John Carroll’s A Place to Stand project, tweaked for National Typewriter Day


I heard back from John Carroll, our Kelly Writers Junior Fellow of A Place to Stand. His literary project is over, but John says he still mails out an occasional typewritten literary piece, postage willing. As a matter of fact, he’s mailing one off to me and I can’t wait.

Sadly, John had to use a Smith Corona Wordsmith (an electric!) to type his daily mailings during the project. I think he was worried about using an old machine and the inherent problems that sometimes surround the old beasts when typewriter repairmen are few and far between. Never mind. The project is done and a success – I think, John, it’s time you jumped into the fray with the rest of us and find an old typer to rediscover yourself with. You’ll be hooked.

After rolling John’s project around for a bit, the antique typewriter/writing angle was tweaked a bit and now it looks like there’s something definite in the works to celebrate National Typewriter Day. Visit the clickthing blog for exacting rules and regulations and for God’s sake sign up. This is no time to be a fraidy cat. The brave will inherit the earth and they’ll each have a portable typewriter under one arm. Mark my words.

For those of you out there following along, I received a call on Saturday from Acme – my Underwood Noiseless behemoth is ready! Ed tells me this, of course, on a Saturday when he’s closed and on a holiday weekend with an extra closed Monday, to boot. I swear to you I’m five years old and waiting for Christmas morning – agony. I’ll pick up Zelda on Tuesday and slam out a typecast first thing. There will be “after” pictures as well, just like a Jenny Craig commercial.

Fresh ribbon as quest, and some interesting finds



This came to me – as many interesting things do – as an email attachment from a friend. I have no idea who to credit for this little ditty, but I’d cetainly like to. All I could find were dead links. I’d love to see cartoons #1 and #2.

Update: mpclemens whipped up a little search or two and was much more successful in finding the cartoonist, Tom Gauld. You can see the first two panels here and here. Marvelous work.

As I was bouncing around the internet the other day, I happened upon A Place to Stand – a Kelly Writers Junior Fellows (University of Pennsylvania) project that finished up last year in Philadelphia. Graduate John Carrol’s project involved reproducing one short piece of important literature on his typewriter every day, then mailing it out to a random recipient. Out of the Philadelphia phone book. Every day. The link gives a list of works he slammed out on the old typewriter, and challenges anyone reading the page to do the same: Type up a poem. Choose someone out of the phonebook. Mail it to them.

I can’t tell you how much I love that. The web page doesn’t discuss what typewriter(s) our boy John used, but I’ve emailed him and perhaps we’ll soon know. The announcement notes several of John’s inspirations for this project, most notably “Typewriter Man” by Ian Frazier. If you ignore every other link on this post – fine, but read Frazier’s article.