Tuesday with Thalia: Poetry and Typewriters

Children, gather round. You really cannot miss this fabulous silly poem. I give you:

The Typo

‘Nitgub,’ said the typewriter,
and clenched the paper tight.
‘Nitgub positively.
It is here in black and white.’
‘Nonsense,’ I said.
‘I typed N-O-T-H-I-N-G;
the word of course was nothing,
simply nothing, don’t you see?’
‘Nothing may be what you meant,
but nitgub’s what you wrote.
I like it,’ said the typewriter.
‘It strikes a happy note.
It has more style than nothing,
has a different sort of sound.
The colour is superior;
the flavour’s nice and round.
Have you plumbed its deepest depths,
its mysteries explained?’
‘All right,’ I said, ‘I’ll take it.
Nitgub ventured, nitgub gained.’

~Russell Hoban.

Jointly with my Dusty Thane, I have a typewriter. So does Terpsichore. We know about typos. They aren’t the happy things with little red squiggles underneath that perhaps you are now accustomed to. Decadent, indolent, you; you trust your computer and not your hands and mind! But recall. I know we have readers who will remember even more frustration that I have had. Recall the periodic squinching of your paper, always when your thoughts finally ran free. Recall the sticking of two adjacent keys you depressed simultaneously in haste. Recall the caffeinated blackening of the corners of your world as deadlines loomed, machines jammed, and fingers quivered above keys in miscalculated zeal. Yes, you know.

Now my dears. Isn’t this refreshing! See how it casts frustration into a new light, the firelight of happiness? Of course, I doubt if an employer or a professor would take such an experimental innovation as ‘nitgub’, but that really just shows how narrow minded they are, does it not? Really, until you have plumbed these depths, and tasted the roundness, how can you know? Embrace the silly. Nitgub ventured, nitgub gained.

1930’s style, and just like mine.


3 thoughts on “Tuesday with Thalia: Poetry and Typewriters

  1. Nitgub… the typewriter is in the right, here. That is a fantastic word… nitgub, nitgub.

    I am typewriterless. I have always found the texture of pen on paper to be my writing drug of choice. It’s far messier, and plays merry hell with my dyslexia (“oops, that g was supposed to be a d… again”), but that seductive line drawn across the whiteness, and the soft sound of contact… no clicking, just a scratch as of rustling leaves.
    However, I am hopelessly decadent and use my computer as well. 😉

    • Well, I can say nitgub against the call of paper and pen. 🙂 But typewriters are inspiring in their own way. If you want to write of modernity, machines, and man, you really need the click of typewriters… Ha, look at me siren singing of another thing you’d have to spend money on…
      But really what I love is the word nitgub.

      • I cannot argue with that. I like the feel and sound of typewriters too, but I doubt I would use it enough to justify owning one. After all, few of my stories have modern settings.

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