October 11, 2013

For the Love of the Typewriter

Over the last few years, I've kept up this blog, and I'm pretty sure i'm ready to retire it. It's a good memory bank of all my past experiences over the last seven years. Though there is still a part of me that doesn't want to retire it entirely. I still like to write my stories and then put it out for you all to read. But I don't think it gets the kind of readership that I would even want.

I'm thinking about opening up a new blog that will be typecast.

What is typecast?

I collect typewriters, there's no doubt about that. I've own three typewriters right now and a stenograph machine, two of which are working with a fourth on the way from Pennsylvania. I've owned two other typewriters since and those have gone away. My first typewriter ironically was something I owned briefly, for about maybe a day or two before I threw it out. It was a 1950's IBM electric that didn't work. I remember one of my teachers had known I had a thing for typewriters and allowed me to take it out of the storage bank where they kept all sorts of unused science equipment. I grabbed it, plugged it in and found that it didn't work. Brave Ms. Leslie tried to help me to get the thing to work, but that was to no avail. I think I found it frustrating and tossed it out into a trash can.

I recall a lot of my high school years whenever I was at my grandmother's place, there was mention of a long lost typewriter hidden somewhere in her basement. Her basement was a treasure trove of things from the 1950's and 1960s that as a child, I loved to dig through. I never found the thing though. My worry was that it was going to be an electric typewriter that I for the longest time never considered it to be a typewriter at all. I think on the basis of being electric.

Just before I left for college, there was a time when I worked for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, there was a typewriter that was in the office I worked in, it was an IBM Selectric II that I found worked marvelously. But to me, it still felt a little sterile to work with so I don't think I bothered too much.

In college, I wanted something a little different from working on the laptop which I had. I had been writing in this blog since 2006 and I wanted to get something that would set me apart in my work. So my freshman year, I put aside a little bit of money and bought my first typewriter. I have the receipt somewhere pinned up on my wall back home. It was a 1966 Royal Royalite that worked as if it had a mind of its own and never when I wanted it to. I think if anything, I never quite got the hang of working with it. It had a carriage shift and my weak little pinkies could never operate it properly so I had capitals all over the place but where they were supposed to be.

I think for awhile, there was something with my last ex-girlfriend who found that I had a typewriter and she had a typewriter as well, so the two of us would sit together writing on our machines.

I took a two year hiatus working in all sorts of weird jobs and when I moved back to Berkeley I brought my typewriter with me. I felt of all things to bring, guitars, books, bagpipes, I had to bring with me my typewriter. I left Berkeley with one and I came back with one. But six years of work on it, had left it in pretty bad shape, so I finally made the drop to upgrade my machine. I bought the Royal Quiet Deluxe from 1953 and then somehow, someone called me up telling me to come pick up two typewriters that they weren't using. One L.C. Smith that is still sitting on my shelf frozen and rusty. And a 1939 Underwood Silent Champion. The Silent opened my eyes again to the world of typewriters. Now, I think I might be on a collecting binge. I'm constantly on the lookout for a Corona 3 and an Optima, but for now, I happy with the Royal Quiet and the Underwood Silent.  I might use the Hermes Rocket for National Novel Writing month coming up soon.

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