February Bonus Materials
Because sometimes there's more to share . . .
Riddle Me Mail ready to SHIP!
Circled answers to the Quizzical
Wrapping love letters in baker's twine.
An old date stamp, perfect for this insert!
An early sketch for X's and O's
Three early sketches for the art panel.
Riddle Me Mail is a new adventure for me . . . and you!
Each month my goal is for more people to get more mail. With each riddle and letter I try to tell a story—one that I hope you'll find interesting. The art panel, quizzical, and calendar are designed to pique your curiosity and encourage you to try, discover, or explore something new.
If you have any suggestions or comments about what's included (or not!), I'd love to know what you're thinking.
Please write or email me with your ideas and I'll get back to you. If you write me a letter or send a card, I'll send one back.
And thanks for being part of Riddle Me Mail, it wouldn't be the same without you.
P.O. Bo 5290
Portland, ME 04101
The Typewriter, One Popular Machine
The revival and enduring popularity of the typewriter: collectors, authors, and a comic symphony worth watching!
There’s something about a typewriter that gets me every time, and I'm not alone.
From books to events like the type-in (where people gather with typewriters in tow) to performance artists who set-up at fairs and street corners, typewriters are enjoying renewed interest.
They are hot items at flea markets and second-hand shops—with rising prices that reflect how popular they've become. My collection started with a $25 Royal Deluxe, has grown to seven, and includes two vintage ribbon tins. Prices vary according to the typewriter brand, condition, vintage, and where you find them.
Actor Tom Hanks is an avid collector and has developed the Hanx Writer, an app that recreates the sound and look of typing on a typewriter. Fun . . . but nothing beats the real thing.
In step with the popularity of the typewriter is the release of books about these beloved machines. A recent discovery at my local library was The Typewriter Revolution by Richard Polt. The book covers a good bit about the mechanics of a typewriter and a lot about the renewed popularity of the machine, including the people and events that support it.
Though The Typewriter Revolution was new to me, there are two others I am familiar with that are worth a look.
The Typewriter by Janine Vangool, publisher of Uppercase magazine, is a beautiful (and hefty) volume loaded with vintage advertisements and photographs.
The other is Typewriter, by Tony Allan that features Richard Polt as consultant. Typewriter is a condensed volume chock full of interesting bits about the history of the machine, the typewriter in advertising, it's role in solving crimes, its impact on journalism, and its place today.
Like any machine, typewriters occasionally need repair and Tom Furrier of Cambridge Typewriter is busier than ever.
I met Tom when he led a workshop on typewriter repair at the local library. I’m hoping he'll come back . . . I’m having trouble loading the ribbon on one of my machines and the caps key is sticking on another. If you need repairs, get in touch with Tom, he’s friendly and generous with his knowledge.
The typewriter may be a novelty for some, but for Pulitzer-Prize winning author David McCullough, the typewriter is no new fad. Despite urging from family and friends to switch to a more modern writing device (the computer), McCullough remains loyal to his "old Royal" . . . the typewriter he has used for over 50 years to write all(!) of his books. Toward the end of this interview with The Paris Review, McCullough talks about his typewriter.
Authors young and old are experimenting with the typewriter—some wondering if slowing down will help or change their writing. I use my typewriters to write letters.
But, still, the most surprising enthusiasts of all may be the group driving this wave of popularity: a generation of young people more accustomed to the swipe of a screen and the muted tones of a computer keyboard than the sound of metal keys striking paper, or the zip of the carriage return following the end-of-the-line bell. Is it the simplicity of the machine they are drawn to, or the sound of the tap, tap, tapping of the keys?
For some the sound of a typewriter is like music, wonderfully illustrated in this comic symphony.
No matter the who or why, the typewriter is one popular machine.
Here are some other links:
Typosphere all things typewriters
Hanx Writer - an app that recreates the sound and look of typing on a typewriter
The Antikey Chop - a gallery of typewriters and people using typewriters
The Classic Typewriter Page - Richard Polt’s site
The Typewriter - Janine Vangool’s site about the typewriter
Cambridge Typewriter - Tom Furrier’s shop and blog