TypeTown #28: "I fell in love with the sound of an early typewriter..."
🐷 EB White, Clive Cussler, David Letterman, Robert Culp, and more...
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Hello, good day, and welcome to the first TypeTown produced from Old Blighty.
Our move from Toronto last week delayed this edition.
So in a blatant effort to secure your forgiveness, we start today with a picture of an Underwood typewriter, an inquisitive dog, and a literary powerhouse.
What a combo!
EB White (1899-1985) is the man responsible for children’s classics Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, as well as for reworking an essential text for any professional or aspiring writer - William Strunk Jr’s The Elements of Style.
"I fell in love with the sound of an early typewriter and I have been stuck with it ever since."
He certainly knew the value of his typewriters.
On a road trip in his early 20s, White and a friend walked 32 miles while carrying a typewriter, eventually trading it for the princely sum of $7, a new tyre… and presumably high hopes that their road trip could now continue at pace.
That sense of adventure never left him.
“The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind.”
White’s career started in journalism and advertising, making his name at The New Yorker before switching his focus to children’s fiction in the 1940s and 50s.
“Writing is hard work and bad for the health.”
Still, he had plenty to show for it.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom arrived in 1963.
In 1973, the animation of his short story The Family That Dwelt Apart was Oscar nominated.
And five years after that, he received a Pulitzer Prize special citation for “his letters, essays, and the full body of his work.”
After battling Alzheimer’s disease, he died in Maine in 1985.
Almost 40 years later, his advice still rings true.
“Be obscure clearly.”
READ» E. B. White, The Art of the Essay No. 1 - The Paris Review
READ» New Biography Celebrates E.B. White, Who Really Was 'Some Writer!' - NPR
READ» Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, 176pp, RL 4 - Books4YourKids
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Making waves for 47 years
It’s now almost three years since US novelist Clive Cussler died in Arizona aged 88.
A US Air Force veteran, the founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), and a successful creative director, it was in fiction that Cussler made his lasting mark.
Famed for his creation of marine engineer Dirk Pitt, he knew how to hit a home run.
He reached The New York Times best seller list with 17 consecutive releases.
"It's a job. I entertain my readers. I get up in the morning, and I start typing."
Over the course of a dedicated 47-year fiction career, he produced more than 80 books.
“I love doing the research for the novels. For me, the writing is hard work.”
And even with decades of practice, he never got comfortable with the size of the task.
“When you type the words “Chapter One,” you’re committed for the next year or so.”
But how do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time.
"When I type 'The End,' it's like being paroled from prison."
READ» Novelist/adventurer Clive Cussler is still going strong - USA Today
READ» A Life in Full: A Q&A with Clive Cussler - Santa Barbara Writers Conference
What a sight!
Take a look at this image from a 1920s production line.
What stories did these machines produce? What forms did they complete? What letters did they write? And what dreams did they capture?
Worth pausing the platen
👂 Episode 48 - TypeTown - Austin Typewriter, Ink Podcast
📬 The country where officials are using pen, paper and typewriters to govern after major cyber-attack - The Independent
📬 Just my type: Albany man’s collection sparked by family links to typewriter history - Albany Democrat-Herald
📬 ‘The typewriter demands you focus - it’s just paper, ink and your imagination’ - The Irish Times
📬 Writing Poetry in Prison as an Act of Resistance - JSTOR Daily
And finally… typewriters in the wild
In this spectacular tattoo of a Jeremy Mayer piece…
In this 1980 image of TV host David Letterman…
And in this video exploring the home of actor Robert Culp…
Muchas gracias, amigos
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Until next time
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TypeTown is a fortnightly celebration of the typewriter’s place in modern (and not so modern) culture.
Welcome to Blighty! I hope you’re settling in.
Terrific as always. Thanks!