NaNoWriMo or Bust, and a Video Poem

Fresh Ribbon

Codes from Musser on Vimeo.


This typecast is brought to you on Alice, a witty debutante of an Olympia SF that – if my life were different – would definitely be used in Typewriter Brigading the NaNoWriMo. When I figure out what I’m doing wrong with my camera, I’ll share photos of Alice and another FABULOUS Olympia, both delicious cursive hand-me-downs from the best typing buddies a girl ever had.

Tree Karma

Fresh Ribbon


Don’t worry, the typewriters are all in a safe part of the house. I can’t decide exactly why the tree is getting even with me. Was it for all my youthful/poetic ridiculousness back in the day when I zoomed past it in the VW? Maybe the indignity of a subdivided pasture? The reams of paper I’ve trashed that were once relatives?

The tree could be trying to do me a favor. Maybe it’s just waiting to take out my ’02 Avalon and I’m just not parking it strategically.

Makes no difference. If the wind kicks up I’ll never hear it fall over those damned monastic-droning windchimes anyway.

(This typecast brought to you by Mamie, my elegant Smith Corona Silent.)

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…ruins a good manicure


Before I begin complaining about changing the ribbon on my Lettera 32, let me share a little gorgeousness from uppercaseyyc’s incredible collection on Flickr. These old typewriter ribbon tins are individual masterpieces, but collectively they’re an absolute bouquet of vintage collectibles. Do take a look at her individual photographs of each tin – I dare you not to start a collection.

I’m going to have to look locally, though, because some of these badboys are going for upwards of twenty dollars apiece on Ebay. I can fill my house with with all manner of flea market/yard sale typewriters for that kind of cash. I’m not cheap, I’m just thrifty.

Now for the complaining. I just spent entirely too much time replacing a ribbon in an achingly sexy Olivetti Lettera 32 and it’s not an experience I want to repeat for a while. I assume it would be easier to replace a ribbon if I had, say, an operator’s manual with a step-by-inky-step guide, but I’m not sure. There are all manner of ribbon guides and things that screw on and off (right-y tight-y, left-y loose-y) as well as these THINGS that poke UP and are clearly meant to somehow KEEP the ribbon from TOUCHING THE PAPER.

Well, I eventually figured it out but not before completely ruining my manicure. I’ve changed ribbon in all my typewriters and have never had such a snafu. It was like something out of I Love Lucy. The thing is done now, and I’m feeling a little pleased with myself for figuring it out sans written directions. Not that it would have helped.

I’m buying a box of surgical gloves for next time. This re-manicure is going to cost me at least one Empress typewriter tin. Maybe two.