IF THE COMPUTER IS A KIND OF MIND THEN THE TYPEWRITER MUST BE AN EMBODIMENT OF THE WILL

just in case you havent worked out that im ripping off david antin with this verse essay then let me assure you that i am ripping off david antin with this verse essay — — — the difference being of course that antins verse essays are created live through speech and then transcribed into literature afterwards whereas right now i am creating literature that superficially resembles the transcribed talk poems of david antin while lacking its essential vital ingredient — — — — like all things posted on the internet it is something that makes cosmetic promises that its content cant pay — — — it is not letting something like authenticity weigh it down — — — you could say that this verse essay resembles the literature that inspired this in the same way that a pacific island cargo cults bamboo runway and control tower resembles their functional analogues that were constructed and then dismantled by american military after a short stay — — — however i am trying to get my thoughts down in as quick a way as i can which unfortunately makes me more of a disciple of kerouac than of antin — — — and i am minded of one of antins talks where he speaks about the typewriter and the act of writing on a typewriter in a closet — — — and he asks the very relevant question of why we proceed to find an audience from this essentially insular and masturbatory act — — — and i am writing this on a computer rather than a typewriter and this is different to the idea of the ascetic isolation that accompanies the mastery of that particular machine — — — that is that the computer is connected to a vast network that connects most of the human occupied world and that your audience is potentially there at any particular moment — — — but this still doenst make it the same as the connection that antin gets when he improvises a talk poem in front of the audience — — — it is a superficial form of connection in that its reach is wide but its impact is minimal — — — in saying this i am not trivialising those that have been abused via the internet at least i hope i am not i am pointing out the difference between someone threatening your life via a tweet and someone threatening your life while tugging on your collar and breathing into your face — — — in some ways the internet is worse because the death threat can be made from any place around the world — — — but what is scary about the threat is how it implies a moment of life or death physical intensity within the same physical space — — — and it could also be said that people are more ready to make death threats via the internet because they are not sharing the same physical space as the person they are threatening — — — and so this is not really communication in the sense that my words are not accompanied by all those subtle unintentional cues that accompany communication within genuine physical proximity — — — so lets say that i turn off my wifi or disable the connectivity of my computer — — — would that turn my computer into a typewriter — — — i dont think it would — — — there is still the brute mechanical simplicity of the typewriter in how it translates the force of the finger press into a hammer action against a ribbon that leaves an impression of ink on the paper — — — while the computer does nothing to recognise the force of the blow to the button it simply registers it in an on off zero and one sense and continues along a long process of uncountable binaries before it renders the letters that have been hit onto the screen — — — you could say that the computer still thinks and the typewriter simply acts — — — now it could be argued that I am simply not seeing the blind physical actions and processes that accompany the rendering of prose on a computer — — — and that each action is as genuinely mechanical and physical as the actions that render the typewriter ink on the page — — — but i would argue that that is the whole point that i can see and feel one process while the other is invisible — — — and so i am forced to think differently about the act of writing with both — — — i am tempted to enter into magical thinking with the computerand there is no greater magic spell than switch it off and switch it on againwhile the typewriter is all reminding me of the brute nature of the process — — — and there’s the sound that the typewriter makes as well — — — i used to have an electronic typewriter — — — which could be argued makes the process less visible too but it made up for that with the hum it made when it was switched on and the intense crashing noise it made with each key press not my own force — — — of course but there was still that physical page on the other side and the noise compensated for the lack of process — — — it was a good enough simulation of a manual typewriter — — — and i wrote poems on it that i would read to audiences while bellowing into the mic diving onto my knees and punching myself in the side of the head — — — which no audience particularly enjoyed but at least I was bringing something of the initial process of writing into the shared moment — — — and i am glad that there was no youtube in the time that i was a young angry poet — — — though I could at least say that i was rendering something of the will that manifested in the writing — — — perhaps i was trying to turn myself into a human typewriter as a punched myself in the head as I recited my pre typed words — — — in that sense i was not just rendering the content of my writing but i was also rendering the intensity of the moment of creation — — — whereas nowadays when we write on a network connected computer we are thinking of all the minds that are already connected to the machine and their overeagerness to judge — — — the skittishness of the writer not wanting to be part of a twitter storm from the moment they start pressing the keys — — — and it is this skittishness and hyper moralising that is ultimately presented on the stage instead — — — which creates something guarded and strategic in the performance — — — and i dont punch myself on stage any more because i am forty and i have a family — — — and i cant think of anything more imbecilic than sustaining concussions or the kind of injury suffered by rugby players and boxers through the pastime of performing poetry — — — i think its actually time for me to sit down when i perform because im planning on hitting a creative peak in my fifties — — — and you dont need a former gardener punching himself in the side of the skull in order to remind us of the vital primal energies that are involved in the act of creation — — — nor do you need a twenty something similarly beating the audience over the head with moral injunctions because their moment of creation was born of an immediate ensnarement in a wafer thin but omnipresent superego