Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Cormac McCarthy's typewriter

Well, here it is. It was auctioned for more than $250,000 last Friday. The proceeds went to charity but it's not the money that bothers me - he can keep it or not as far as I am concerned. What bothers me is that a bestselling author was, until recently, using heritage technology to write his books.

(Oh and there is a little side order of "What was the buyer thinking? That putting their fingers on the keys would enable them to write bestsellers too?")

Anyway, I heard Ian Rankin and Philip Hensher discussing this on the Today programme (not its first appearance here and yes, I do hear it every day). Rankin does use a word processor though has no idea how to "move chunks of text around"; Hensher, on the other hand, writes everything in notebooks, though I suppose he has to type it up at some point.

On what planet and in what century are these people living? I got my first AppleMac in 1989 and was composing direct on to a screen by 1995. Nothing short of total breakdown of the National Grid would see me back on a typewriter or scribbling in notebooks (great for notes though; the clue is in the name).

I'm so glad I was young (enough) to benefit from the new technology - laptops, broadband, Internet, email, Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. etc. I'm an unrepentant gadget-bunny and every new development has helped my writing forward.


Anonymous said...

It's getting started that is the hard step to take. I liked our first Amstrad, and the Mac that came after it. Then proceeded to hate about three PCs, which set my progress back. Back to Mac and heaven, and then MY OWN MacBook! No need to move other people who happen to be in the way.

But not all 'old people' can be as cool as you and I, Mary.

adele said...

I too am what you call a gadget bunny, but hey, whatever helps you to write. Wouldn't care if someone carved their stuff on stone tablets, if that's what they wanted to do! End product that counts and Cormac's is outstanding! Jan Mark, too, was devoted to her sit up and beg typewriter. Takes all sorts etc.

Brian Keaney said...

He uses a computer and he has no idea how to move chunks of text around? He must be striking some kind of complicated pose. Nobody could be that stupid.

Katherine Langrish said...

Good heavens, it's bizaRRE - sorry, caps locked there, probably in sympathy. I cannot imagine writing a book without the blessings of a computer.

But on the rare occasions when I try to write poetry these days, it's always, always with a fountain pen...

Mary Hoffman said...

I haven't read McCarthy, Adèle, and don't feel a strong call to do so. I mean, there are lots of other writers I'd want to try before him.(There has been a very heated response to this blogpost over on Facebook!)

I note I have lost one "Follower" - maybe it was a C McC fan?

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