has already appeared to me in a dream involving cross-bred animals, sea-life, a world filled with water and an itch to type on the only typewriter left on the planet. It is my typewriter, a supposedly portable Underwood, which is absurdly heavy for a seven-year-old boy, whose ninja powers have not yet bloomed. I lug its whopping 12lb bulk to and from school every day for several weeks.

At the back of the class, I clack and clang the metal levers with finger-pointing prowess befitting a future ninja, beginning story after story, never getting further than the 3rd fragmented sentence before starting on a new idea. My teacher allows me to type only during active work time and during recess. She thinks my pounding keys while she speaks is a distraction, but her speaking while I'm typing is the real culprit of lower education. Bitch. I'm a sponge and I've absorbed all I can for the day, now I need to drip and pour the filtered waters of information in which I have been drowning. Give me a break. Allow me this single interest before my mind evolves into that of a bitter, cynical, apathetic, nihilist.

I've been doing this for weeks: following rules, being quiet, malleable to authority. Today is different. I awaken with a new sense of purpose, destiny, power.

I walk into the classroom and instead of putting my heavy typewriter in the back of the class, I walk into the center of the classroom, setting my typewriter right on my desk. It looks magnificent. I feel the surge of a writer within me, some ethereal relic of an author from centuries ago, who has gone forward and backward through time-space and discovered the ultimate meaning of life.

I begin to type.

Mrs. Funky Face (not her real name): "Ok, class, let's get settled... um... the typing needs to stop."
Sleep Deprivation Ninja (as child):
*...clack-clack-clackclackclack-click-clack-clack-clack...chrrrrr-ding! clack-click-clack...*
"...hellooooo.... typing must stop!"
SDN (ac): *click-click-clack-clackclackclickclackclackclack-clickityclickclackclackzipdingclickclack...*

I'm on a roll. I'm feeling the souls of dead poets moving my hands, the scrolls of Alexandria unfolding in my mind, the dark history of Atlantis bubbling from within and gushing out in a tide of metallic clicks. The whirring and banging gets louder as my speed increases. Soon, I find myself filling pages as fast as I can rip them out and shove in fresh sheets. The keys are getting hot. The machine begins to smoke but I can't stop. The letters turn red, scalding my fingertips but I just push the keys faster.

In a thunderous clang, all of the keys bang together in unison, hitting the page and mashing into each other as the typewriter refuses to accept them against its unwilling harness, shooting the typebars away from the page with explosive force and fiery suicide. The keys go in all directions, bouncing from wall to person to desk to chalkboard, books to backpacks, foreheads to forearms, imprinting living poetry wherever they hit. Now the whole room stares at me, silently decorated with alphabetic tattoos. I am sitting behind a metal inferno as I read their faces, arms and desks.

Poetry. Pure, uncensored poetry. Upside-down, sideways, letters spaced beyond normal perception of word formation but I see it. My eyes swell with tears from this marvelous beauty, which the teacher mistakes for a cry of pain.

MFF: *stunned*
SDN (ac):
"I'm out", pushing hands away as if finished with a meal.

Walking out of the classroom, the sky seems a deeper blue. The trees sound a little crisper in the wind. The smell of smoldering typewriter is a little sweet and savory. I head out into the field and into the future.


Jon said...

Again, awesome.

Where's your email? OK here's some advice that I would send to your email but you're too stealthy. You know your "stuff" thing on the right? I think (I'm not positive) that all those rollover links makes it so your page takes like 5 years (or seconds) to load. That pisses me off and I like what you write a lot. Do you see what I'm driving at? I'd get rid of that thing. You don't want people being all pissed right before they start reading your nimble prose.

Jon said...

Actually, I just experimented. It took 12 seconds before I could scroll down. You might say "Fuck you. Use Firefox or get an Apple.", but a lot of other people - people you want to stick around - use IE too.

I'm sorry these are technical comments and not flowery praise. Send me your email.

Captain Dumbass said...

Ok, here's some flowery praise, nice work SDN.

(From someone who reads you on an Apple, with Firefox.)

BHJ, I get the exact same delay time with your site.

steenky bee said...

Well dpne. You know what a typewriter is! You may have just dated yourself!

cIII said...

It's like Cervantes' meets Brian De Palma meets Rage Against the Machine. Tri-fuckin'-fecta!
Great post!

Unknown said...

Bam! Ninja smoke screen vanishing act. The 'Stuff' garbage is gone. Thanks for the praise and advice.

Unknown said...

OK BHJ, I've added an email address, which will go through a proxy in Switzerland. Good thing ninjas are masters of cryptography and misdirection.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you were super popular..

I have a similar memory of me holed up with an ancient typewriter in our study/tanning bed room..hours and hours of crude short stories, poems, and labels that said "This book belongs to Ashley Richards",..good times.

Anonymous said...

Well. I followed a link from BHJ's blog to the escalator post, and have now successfully not mowed my lawn for over an hour while I sat and read old and new stuff and cackled. Good stuff. But my lawn still needs mowed.



This feels like a dream in technicolor.