Category Archives: Books

Typewriter Hunting in Washington

As I have repeated here, perhaps too frequently, due to my last novel I became enamoured of the Royal 10. I did get one after some hunting, but I thought that they were hard to find – until last week. We spent a week as we often do this time of year in Washington, camping and of course scouring the many antique shops. So what did I find? Yes – many Royal 10’s!

how about a sign saying”type please”

Sadly I couldn’t own them all; the one I have is perfect for me, but if I didn’t already own one… well that might be different. One in particular was in beautiful condition, and it was the least costly. Go figure. It was a rebuild, too, as noted on one shift key – by Regal, on Varick Street, NYC.

rebuilt model

80 bucks, and broken!

All were post 1923 with single glass sides, some with the gauge on the right side, which I don’t know the purpose of. I’m sure someone reading this will educate us on that! It was ironic that so many typewriters in the wild have little signs forbidding typing – I’d like to see signs that say “type away”. Do these sellers think that a Royal 10 that has lasted for 80 years can be broken? How absurd!

note the various decimal tabs

There were other interesting oldies too:

1928 Underwood Universal

expensive broken folding Corona

The Corona folder was exciting to see, but it was not in working order and well over $100! Had it been working… maybe. One other new to me phenomenon in these old junk stores is the proliferation of the Erie iron pans, Griswold being the next big thing. Some shops had huge collections of these, priced into the hundreds! Imagine paying $100 for a frying pan when you could buy a Royal 10 for less. More absurdity!

We got as far as Portland and just happened to park one block from Powell’s Books, the largest bookstore I’ve ever been in – it’s like a department store – think a Walmart dedicated solely to books. One thing struck us; the foul language we heard coming from the mouths of people just talking on the street. I suppose all the books with swear words are simply indicative of the general debasement of language skills these days. But what’s with all the f*cking asterisks? Just spell it if you plan to use it. Only one author among many seemed to feel thus, which is commendable, although not admirable.

Portland reminded me of Seattle, except it’s flat. Aside from the cool bookstore I can’t say it was impressive. Lots of canyon streets that feel oppressively dark, and of course the usual sad cases of homelessness. No one pays attention any more. Not that this is uncommon here either, just that it emphasizes how our society in general has failed so many people.

The thing is, when it comes to all the pseudo-wisdom spouted in the endless river of self-help books, there is no solution to the real problems. It’s all focused on the self. The age of ME. F*ck off, self help authors!

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Filed under Books, Philosophy, Thrift shop finds, Travel, Typewriters, Uncategorized

Enter the Magic

very expensive Royal 10

the frontispiece de resistance

p.s. although I got some printed I haven’t yet published the book. I sent it to several agents who were too busy to even reject it! Woe to them when it sells a million copies!

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Filed under Books, Typewriters, Uncategorized, writing

Django, a Guitar & a Typewriter

Django Reinhardt, b. Jan 23 1910 sketch by djn

Last night we watched CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER on DVD which we found at our library. Needless to say it was riveting. Even my wife thought it was outstanding! Imagine a documentary starring Tom Hanks – what’s not to love? I really dig Tom, too, just as a regular guy. I was thrilled when he talked about his favorite Smith Corona Silent, knowing that I have the same model. It was like we were brothers, briefly. This is not to ignore all the other wonderful characters in the movie. I loved them all! Dr. Polt was magnificent! So ad lib, so cool, so hip, and how he typed the manifesto flawlessly (right Richard?). I could hardly sleep afterwards and even woke up in the middle of the night thinking about Smith Coronas. I have to point out another crazy coincidence, the opening scene in which a Royal 10 gets tossed from a car. My last novel is all about a Royal 10 with magic powers! Here am I looking to find one for myself and there they were casually throwing one out the window to it’s destruction. Ouch!!

So of course the challenge of the day is to try to combine all the things I love into a blog post. One must of course acknowledge this day as the birthday of the incomparable Django Reinhardt, first and foremost. Good thing tomorrow is nothing special, because Thursday is Robbie Burns’ Day, another incomparable character. I can hardly stand the excitement! I have come up with this – an excerpt from the first draft of my novel – An Engineer’s Guide to Paris, (available above from Createspace and Amazon) that was, of course, drafted on a typewriter. It features a scene whereby I imagined my protagonist discovering a letter inside the lining of an old guitar case…

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New Books Out

Here are all four of my novels to date. The first three are newly published. All are available through the links under the BOOKS page on the header above, or by clicking on the book title image. Support typewriting – all of these were laboriously crafted on typewriters until my fingers were numb!

cover-art-brainwaves-kindle-july-231.jpg

BRAINWAVES: Neuroscientist Robert Frank decides to experiment on himself when he discovers a way to cross the blood-brain barrier.

MATES AND MEN—A TRILOGY

The Sexy Synesthete: a rare medical condition leads Miles on a quest to discover meaning in his charmed but unfulfilled life.

The Short Fuse: the odyssey of Jerry, a man of little ambition sucked into a deadly game for which he is woefully unprepared and even less willing.

The Lost Friend: the sage ends in a package of thrills that carry on right to the final page.

AN ENGINEER’S GUIDE TO PARIS

Heller, a soon to be graduate engineer, goes to Paris for a short holiday before school is to commence. When his best friend doesn’t show up as planned, Heller is forced to face the fact that his life has been on auto pilot, and he doesn’t like where it’s headed.

THE GAME OF HEARTS

The lives of two young couples are intertwined when on the night of a full moon Helen and Joan, strangers, arrive at hospital where each gives birth to a son.

 

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Filed under Books, NaNoWriMo, Typewriters, writing