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This is wonderful. Thanks for sharing it with us.

What a tremendous post.

I have an ancient Remington Standard typewriter (from the 1920s, I think) resting in a place of honor in my bedroom, and I've long wanted a 1970-era Selectric. There's something about the curves and the sound of that machine that I just love.


There is something to that Selectric PhlthpPOW!, isn't there?

Rod Jellema was a true teacher. He saw so much potential in me that when I balked at taking a class at the Writers Center, he offered to loan me the money. I didn't take him up on it, but it was the gesture that meant everything in the world. All young writers should have a Rod Jellema in their life.

He did have a thing about that toothpaste metaphor.

Express yourself, hon. :)

Beautiful, as usual.

"Becoming a writer is not a 'career decision' like becoming a doctor or a policeman. You don't choose it so much as get chosen, and once you accept the fact that you're not fit for anything else, you have to be prepared to walk a long, hard road for the rest of your days."

   - Paul Auster (Olympia SM9)

Nor are other creative efforts. My earliest memories confirm that I could never entertain the idea I would not be involved in/with music. In retrospect I realize couldn't even entertain 'entertaining' the idea because, for me there was no option.

I loved this post, O fabulist one.

Thankya, hon.

We're a compulsive pair, I think.

They're doing WHAT to old typewriters?


Thank you.

Yeah, I hate it, too. It seems cute, at first, until you realize that so many people have to have the "authentic" keys, cut from murdered typewriters, instead of the freely-available and extremely-presentable reproductions. Dumbasses.

You're welcome, too.

Jon still has his manual Hermes from his college days in the early 70's. My mom used to have one of those jazzy red Olivetti's from the late 60's. I don't know what happened to it but if I ever find it I'll definitely hold onto it. Before that she had a real heavy Royal from the 1950's--I could barely whack the keys on it when I was a kid.

They called it *the Valentine*

Wow, your posts are like a reward for something. Thanks.

That's the work of Ettore Sottass, one of the industrial design titans.

When I'm famous, I'll get me one.

I know. I LOVE his stuff!

Just taking a moment to say: so glad I found you Joe. :)

Likewise, m'dear, likewise.

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If not, maybe they'll write through you.

Liberate that manual, hon, and hang it on the wall, as a talisman.

I really wanted a new typewriter for my birthday. I gave my remington away when i moved. Stupid stupid stupid idea. I miss it. Ideas just don't come as easy on a computer. I was also thinking that my next tattoo will be of a typewriter. I love those damn machines and their clacking sounds is such sweet music to my ears.

It's a beautiful, beautiful sound.

If you get a typewriter tat, get a Hermes 3000 and send me a picture! :)

Hermes 3000

You know Joe, for about $30 (shipping included) you can find your perfect Hermes 3000 waiting for you on eBay right now. It's in Arkansas (insert your own unfailry bad joke about the certain lack of mileage on a literary instrument in hillbilly country here).

Better it be treasured than trashed....

There's been a run on Hermes gear on eBay, except for the lesser (but still rather nice) Baby and Rocket portables, and they keep getting bid way up into the $50-$75 range, which is out of my realm until I get a job. Luckily, I've got a loaner for now.

And yesirree, better treasured.

Thanks, hon.

"But I'm allowed," I said, as the class laughed, "and I'm dysgraphic."

Magificent as always, Joe.

Thank you, Bill. This is one of the "had to write it" sort of posts, one more compulsion.

You are so amazing!


I'm all swoony with the memory of how the Selectric sounds. *sigh*

Best electric typewriter sound EVER, dear heart.

Thank you so much for sharing another wonderful writing! And secondarily for the tribute to the typewriter.

For 45 years I earned my living banging on typewriters. Other people's words, but that let me into other people's worlds, too. I learned to type on my godmother's manual. My brother and I typed the final manuscript of one of her published books. She paid us to type it as a means of encouraging us to acquire the skill.

Manual was replaced by one of those huge, heavy IBM workhorses during the first year of my first job. Not long after began the glorious era of the Selectric. For one brief period I had to use a Wheelwriter. I was a super-fast typist and I remember how that delayed action/sound disturbed my wa unbearably. In that respect the Selectric was just wonderful. You couldn't type too fast for it. It kept up with you. And the magic of the typeface Elements. I used the Orator for the first time to type some speeches for Mayor Lindsay in New York. I actually bought several (unaffordably expensive) Elements for personal use on office machines.

In time I inherited a small Selectric from some project or another and had the use of it at home. One year when we went absolutely broke I sold that lovely machine for $100 and couldn't be sorry because it "made" a wonderful Christmas for my young son and the rest of the family.

Can't live without the computer now. I don't think it has really changed, or eased, the process of writing. It has freed us from whiting out and retyping. What I appreciate most about it is that it allows the mind to spill faster. I can't bear not being able to retrieve a thought or a phrase because I was writing something else while it was hovering around my brain.

For all that, there was something about using a manual typewriter that is lost. I loved the feel of the treadle sewing machine, too.

Thanks for that thoughtful and detailed response, hon.

It's funny that I've started to feel nostalgic for Selectrics, because in their day, I always just thought "ugh, what a huge, ugly, soulless machine." It seems that we get more soulless by the day, though, so it's all relative.

The feel doesn't have to be lost, though. I'm not entertaining the notion of shifting back to those days, per se, but the idea of spending an afternoon here or there working out a poem or essay to the tune of "clack clack clack clack DING schwwwip clack clack clack…" sounds a lot like a nice form of meditation.

i was there last weekend...

i had a typewriter when i was a child.
i am not sure why, and it was not a very good one, but it was so lovely until the day something about it broke, and my parents took it away. i remember searching the house for it for weeks.

Scaggsville's not what it was, but give it a nice beep on the horn for me when you go through, will you?

Parents do some of the most Iron Curtain things, sometimes, don't they?

i don't know... i don't imagine the part of scaggsville i was in had changed much. little run-down houses with lawn ornaments and broken toys in the front yards, but cheery all the same..

You really do have a way of painting a picture with your words

Thank you most kindly, hon.

beautiful, heartfelt, poignant, crisp. love this.
I covet a typewriter at Minas in Hampden. I don't know the brand or anything, its black, its old, almost shaped like a piano-i want it.
Every reading I go to I almost touch it. But I am afraid I would just not let go.

Somewhere I have a typewriter porn site-beautiful, expensive old typewriters.

Isn't it frustrating when you realize the value of something just a teeney too late. Years ago when we were packing up our high school to move to another building...poor old Baltimore Experimental High School...we found boxes and boxes of old 78 records, fat, brittle plastic. Heavy. Easy to shatter. Less to carry. We shattered, we flung like frisbees, we demolished boxes and boxes of them under the barely disguised tunnel to the church across the street, that we learned later that day, was part of the Underground Railroad. Even now I cringe when I hear that splitting crackle of all those records disintegrating on the stone basement floor. I can't go back and undo our choice although I wish I could. But i try to make better choices now.

I know the feeling, with those records, and can't even bring myself to confess some of my youthful atrocities.

Thankya, hon.

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Thankya, sir. I'm glad to inspire, when I can, but you're pretty readable already.

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I could, but I think I probably already do enough insane anachronistic stuff, mister. ;)

Mrs. Lanier was oddly fun, though, wasn't she? Irritable, but with a certain spark.

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