Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wanna buy a typewriter - slightly used?

I seem to think this came up a few months back, but it seems to be back in the news again - a full page article in today's Guardian, no less. Cormac McCarthy is auctioning his typewriter which he has used since the 1960s. "I have typed on this typewriter every book I have written including three not published. Including all drafts and correspondence, I would put this at about 5m words over a period of 50 years," he is reported as saying.

The apostrophe key, of course, is practically unused.

I have to say, I think the estimate of $15,000 - $20,000 seems a bit low to me. I expect it will go for much more.

[UPDATE: It sold for $254,000... That's an expensive typewriter...]


Mark said...

I'm reactionary enough to believe that I might be a better writer if I worked on a typewriter instead of a computer, but I'm too lazy and too spoiled. I tend not to think ahead as I write, and I type quickly enough to keep up with my thinking. But if I used a typewriter, I'd actually have to take some care before writing...

Donigan said...

Or, Mark ... I write everything first with a pen on paper, and use the computer word processor only for editing. I did write my first three novels on a manual typewriter, though. I find it impossible to compose creatively while staring at what looks like a TV screen.

If I still used a typewriter, I could be interested in McCarthy's, but not for more than $100, with a fresh ribbon.

Mark said...

You can see how conditioned I am that such an archaic implement as a pen did not even cross my mind.

I'm too impatient to write at the speed of my pen, another sign that computers and screens legitimately alter attention spans. But I have started taking a small notebook with me most places and doing more writing in pen on the fly. I'm starting to enjoy it more and more, though I end up with this huge scribbled mess because I treat the paper like a word processor--with cut & paste and what-not.

Tom Conoboy said...

I think I've written about this on here before. I've always written straight on to computer and found it difficult to do anything else. However, I don't think it's the best way. It makes me edit too much as I'm going along - it's so easy to cut and paste, go back and fiddle, tinker with it, instead of just writing a good chunk of it and then going back to edit.

The only time I've ever written anything of any length long hand was a story of c 11k words. It remains the best thing I've ever written, I'm convinced of it. It just reads more fluently.

I wish I could wean myself off the computer for writing.