Ode To The Typewriter

Tranquilpen By Tranquilpen, 18th Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

Captain Caprivi could think of only one way to free a bayonet that was stuck like this, he squeezed off a burst of three rounds of 9 millimeter parabelum, full metal jacketed bullets into the dead terrorists chest, The lightning fast rounds cut through the gaping wound left by the bayonet, the suction around the blade now expelled, threw the body several meters back towards the camp entrance... End of scene one.

Handwritten Copy About A story Like Wild Geese

The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it. ~Jules Renard, "Diary," February 1895
A writer's mind seems to be situated partly in the solar plexus and partly in the head. ~Ethel Wilson

I read somewhere recently that Godrej and Boyce, typewriter manufacturer based in Mumbai, India had only a small quantity of manual typewriters left in their warehouse and once depleted, they will start producing refrigerators instead. America, still have a limited requirement for them especially in prisons and schools.

It makes perfect sense why prison authorities would want to make use of them since this would severely limit inmates wanting to produce "more" than just poetry and short stories.
Getting access to illegal digital information is severely limited on a piece of mechanical office equipment like a typewriter.

My first and only typewriter is a used 1970 model Adler--Tipper, portable, which, when I
had bought it back in 1976, had set me back about $30, a small fortune for a young guy
earning $100 a month as a rookie cop.

I tapped out several movie scripts and a short story based on my experiences as a cop, Al Pacino,style none of which ever saw the light of day,but I was immensely happy ! I was writing.

During the last few years of the 1970's, I got some priceless writing coaching from a well
known, and celebrated South African novelist and movie script writer, Basil Stols, of whose classic S.A. musical films titled Lied in my Hart has been remade and released in 2011.

first there were fears that the 70's story line,would not appeal to a younger audience.
However, it soon became evident that old adage: " Love conquers everything", is still as ever green as when it was written almost 2000 years ago. It topped local movie charts for a record period and received dozens of reviews.

As a rookie cop I was conscripted as a member of our country's first line of defense called the police brigade. The brigade's illustrious history spans the two world wars as well as the Korean campaign, immortalized by the long running MASH comedy hit series.

It was between stints of 3 to 6 months periodic call up duty, when Basil Stols first became inspired to start his movie script Captain Caprivi. My stories of life in the "bush", as South Africans called the Northern border area which we were sent to protect, and prevent terrorists from infiltrating.

During one of my visits to his home, he shared some rough, hand written copy of an almost mercenary kind of group, reminiscent of stories like Wild Geese or The Dirty Dozen.

Dusk creeping in from The Namib Desert...

My job was to give the story the necessary authenticity, based on my own hands on combat experience fighting in the very same war. I helped create the five characters which were based on actual living officers,some alive at the time and some post posthumously.

The sounds and smells of carnage both during and in the aftermath were painfully real.In the process, Basil had written the character of the Chinese colonel in command of the enemy camp, Ling Fu, with me in mind. Colonel Ling Fu who captures the renegade group and displays some uniquely authentic torture methods, is on screen for about 30 minutes.

In the process I was given rare glimpses behind the scenes of the life of an author. After completion of the script for Kaptein Caprivi I was flown to Brigadiers Studios in Johannesburg South Africa where I joined several salted actors like Will Sealy, Ken Hare and a few newcomers.The day of the screen test went off without a hitch and the actors were signed up.

A week before shooting on location, I was called back to police Head quarters with orders to ship out, for real, to the border where my unit had taken some serious hits and all qualified personnel had to fly out on a kind of rescue mission.A back up actor, Manny Parks was hastily contacted to take my place.

The director Albie Venter offered me the starring role in a forthcoming thriller with a corny sounding title, My Brother's Glasses, which as it turned out, was a box office hit.
The actor who played my part, Cobus Rossouw, made his film debut in that movie and went on to star in dozens of local and international movies. I was kept busy with border duties for three more years and sort of dropped out of the movie business completely.

I did write a kind of sequel to Kaptein Caprivi which I gave Basil Stols, since the story was based on the surviving characters he had created for his movie. I can still remember my opening line: "Dusk creeping in from the Namib desert, and shading the plains with purple, in the distance, the mournful cry of a fish eagle...

The film was never made,but the memories of writing those plots, making the characters spring to life in new and unheard of sets of circumstances acting out daring and death defying sequences, all aimed at leaving the reader and viewer alike, breathless with anticipation,are etched into my memory for ever, at times the keys of my Adler Tipper would rattle with the urgency of a machinegun.It felt as though the age of the portable typewriter would last for ever, but my faith in its longevity soon turned out to be unfounded.

The sad day came when it had to be replaced by a newer version, the laptop, but that space age piece of electronic gadgetry, never had quite the same appeal to me as the adorable brown Adler--Tipper.without, which I would never have ventured into the fascinating world of writers.

If you love typewriters tell us all about it right here at wikinut.com


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author avatar Tranquilpen
As Andre' Hartslief, I strongly believe, that In life, there are no justified resentments.”We the old legends will become relics and fade away, while new giants emerge in our world of sobering truths.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
19th Sep 2011 (#)

I loathe typewriters, and I stand in awe of anybody's ability to use one. I would not write a word if it were not for the inventions of the keyboard and spellcheck! Great post Tranquilpen - I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
19th Sep 2011 (#)

Thank you Steve for reading, glad you enjoyed it my friend.

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
19th Sep 2011 (#)

Your story took me back to painful days learning to use a typewriter as a Civil Servant at the Air Ministry in London; tapping away with the keyboard covered under the stern eye of a training school supervisor. I must read your story again, it contained so many fascinating details of your life.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
19th Sep 2011 (#)

Well hello Ivyevelyn, so nice of you to stop over my friend. Yes those were the days indeed. I need some more of that, tapping away under the watchful eye of the training school super. Conjures up some fascinating thoughts... :-))

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author avatar Vernazoa
19th Sep 2011 (#)

I could not find a typewriter two years ago at a reasonable price. It is a dying art.
This is a great article. I am catching up on you tonight. I love your intelligence.

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author avatar Buzz
20th Sep 2011 (#)

I learned typing from my grandfather's old Remington (if I remember it correctly) typewriter. It was tough pressing the keys with the fingers.:D Really enjoyed reading the narration of your wartime exploits, my friend, and your foray into writing with Adler. Wish I could write like you.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
20th Sep 2011 (#)

What a great compliment Thank you Buzz. Just for the record, your writing ROCKS.

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author avatar White haired one
28th Sep 2011 (#)

A very enjoyable read tranquilpen
you are a master wordsmith.

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