I've been thinking about purpose, functionality and ultimately service. An old Remington typewriter once used to write sermons has prompted a number of thoughts.
I enjoy typewriters, particularly manual ones -- both for the nostalgia (having learned to type on a manual typewriter) and aesthetics. I sold this typewriter recently on eBay.
As much as I love typewriters, I'm not a collector type (or typist, if you will). I almost kept this one, though, finding out it once belonged to a minister who wrote his sermons on it and continued to use it up through the 90s. That's good history.
Ultimately, I sold it, which was fine, but the snag came when a potential buyer asked if I would send only the keys. She was an artist, and used them for projects.
I sell antiques on the side, and it isn't for me to determine what the buyer does with items, but in this case, I would need to dismantle this beautiful machine. It felt wrong and invoked a lot of guilt, particularly since I agreed.
So here was the crux. The time of this machine had passed. It would not be used as a functional piece again, only a display item, at most. In becoming art, it would go out into the world, hopefully bringing joy. I had to accept it would transform into something new.
I've wrestled with with my own identity recently, and as I've grown older I've challenged myself to move past the confines of the person I've always seen myself as to morph into something new. In a way, some of my old ways of thinking, like that typewriter, are being dismantled, and it's upsetting. The challenge, I think, is to accept and celebrate the changes and growth without mourning the past too much.
I felt a kinship with this typewriter and understood something I can't put into words or even fully understand when taking it apart. I felt a sense of things passed, things changing, and service not yet given.
I do know I am happy the next phase of existence for the typewriter is to become art that will bring joy to many people as its primary function. That might not be such a bad service after all.
- Dale L.