Last week I saw this Clipper was to be auctioned at Salvation Army. The auction closed at 6 pm. I left at 5.20 in pouring rain, thinking I was mad to go out in this weather. When I arrived, the parking lot was full and there was a crowd waiting for the end of the auction. It was a silent auction, so they claimed, but in reality it wasn’t. If anyone there was interested in anything at all, they held a live auction after closing of the silent auction. I checked the Clipper – still the same price after a week. One bid. I hung out and found something I needed, a ruler for an old drafting machine I picked up last week, to use for laying out large paintings. A bargain at $2.
More waiting around, then I checked the price of the typewriter – same as before. OK, I was now convinced nobody was interested in the typewriter but me. I got a bid form and filled in my bid for $2 more. So generous. The silent auction closed at 6 pm and 10 minutes later they threw open the auction to induce more bidding, of course. The real bidding was about to begin. The first thing up was some gold jewelry. There were half a dozen people keen to have that. The silent auction “winning bid” was $40, but it went for $200. After that there was more of the same. Jewelry, more jewelry and then something called Donald and Mickey. I presume that was Duck and Mouse, but certain humorous images popped into my head just the same.
A guy who told me he’d driven in from way out of town in the darkness and driving rain bought that. After a half hour passed I decided to inquire about the typewriter. Big mistake! Now it would go live and open for bids by anyone present. I should have left my bid and gone home. But, as luck would have it, I was the sole interested party. I paid and went to get my prize. A fellow saw me putting the typewriter in its case.
“If I’d known it had a case, I would have bid on that”, he said, then added, “Tom Hanks uses a typewriter”.
Sold another typewriter this week, a 1966 Smith Corona Sterling. In fact, just a Silent Super with a different name on it. Smith Corona was still making the 5 series in 1966, long after they introduced series 6. I have a 1959 series 6 to prove it! This one is a present for a youngster. Lucky kid to have a cool grandmother! I’m thrilled to see this going to a young writer.
I got out my “Christmas” typewriter, a red Remington Rand (spray painted ). My grandson spotted it and immediately began to press on the keys. It’s never too early to start typing lessons.
Another sign of the season is the abundance of raptors about. This eagle dove towards the lake and then we saw it fly off into a tree. When we got close, we could see it eating what it had caught. Then it wiped its beak on a branch. There were no napkins available.
47,000 words. 25 days. 50 hours. 25 cups of tea. 22 pages of plot notes. 93 pages of typewritten draft. 1 Olympia Traveller. 1 Hermes 3000. 1 Smith Corona 5 (Eaton’s deluxe). 1 sore back. 1 case of nerves. 25 beers (dinner). 10 swims. 6 walks around the lake. Countless hours of pondering the plot. All just to say you wrote a book. A book you will publish yourself and that will not become a best seller, win the Booker, the Giller, the Pulitzer, or the Nobel or a million other prizes. Even if you think it should, which is ridiculous, but so what? Why else write a g–damned book?
A reader from Montreal commented on an old post here regarding the former Carter’s Ink building in that city. He is an archeologist and was searching for information on that building when he came across my site. He referred me to an old photograph from 1928 of the Carter’s Inx (sic) building, and also to the present building – which has somehow shrunk! You can read the comments on the old post. He also brought to my attention a very interesting site – The Ribbon Tin Virtual Museum. This particular page has a variety of Carter’s erasing shields, the very item that inspired the original post. Big thank you to fellow McGill alumnus Nicolas Cadieux!
Once again, the Carter’s erasing shield that I found in an old typewriter:
This is my desk and my reliable Olympia Traveller typewriter. When I am typing a novel I turn the computer screen off, but I thought it should have a pretty picture rather than the usual garbage. That’s Switzerland by the way. Where they make Lindt chocolate, and where my Hermes 3000 typewriter was made. Two things I am grateful for. I used the H3K today for a while, then an Olivetti 22, and also a Royal Caravan/Contessa/Tippa. The last is a machine with many pseudonyms! But a Hermes 3000 is always just that. Sublime, like the Swiss Alps.
This year’s Nanowrimo project, the 9th I’ve done, will be a sequel to the first three books I wrote, which formed a trilogy called Mates and Men. It’s been a few years since I abandoned the characters, so rather than rack my brain for an entirely new set of characters, I decided it was time to revisit the old familiar ones and see what they were up to. So far I’m on track, but nothing much has happened. That’s the easy part. The hard part will be when it’s time to get on with the action, which is still but a vague notion.