My return to the typewriter began with a feverish compulsion to acquire not just one but a handful, beginning with the machines I used in college—a Hermes 3000 and a Royal desktop. But I didn't stop there. I became obsessed with earlier typewriters, especially those with glass keys, and purchased a 1940s-era Smith Corona Sterling portable and a Royal Arrow. The touch of a fingertip on that Sterling's black keys gave me a sensual thrill. A few weeks later, a West German Olympia SM3 portable arrived from an eBay seller, and I left it on my desk—to write on, I thought—but I spent far more time simply staring at it, running my hand over its graceful metal curves, tracing the chrome trim with my finger, and admiring the green wrinkle paint. My wife, observing all of this, suggested I mention this typewriter business to my therapist. She wasn't joking.
This document was originally published in Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction by Michigan State University Press. Copyright restrictions may apply.
Ballenger, Bruce. (2017). "Return to the Typewriter". Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, 19(1), 163-174.