Polly's pages (aka 'Donna Williams')

Ever the arty Autie

ARTISM blog – art work of the month – June 09 “At The Typewriter”


At The Typewriter by Donna Williams This month’s art work is titled ‘At The Typewriter“.

And it was at the typewriter that I began to find I could express something more than echoed speech.  I was about 9 years old when a typewriter was left in my room for my discovery.  Being a child with extreme Exposure Anxiety, I was reticent about it.  Surely it was an attempt to test me out, to get me to accept it, and clearly it was of ‘their world’, not mine.  But in time I can to press its letter buttons and metal rods rose up and typed letters onto the carriage.  In time I found it had acquired paper and to my horror, when I typed, the letter remained on the page.  But as nobody came running, no social invaders circled this new beast, I continued to type letters until I had long strings of them, line after line.

Then something wonderful happened.  Amidst the letter strings was the word ‘bob’ and I had read it out loud, felt it in my mouth and realised I could type words the other way too.  I could say them, then type them.  And so I did.  From bobobobobbobobobobo to catacatacatacat and then came word lists.  I had acquired volition over speech and had learned to think then type.

Three years later, I could type poetry.  So the painting of the typewriter is a memorial to being a child with a typewriter and how a machine taught me what people could not and how solitude was my classroom, and how all our lives are long strings of ‘if only X, Y and Z’ in some funky roll of the dice.  The purple of the work is because the room back then was purple, a color I feared but which I’ve come to accept.  She is faceless because I am faceblind and because I experience far more in people’s movements without attending to faces.  It is painted in acrylic paint onto cloth which is very unusual to paint on. It is flanked either side by patterned silver vinyl which I think I chose because the memory the painting is derived from is a sacred one.

I hope you enjoy the painting.  It is one of a series I did last year, the rest of which you can see in my online gallery.


Donna Williams *)