Posts Tagged ‘typewriters’

In 1980, I decided to set off on an adventure. I left my ancestral home.

1 Boston

I traveled across this great land by train.

3 Engineer

I landed on the other side of the country.

2 Seattle

I was carrying a suitcase, my father’s army duffel bag, and my typewriter.

5 Typewriter

And when I walked through this gate, my life began.

6 Gate

Seattle, I quickly discovered, was a city of astounding beauty.

7 Golden Gardens

I settled in. I was a strange visitor from another planet with powers and abilities far beyond that of mortal men.

8 Duran

I had a career as a writer.

9 Writer

I also had a career that made the regular money.

10 Editor

I met the woman who became my wife (on the left).

11 Dames

I made an army of friends who were ready for whatever came our way.

12 Friends

I became a home owner.

13 House

We bought dogs from a nice English lady (they were overrunning her castle).

14 Dogs

I dwelled in this magical, mostly wet land for 21 happy years. Now I live somewhere else…

15 Oregon

…but I still owe everything to Seattle. I arrived on Thursday, January 10, 1980. Thirty-five years ago today.

All postcards are from the Run-DMSteve collection, with eternal thanks to Rudi Rubberoid for getting me started. Don’t get me started. This post is dedicated to the revolving neon signs that once owned the night in downtown Seattle. The three I remember are Beat the Clock (a 24-hour diner), the Seattle Post-Intelligencer globe (“It’s in the P-I!”), and Elephant Car Wash. They spin still in some alternate reality, under the bluest skies you’ve ever seen. Now go forth, have adventures, and get on a train!


Yanking the page

I’ve written about typewriters before, particularly how you had to cut your manuscript with scissors and tape it back together if you had a big idea in the late innings and wanted to rearrange your plot.

These days, of course, rearranging your writing is so simple and quick that you can do it at the merest flick of an idea and then change it again and save your file and then doubt what you did and get lost in your changes until the Undo command is no longer helpful. What technology gives us with one hand it subverts with the other.

So it was today with Chapter 5, in which a group of my characters (and you, the reader) take a ride on my railroad. This is my setting and I want to make sure readers can follow the action as my book lurches forward. But Chapter 5 was beginning to extend itself as if Ken Burns was making an award-winning series about trains, minus the awards.

Using the power vested in me by cut and paste, I broke the chapter up and suddenly found myself in the middle of Chapter 6. Then I broke it again and found myself in the middle of Chapter 6 with the beginning of Chapter 7. I then asked myself, well, how did I get here?

I don’t know, but I decided, for the purpose of this Write-a-thon, to give up on my desire to get everything right the first time and just write the damn story. I can go back six weeks from now and create cliff-hanging chapter endings involving snakes at the bottom of a pit or the wrong people in the same bunk. My guess is that I have 25 chapters to write and I’d dearly love to break into double digits soon.

That’s today’s report on the Clarion West Write-a-thon. (Here’s the link if you’re interested in who’s teaching at Clarion this year. The Class of 2013 is in the middle of their first week.)

Random Pick of the Day
Get the Blessing, Oc Dc (2011)
This jazz album is so-so, to my ears, although lots of it sounds like old-school soul or early-’70s funk. Know who would be right at home on this disc? Classic Rock instrumental dude Dennis Coffey (“Scorpio,” “Taurus”).

I’m recommending this album solely for the title track. I’ve played “Oc Dc” every day for a week! I love hand-clapping. If you don’t love dissonance, you’ll exit at 1:39.

Random Pan of the Day
Orpheus, Orpheus (1968)
The two male singers in Orpheus weren’t The Righteous Brothers, Jan and Dean, or even Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. This never stopped non-singers like Sonny and Cher, and sure enough, Orpheus produced one chart success, “I Can’t Find the Time to Tell You,” a barely passable mix of psychedelia and bubblegum.

The rest of Orpheus ain’t much. Their assault on The Left Banke’s “Walk Away, Renee” cannot be forgiven. But I liked how they almost turned The Zombies’ “She’s Not There” into a lounge act, particularly the drumming and the bass solo underneath the nonsense syllables. I rated Oc Dc as a Pick based on one song, but Orpheus, based on one song, didn’t charm me.