Writing in the Street

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Street writers set up in New Orleans, by Leah @pse_udo_nym.


Street Writing is the practice of writing in the street for the public. It is a form of busking, or street performance. It can also be a service.

History

Bardic tradition in Europe includes travelling poets and writers, who performed their works to the public in the street environment. Also called Minstrels or Troubadours, they would travel from place to place, telling stories and performing poetry to make their living.

The advent of typewriters introduced a machine able to produce type on the spot.

India

Writing services in the street have a long tradition in India. Although now in decline, street typists on typewriters provided letter writing and cv writing services for the public. Calcutta featured a long row of street typists outside the high court [1].


Western World

Unsubstantiated reports of kids using typewriters in the street in San Francisco exist in the 60’s & 70’s. It’s only after the rise of computers, and dawn of the internet that history can be tracked. Demand for typewriters fell, and the machines became inexpensive.

Zach Houston first typewrited poetry on the streets on june 2005 in San Francisco. Lynn Gentry started street writing in 2008 in San Francisco. [2]

He inspired Christopher Heremlin to write in NYC who in turn inspired Luke Winter to write in London.

Practicality

Like any form of busking, street writing is a great way to make a practical use of your skills, build an audience, practice your craft and to earn money.

Depending on method of writing in the street, set up requirements are minimal. See Equipment and Identifying Writing Locations.

Chalking

street writing can be done in chalk on pavements with a donation bucket near by. Chalking, also called screeving, was mentioned in George Orwell’s 1933 text, Down and Out in Paris and London.