One of the great things about Twitter is the peaceful, meandering jaunt on which I often find myself. A few gentle scrolls of my mouse and away I go, clicking on a retweet to a website that, until this moment, was foreign.
That’s precisely how, earlier this year via Twitter, I stumbled upon the typewriter poetry of Tyler Knott Gregson. With analog typography and emotions so stark and searing you find yourself, at times, holding your breath while reading, Tyler’s blog has become a popular destination for writers, readers, lovers, and creators. (He’s even popular on Pinterest. Tyler’s Typewriter Series board has nearly 18,000 followers.)
After several hours clicking through his previous works, the charities he supports, his awe-inspiring outdoor photography, and his life living with Asperger syndrome, the journalist in me had a handful of questions for Tyler. Not the least of which included: How do you do all of this? What’s the source of your continual creativity? And why are you drawn to typewriters?
Read on for my recent Q&A with Tyler Knott Gregson.
WT: Let’s begin with your background. Where did you grow up, and where do you call home today?
TKG: I grew up all over the United States as my dad was in professional baseball. We would live half the year in Montana, where I currently live, and the other half wherever my dad’s team happened to be that year. We traveled A LOT growing up, non-stop.
Describe a few of your fondest childhood memories, ones that you reflect upon and revisit even today.
Holidays always stand out, as they’ve always been huge to my family and they never really lost the magic. Besides that, the way I grew up was so inspiring because we were constantly on the go and constantly meeting new people in new places. Seeing the whole range of the country.
Typewriter Series #620 by Tyler Knott Gregson
When did you first begin to dabble in poetry?
I think, besides writing poetry for elementary school projects and such, my first poetry written for no other reason than for me just to write was when I was 12 years old. I loved it and it kind of took off and I haven’t stopped since. I just have too many words inside, and they have to come out.
When did you begin making your poetry public? And, what has been the response from readers?
I started blogging back in 2003 with Blogger and would occasionally share my poetry, but it wasn’t really until my Daily Haiku on Love series that people really began to notice and to read. I never expected the snowball effect that has occurred, and I am still shocked by it today. The response has been overwhelming and fantastic, but, as always, there are those who really don’t like what I do, or why I do it. People like what they like and they don’t what they don’t, and so I’ve always just written for me, because it helps me.
How do you create your poems? Do you own a typewriter and scan your works? Is it Photoshop? Something else?
I use a Remington Rand Seventeen typewriter (made in 1928, I believe) and I use scraps of paper I find all over the place to type the poetry on. Then I scan them in, and make them into files I can post online. It’s all done analog until I need to get them on the computer.
I understand that you live with Asperger’s. Tell me more about this condition and how it impacts your life.
I think the things inside us all that make us who we are — be they disabilities, conditions, whatever — are what will turn us into the people we are meant to be. I think my creativity comes from this. From the fact that I don’t have a filter and I feel and see things ‘uncensored,’ in a way. I have always believed it is part of what allows me to see the world as magic, all the time. Fresh eyes, always fresh eyes I am seeing things through.
Typewriter Series #602 by Tyler Knott Gregson
What is your philosophy as a creative? How do you approach creative projects?
I have always believed that true creativity comes from not being taught how to do it. I know many would disagree, but for me, I was always terrified when it comes to creative endeavors, that being taught by someone would inherently make my creative work like theirs. It would be painted in their hues, sound like their words, or resemble their photographs.
I never wanted that, so I self-taught myself on everything. I think creativity is just letting all the things inside you out, and trying your best not to filter them.
Share with me details of your work as a photographer.
I have a photography company, TreehousePhotography.org, with my amazing and wonderful partner, Sarah Linden. We shoot mainly weddings, but we photograph everything and we do so all over the world. It’s an absolute joy and it’s our most favorite thing to do and we love traveling and meeting new people. What an amazing thing to be with people on their absolute best days.
His eyes are smiling: Tyler Knott Gregson wears a beanie in support of the charity Krochet Kids.
Complete the following sentence: “On a cold and snowy Sunday afternoon, I prefer nothing more than …”
Drinking a ton of tea, looking out my big front windows, and watching the snow fall down on to the city below me. Reading a book, watching a movie, laying under a blanket, and just taking a deep breath.
Favorite comfort food?
Once again I would probably have to say tea. I love tea: cold, hot, whatever, I love it. And avocados. I love avocados.
Name three books that have taught you the most.
The book that got me started on Buddhism: The Teachings of Buddha. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. And the last is technically a young adult book, but The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.