Sometimes repurposing means nothing more than looking around and seeing the new in the old.
There’s a certain romance to typewriters. Every letter becomes audible with the press of a key. The progress of our words across the page becomes tangible. Each keystroke is held in reverence for narrowly escaping the inevitable mistake. All practicality aside, I had always wanted a typewriter.
When I inherited a mint green Hermes typewriter from my Grandmother, I could consider nothing more perfect. The funky color augmented the retro style, adding quirk to an otherwise uninteresting relic of the past. It needed nothing more than a new ribbon and I was on my way to nonsensical nostalgia, until I met the “p” key.
The lowercase “p” key will not strike the page. No amount of gusto or fury will convince that little “p” to make his impression upon the world. One faulty key has rendered this beauty useless.
My husband suggests I write a novel comprised of words without the letter “p”. Or better yet, he suggests, go ahead and write as usual, just make each letter “p” uppercase. It would make for a great story when the publishers come calling, he quips.
For now, my typewriter dreams are on hold until I can haul him in for a tune up. It would be a shame, however, for this heirloom to reside in a box collecting dust.
There are times when “repurposing” requires absolutely no handy work. It simply requires us to look at the old and imagine its new setting within our lives. This mint green typewriter made an appearance at my wedding, holding a letter from the bride and the groom thanking guests for sharing the day with us. Now, he anchors a bookshelf in my office, a reminder to write everyday just for the love of it.
Lack of function is not a hard and fast boundary to reuse. With a little creativity, the old and useless becomes purposeful again.