Saturday, July 16, 2022

A few typewriters at City Lights Books

I’m in San Francisco for an afternoon and stopped at the legendary City Lights bookstore. Just browsing here makes me feel smarter and more civilized.

I bought some stories by Chekhov and Kelly Link, and this magazine that caught my eye for obvious reasons. 

The premise of The First Line is that the magazine provides a sentence, and writers submit stories that begin with that line. 

I also enjoyed seeing this shot of Frank O’Hara with a Royal portable …

… and this dig at Kerouac. (City Lights has a whole floor devoted to the Beats and poetry.)

I’m sure the store is chock full of other typewriter material, but that’s all I’ve got for you today. 


  1. Truman Capote said something similar of Kerouac: "That's not writing, that's typing."

    1. Ah, yes! I knew that sounded familiar.

      I assume all readers of this blog know about the continuous roll on which Kerouac typed On the Road at a feverish pace.

  2. I'm just south of the city and I can see the fog bank hugging SF. Hope you packed a thick sweater! My sister calls San Francisco The City of Year-Round Wool. PS really like the premise of The First Line.

  3. Hit City Lights in about 1998 and picked up one of WSB's "little books". A lotta stuff there I had no idea existed. :D

  4. I didn't know about The First Line. It jumped at me that the cover image is of an early Olivetti Lettera 22 with a French-Canadian keyboard. Thanks!
    Daniel Burgoyne