Ignore that I typed this on a Chromebook. Just go with it for now.
This video about Saturday Night Live's cue cards is lovely in every way but especially because the show runs on about a thousand analog cards a week, filled with block letters in big old magic marker, and edited using white tape. How great is that? They don't use teleprompters because those break and the show is live. Analog cards are forever — until they use them as drop cloths for set painting. Go figure.
On my desk is a Smith Corona Sterling manual typewriter manufactured in 1938 here in my hometown of Syracuse, NY (from which many good things come). I've inserted a ribbon with blue ink and the print is as gorgeous as the machine itself. Later, I'll type toward a project I'm struggling with on the computer. Blue ink on yellow copy paper rolled through an analog machine. Think how long that machine has been in service. Come on, do the math. Alright, since you can't find the calculator app on your phone, it's about eighty one years. Eighty one freaking years. My laptop won't make it eight years.
I had the typewriter serviced shortly after I bought it to replace the rubber roller (platen), align the keys, and fix a couple things. I asked the repair guy when he thought I'd be back. He made a snorting noise in the back of his throat and shook his head. "My only repeat customers are ones who buy more than one typewriter. This thing will go on forever." I'll bring him my other typewriter just because I want it perfect and guys like that deserve medals or at least some more business.
Look, there's my paper planner, its cover papered with post-its. I just filled the page for this week with notes and ideas and they'll be there forever. At the dentist I flipped it open to schedule a cleaning in July. On my phone, I put in the wrong times (PM instead of AM) and once scheduled a seventy-two-hour therapy appointment. I'm not saying I wouldn't benefit from such a thing, but there's only so much my therapist can endure. The planner limits us to an hour every other week and has never crashed, cracked, or run out of battery. Crazy.
And there's my Lamy 2000 fountain pen which I refilled this morning from a three-ounce bottle of blue Noodler's ink and which writes like a dream. Designed in 1966, it is sumptuous enough to be on display in art and design museums. There's a rumor that it is part of MoMA's permanent collection — and it damn well should be — but though that rumor was on the internet (quoted, I think, on Abraham Lincoln's blog) it turns out not to be the true. Still, as Ferris Bueller said (about a Ferrari instead of something as important as a fountain pen), "if you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."
A couple other things:
- I'm reading Dani Shapiro's Devotion in hardback with real pages and ink. It feels right in my hands and before my eyes. People ask me about books I carry. They spark conversations.
- Sufjan Stevens' album Carrie & Lowell is on my U-Turn Audio Orbit turntable, its signal amplified by the Kenwood KA-5500 that has worked since the 1977 and will go on probably through 2077. That's all wired to Boston Acoustics A70 speakers I bought at Gordon Electronics on Erie Boulevard in 1982. Come on over. I'll pour whiskey and we'll put on your favorite record. It will be great.
- Today I carried and read the January issue of The Sun Magazine which includes Debbie Urbanski's story "You" which is so exquisite I've read it three times, the feel of the page between my fingers like a character in the story.
I have more to say about analog things — maybe a book's worth — but I'm okay with having written this on a computer. (I am large, I contain multitudes.)