Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Typecasting

































Exhibit A is a page from Robert Shields's obsessive, decades-long diary. Exhibit B is Thomas Pynchon's letter in defense of Ian McEwan. (Both via various sources.)

This year I've been using the typewriter much more than in the past. I realized that even when I diligently entered notes into the computer, I'd rarely open the files (and almost never print them). I wanted something that was nearby, always "on"—I always keep a sheet of scrap paper in the typewriter—backs of the drafts of articles, junk mail, etc. The notes coalesce into a stack that' easily manageable and a lot of fun to go through—I also just like the way it looks: instantly ancient (and thereby invested with enormous meaning).

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of typewriter is that?

4:02 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Hi Adam — it's an old Royal, very heavy, but pretty sturdy. A picture is rumored to have surfaced here:

http://nyghost.blogspot.com/2006/10/issue-2-available.html

9:35 PM  
Blogger Thomas Beard said...

Have you ever seen Autumn Leaves? It's this Robert Aldrich melodrama starring Joan Crawford, and in one scene her emotionally maladjusted boyfriend crushes her hand with typewriter. It's amazing. Totally sadistic, even for Crawford.

11:17 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Ouch! (If this typewriter ever fell off the table and onto my foot — GOOD NIGHT!) This suggests another Dizzies contest — BEST TYPEWRITER MOVIES?!

Naked Lunch...All the President's Men...uhh...

12:33 AM  
Blogger Laird Hunt said...

Quite a few years ago I inherited a black Remington portable that my Grandfather had used to right social work reports in Indiana in the 30s. I went through a good long period (including a page a day project that I kept up for a while) when everything I wrote went through it first. Alas, the advent of the Powerbook sucked me away from it. What's especially lovely though is that there it still sits, in perfect shape, lovely and shining, in need only of a new ribbon, while my computers die over and over again like strange white flies.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Laird Hunt said...

That's "write" -- oops. Though there was a good deal of righting implicit in his brief.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Ed said...

Alas!

And: I might soon have to join the typewriter-only ranks, as my laptop is making disturbing clicking noises...Lately this has prefaced complete, unsaved-document-losing meltdown....

Also — this is addictive, for platen people: http://staff.xu.edu/~polt/typewriters/index.html

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I was in college I used my grandfather's typewriter, a Corona, one of the tiny ones from the twenties, that he used to type up his Minnesota farming and banking reports. Then I gave it back to my mother.

Laird, I miss your blog. The Exquisite is just that.

Ed, Naked Lunch is the best typewriter movie of the post-typewriter era. The worst in the past ten years is Deconstructing Harry, its turd-brown Olympia still the best thing in the film.

2:58 AM  

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