Saturday, February 23, 2019

Typewriter repair at the museum

It was exciting to get a request to make a "house call" for typewriter repair this morning at the Contemporary Arts Center in downtown Cincinnati—a dramatic building designed by Zaha Hadid.

Upstairs, an installation by artist Calcagno "Cal" Cullen includes four Smith-Coronas.

Two of them invite visitors to type on an endless loop of paper:

I showed Cal that we could remove the paper from the typewriters without breaking the loop by pulling out the platens.

The other Smith-Corona invites visitors to write letters to random people in New York.

Finally, a Courier that has typed "OK OK OK OK OK ..." is mounted on the wall:

The three typewriters in use all needed some cleaning, but the biggest problem was that one of the brown machines was skipping badly. A couple of adjustments to the escapement fixed the trouble. It looked like some visitors had really been pounding on the keys.

Here are a few more views of the exhibition:

You never know where typewriters will bring you!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Analog College

high tech

Florida Polytechnic University's bookless "library":

Typewriters are technology.

Smart speakers are evil.

Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio)

Walker Library of the History of Human Imagination (Stamford, Connecticut)

St. John's College

Saturday, February 2, 2019

COLD HARD TYPE: We're going to 2 volumes!

What I initially imagined as a fun little vanity project among a group of typospherian friends has struck a chord throughout the world of typewriter lovers, including many whom I never knew before this project got underway. We and our writing machines have evidently been itching to write, and COLD HARD TYPE was the provocation we were waiting for. (Don't know what I'm talking about? Read all about it here.)

We have now received story submissions from 90 people, poems from 7 people, and illustrations from 15 people. The typists live in the US, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Australia, Thailand, and elsewhere. Their range of styles and approaches is fascinating. 

I am very lucky to have the help of my co-editors, Frederic S. Durbin and Andrew V. McFeaters. We have done our best to review submissions promptly and to provide constructive criticism. It will take us a while to review the large number of submissions that have arrived near the deadline.

Thanks to the high volume of good work that we have received, I can now announce that we plan to publish TWO volumes simultaneously. Tentatively, one volume will mainly tell tales about the process of digital collapse, and another will mainly envision conditions in a world where digital technology is gone. Our goal is to keep each volume to a reasonable length and an affordable price. (This is not a for-profit operation. The books will cost no more than what it costs for them to be printed on demand and mailed.)

However, if we published everything that we have received, or even the majority of the pieces, the number of books would multiply further, and we would have to work intensively with many authors to help them get their work into publishable form. This is not feasible.

From this point forward, then, in cases where we think a piece has promise but needs substantial rewriting, we are going to have to turn it down. If this is our decision in your case, I hope that the experience of writing has been fun and valuable, even though your work did not get published this time. Many famous and accomplished authors have experienced rejections before finding success. This is part of the labor and love of writing. Keep on typing!

If you submitted a piece but did not get an acknowledgment from me that I received it, please e-mail me ( to inquire. It is a challenge to keep track of everything that has been arriving.

If I acknowledged that I received your piece but you have not heard anything further, please be assured that we will be reviewing your work carefully. You will eventually receive either a “yes” (perhaps with a few suggestions for final polishing) or a regretful “no.” 

If you have already received a “yes,”  your final, typewritten submission is due on April 2. Follow the latest version of the guidelines. Remember that you are producing actual pages for a printed book, so type and proofread with care.

If we have neither accepted nor rejected your piece, but have suggested revisions, I must receive your revised piece on March 15 at the latest. (Earlier will be appreciated.) Please note that, for the reasons I’ve given, your revision will have to be of outstanding quality in order to make it into the published volumes.

If you are unsure about whether we accepted your piece, simply ask me.

I believe that the two volumes of COLD HARD TYPE are going to be entertaining and thought-provoking for many, many readers, for years to come.