Meet My Smith-Corona Portable Typewriter

21 Mar
my typewriter

When a 9-year old saw my typewriter he said:"Wow, it's like a computer and printer all-in-one."

Remember when you cringed at the thought of  a journalist, or a writer,  taking the seat next  to you on a flight cross-country or cross-Atlantic? The tap-tap-clack-and-bing of a pesky little portable typewriter inches from your elbow. The sturdy machines were about half the size of the desktop typewriters used in an office and the covers were built right into the case.

Well, I might have been that person who sat next to you on the flight tapping away for an hour or two on the  tool of trade for writers who filed stories from overseas or on the road up until the 80s. I apologize.

When I began doing my book sculptures, I put that baby Smith-Corona back to work.  Today it finished a section of prose for Eros: The Ten Commandments of Love. BTW: No one is sitting next to me while I work.

I use a typewriter both as a reaction to computer and speedy printing, but also to coordinate with the intent of my art, which is very physical, visceral and a counter to the ethereal nature of words floating around in the internet space.

My Smith-Corona has had an interesting life. I used it sporadically, to write stories–mostly about film and video–from college days up until the late 80s, when my regular, bigger typewriter was out of commission or I was in another city on assignment.  By the time my daughter was born,  I was using a clunky computer and dot-matrix printer. Nonetheless, the Smith Cornona didn’t go down; it still had life left in it. I lent it  to my friend Susan May Tell, who was stationed in Cairo and working for Agence France-Presse.  With her the typewriter journeyed to Iran, Sudan, Libya, and Paris.

The typewriter lounged in Susan’s downtown NYC storage space  through the 90s  before I reclaimed it and brought it home to Cambridge, where it sat around under my desk for another decade. I had it refurbished a few years ago. Now it’s all fired up again, happy, living  and working in my studiolo, writing prose and poems about modern mortals and Greek gods.


Students got four days at the end of the semester to TYPE their papers.
What do you remember?

One Response to “Meet My Smith-Corona Portable Typewriter”

  1. sistersdoart March 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    After endless attempts to encourage Pasquale to use his PC to write letters…in the end it was to no avail and in January for his birthday he got his own refurbished typewriter. He was a happy man.

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Two Sisters Do Art

Christine and Pamela Palamidessi

Kristen Lamb

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