In the spirit of various Internet traveling [item] projects (journals, cameras, etc.) I'd like to propose traveling type-writing, rules as follows:
- You must have in your possession a typewriter, or be able to lay hands upon one by June 23 a.k.a. Typewriter Day a.ka. the 140th anniversary of the first U.S. typewriter patent to Sholes.
- You must be able to use said typewriter.
- You must be able to send and receive mail, and be willing to pass your address to one other typist via email or other channel, and pass your general location to me at traveling.type at gmail . com for route planning.
- You must be able to "sign up" someplace appropriate online. I like the NaNo topic linked above, though members don't need to be NaNo-ers.
- You must be able to afford postage.
- One June 23rd, take your typewriter and two blank pieces of paper to a public place. (Note for the shy: "public" can be interpreted as you like. Surrounded by your cats in your living room is fine.)
- Insert one piece of paper into your typewriter and Type Something Incomplete. Ideas: start of epic poem, short story, ode to someone walking past, ode to your typewriter, crazy luddite ranting, a treatise on the political inclinations of your cats.
- Remove paper from typewriter. Gasp in horror at typos and grammar flaws and stilted language and oh-my-God-did-I-really-write-that moments. Take deep breath and put down paper. Have a glass of wine or other Fortifying Beverage as needed.
- Insert other sheet of paper into typewriter, placing a LOG heading on it. Leave a little author's biography or whatever meta-information you like: where/when you typed it, reactions of the public, ideas or apologies for the next author.
- The tough part. Gather up your sheets of paper and place in envelope. Mail to next typist on the list which will have been worked out in advance. Wait patiently for different letter to arrive from previous typist in chain. Repeat steps 2-4, appending your own genius to those that have gone before you: add to the main page, add to the log. If you complete a page, please number the page before starting a new one. Repeat until your own first pages come back to you. Gasp in wonder at finished product.
- Please aim for a prompt turnaround. One week, perhaps?
- Don't bundle up different works and send them en masse to the next author. Handle them as they come in, send them out one at a time. This involves a lot of mailing and postage fees (one stamp per bundle at least.)
- Don't write pages and pages and pages when it's your turn, try to keep the contributions (and postage) reasonable.
- Follow the "yes, and" improv rule. That is, when you receive a packet from previous typists, be sure to contribute in the spirit of the thing. Take what's gone before and add to it. Don't kill off characters or hopelessly mangle the hard work of those gone before. Always think "yes, and" then something else...
UPDATE: I have set up a new email account for this project since it's generated some interest. If you want to play, please send a note from your preferred contact email with your general location (e.g., state or province and country) to traveling . type at gmail . com This handles the "sign up online" requirement, so I've struck it out.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I appear to be an idiot, as I selected a name just one letter off from the Travelling Type (two els) blog and email address. Heartfelt apologies to the original TT and for any confusion.