The more you learn about this world, the stranger it gets. Every book I read these days seems to be telling me that everything is connected to something I could never imagine. It’s a universal story. I just finished the third book by Yuval Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. He wrote it in 2018, and he said a lot about Russian and Ukraine. I’m not saying he predicted the war, but maybe he did, if you read between the lines. Harari was very concerned with AI, but so far I doubt that there is any computer that can predict what Putin is thinking. That is too bad in one way, but a relief in another. Back at the library, I stumbled (I’m forever stumbling) on a very interesting book about Ernest Hemingway, who may have been an NKVD (KGB) agent. So far it is more interesting than any of Hemingway’s novels! I also recently stumbled upon a Hermes 3000 that had no ribbon cover. It was one of the last models, all plastic, but inside the same as the originals. Why they changed the casing beats me. If they had to switch to plastic, they could have simply made it look like the first, or second generation, but instead they rose to their level of aesthetic incompetence. Then I stumbled upon some coffee that oddly enough was connected to somebody who I sold a typewriter to, several years ago. So I had to write a little thing about some of these connections, to keep up my typing skills and to bond with my topless H3K.
I made a lid out of cardboard – ugly I admit, but it is a lid of sorts.
In 1976 I had the good fortune to have lunch with Deiter Rams at the Braun Headquarters in Kronberg, Germany.
Rams gave me a tour of their design department where they were working on the latest Nizo Super 8 movie camera, among other things. I have owned lots of Braun products, like the coffee grinders, and the wall clock and alarm clock, as well as Braun electric shavers. I still own an old series 3000 shaver that continues to work well, but for the fact that I stopped shaving again and grew a beard. I was surprised however, when last week I spotted a Braun wristwatch in a consignment store for $18. I liked the look of it, and being an admirer of Braun products I decided to buy it. I pried the back off with some difficulty and replaced the battery (379) and it began to work. When I did some research I discovered that Rams didn’t design this watch, but it sure looks like something he would have designed.
I asked Rams why all the Braun products came only in white, or black, and he just said that was how it was. In other words, “it is what it is”. I wasn’t sure if I got it back then, but I recently read an excellent explanation of “it is what it is” in “The Log of the Sea of Cortez” about John Steinbeck’s sea voyage to the Gulf of California in 1939 with his friend Ed Ricketts. I am told that Ricketts actually wrote much of that book, but that Steinbeck got all the credit. So I am not sure who wrote the part on “it is what it is”, but it was fascinating nevertheless.
This from our national broadcasting corporation, or as my old friend from 6th grade use to call it – The Canadian Broadcorping Castration:
Take this, language experts!
We had a powwow with some savages. It was spooky how the lame crippled gypsy and the black sheep brainstormed how to sell their spirit animals down the river, like a first world problem. Gypped, I knew it was third world blackmail, but they had a tone deaf blind spot when it came to the tribe. If I hadn’t been grandfathered in, I’d still be In the Ghetto, like Elvis.
Every November for the past ten years I’ve sat down with typewriter and written 50,000 words (at least) about something. First there were novels, and eventually there was a memoir, then an account of my hike around Mont Blanc. Two trilogies later (one with a 4th book), a humorous philosophical tale, and a variety of things have come from my mind onto paper. I spent a year of spare time editing only one of these, and many hundreds of hours editing every last thing I have written to date. Since writing two books last year, one in November and another that followed right on the heels of that, I have had in the back of my mind that this November I would just sit down and do it again. Then it hit me that I really didn’t have to do it again. I decided to allow myself to fail. What a relief! The fact remains that at this moment I don’t have much to say. Part of the problem is that after you have written a lot of books, there comes a realization that you can do it if you want to, but there’s nothing to prove anymore. It would have been great if my books had shot to the top of the best seller list, but that only happens with the rarity of lottery winning, and from what I observe a lot of best sellers are pure crap. I don’t want the life of a professional author anyhow, running all over the place promoting their work and listening to people who don’t have a clue discussing the meaning of it.
What I am missing is the pleasure of having my Olympia Traveller on my lap and hammering out 1700 words a day, then reading what I wrote to my wife every night. One day I might write another fictional book, but my next writing project will be to finish up the book I started long ago about how to build a guitar. Now that might sell, as the world seems to be filled with aspiring guitar builders these days. Where do they all come from? Why are there so many more guitars than guitar players? Do pianists all own a dozen pianos?
So, to keep up my typing dexterity and to taste the pleasure of putting words to paper I’ve been writing poems every Friday night after the pizza. My wife writes one too, on her sole typewriter – a 1953 Oliver #4 – one of the cutest and best typewriters ever conceived (and I’ve owned 200 of them). Unlike me, she’s perfectly content with one good typewriter. I still have to restrain myself from adding to the collection however, which stands at 97 today. I have one up for sale however, which is proof that I’m not hoarding them, right? Every year we design our own Christmas card and write a poem for the inside. I’m working on that now, but the poem takes the most work. To get into practice I wrote a couple of poems off the top of my head, which will very likely not be suitable for the Christmas card, but might be good enough for this blog. Well, maybe not but I wrote them so I’m going to put them up.