How A Typewriter Helped Me Find My Voice

Sometimes, the medium in which art is worked upon can transform the art that is being created.
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Writing, for me, was always more of a necessity than a hobby. I wrote to empty out all that cluttered up the insides of me. I wrote to make sense of the noise in my head, the constant humming of thoughts and ideas, words and phrases and observations and aches. My love of the written word came out of that necessity, born from the need that never seemed to dull or fully fade away. It is a strange thing, as writing is such an inherently private endeavor done mostly inside the writer's own mind, to have it exist in such a public sphere. It is strange and new and often exciting that all these words I wrote for myself, and myself alone, take on new lives as they are read by others, interpreted, and assigned new meanings.

A few years back, I was in an antique store in my hometown of Helena, Montana and I came upon an extremely old, worn out typewriter. A Remington Rand Seventeen model that still had the original ink ribbon, and even stranger, the ink hadn't completely dried up. I stuck a ripped title page from an old book I was buying in, and typed, on the spot, what became the very first Typewriter Series poem. The urgency, the analog tangible feel of the words being pressed into the paper, the inability to edit or change, I absolutely loved it and I knew it was something I once again needed to be doing. I believe that sometimes, the medium in which art is worked upon can transform the art that is being created, and with my typewriter, I absolutely felt this was true. Today, almost 1000 poems in a row later, I still feel the same need, I still try to empty out all that clutters up the insides.

I have always been drawn to writers who use the words at their disposal to simplify. To never use 10 words when four will do. To show me without the need for telling me, over and over again. To reduce and to illuminate, without saturating. I own and operate a photography business with my lovely partner, Sarah Linden, and with photos I've always tried to reduce big moments that are filled with emotion, to tiny fragments. Show the whole by showing the parts, as it were. In the same vein, I have always tried to show tiny moments, little blink-and-you'll-miss-them seconds, as the big, important things that matter most. Somehow, this exact mentality bled over into my writing, and since the first Typewriter Series poem, and the Daily Haiku on Love I've been writing non-stop for five years, I've always tried to make the epic seem simple, and the mundane seem monumental. These moments, the tiny and the large, are now collected in my first book, Chasers of the Light (Perigee Books/Penguin, $18.00), and I hope so much, that you find yourself in them. We are all moments, made up of millions, and I hope some of the moments I have captured, feel the same to you.












Tyler Knott Gregson, author of Chasers of the Light, out on September 2, 2014 from Perigee Books/Penguin.

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