Thursday, December 28, 2023

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Thanksgiving typing

Several years ago, I gave this repainted early Quiet-Riter to the next-door neighbor boy who was eager for a typewriter. 

When attending the neighbors’ Thanksgiving feast, I was glad to see that they had the typewriter out for guests to write a collective poem. The kids were especially enthusiastic. 

This young boy needed help finding the right keys. 

The result began with a rhyme scheme, but ended up … otherwise. 

Try this at your next gathering!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Author Ed Park on typewriters

I've known writer and editor Ed Park for some 25 years, thanks to our mutual interest in eccentric mystery writer Harry Stephen Keeler. He's just published Same Bed Different Dreams, a delightful and multilayered novel about Korean (alt-)history, a Korean war vet who writes SF, a tech company called GLOAT, the assassination of President McKinley, and the Buffalo Sabres hockey team, among other things.

Ed was recently interviewed on Mark Hurst's "Techtonic," a show on WFMU that's appropriately suspicious and critical of the influence of Big Tech on our lives. You can listen here (I recommend clicking on "Pop-up Player"). At 34:10, Ed describes his use of a typewriter.

(Transcribed on my Royal FP with Patrician type.)

Mark is certainly right: typewriters are technology too.

Ed kindly shared this portrait of himself at his Lettera 22, along with a couple of typescript pages for Same Bed Different Dreams

No, Ed did not compose his entire 500+-page novel on a typewriter, but it is a valuable part of his drafting and brainstorming process. As he says, you don't have to be a Luddite to appreciate a variety of technologies and benefit from the opportunities they offer us.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

A visit to Berkeley Typewriter & the Dayton type-in

The Berkeley Typewriter storefront:

Joe and Ken:

This ancient Remington no. 6 purrs like a kitten after Joe's ministrations:

I just love the color of this Empress.

Hermes Ambassador. Ken and I agreed that it's ugly but impressive:

Here's a spectacular gift from Tom Hanks (who called it a Selectric but we'll let that slide):

A couple of Olivers hanging out:

Every kind of ribbon you could want:

Yes, Ken uses WD-40. He says it's great and causes no problems if applied lightly.

I'd never heard of charcoal lighter as a cleaner. Ken sings its praises. Good thing he doesn't smoke.

Some Valentines stick out:

A '50s Smith-Corona electric portable getting a spa treatment:

A Personal Selectric getting overhauled:

Lots of special characters on this Olympia:

A typewritten portrait of Steve Jobs by Kelye Kneeland features text from the notorious "no more typewriters" memo in the background:

Thursday, October 12, 2023

The Human Words Project

Here's the abstract of Chris's talk:

“To Feel the Meaning": A Manual Typewriter Intervention Toward Authentic Written Language 

This workshop will be a facilitated encounter with mid-century manual typewriters as an exploration of the limits and affordances of machine-mediated analog text creation. Beginning with [Susanne] Langer’s 1957 tripartite definition of "living form"--dynamism, organism, and rhythm (p. 53) --the experience will consider what "authentic" written language is in the age of ChatGPT. The presenter will bring several exquisite manual typewriters from their personal collection for participant use during the workshop, and will make them available in the lounge for the duration of the conference for those who wish to experience them further individually. This typewriter encounter with the dynamic, organic, and rhythmic qualities of analog text creation will invite a renewal of our relation to language, and a re-engagement with previously-settled and newly-urgent questions about why we ask our students to write at all.