Writer who stumbled into typesetting and the occasional cover wrap. Founder of King Shot Press, a micropublisher of radical literature. Currently in Portland, but also sometimes Athens and elsewhere.

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MAY 19 2021: The Ouija Typewriter

Back in 2017, I became fascinated with the idea of owning a typewriter. After months of research and seeking, I wound up finding a good deal on an Olympia Traveller de Luxe S from a seller in the UK.

It’s the kind of thing that looks almost how you’d imagine an Apple typewriter might’ve looked. There’s nothing romantic about it. It’s just a tightly-designed machine. It’s also the kind of typewriter that my favorite writer, Julio Cortázar, used late in his life. Maybe that’s a stupid reason to want a particular typewriter. For me, it was a way of feeling a little closer to a ghost whose work was the first thing that felt uniquely mine, that could actually speak to who I was. I’ve never felt particularly close to last century’s Greek writers—it’s been my experience that their biographies are much more interesting than their bibliographies. (Looking right at you Kazantzakis, Panagoulis, et al.) But writers like Bolaño and Cortázar? There’s a nationlessness, or at least a “between-nations” appeal, to their work that speaks to someone who isn’t quite Greek, isn’t quite American. Those are the kinds of writers I look to for guidance.

Another reason I wanted a typewriter was because I noticed that the way I write with a computer versus with a pen and paper is very different. My typing voice is more controlled, terse; my pen voice is fluid, almost stream-of-consciousness. I also consider these in musical analogues: the laptop as an electric guitar, the pen and paper as an acoustic. And a typewriter is somewhere between the two, isn’t it? The instantaneous flow of a keyboard with an inability to revise in the moment. And it might seem a little pretentious to refer to a laptop or a pen or a typewriter as musical, but I think we really are crafting a kind of music here. Great writing usually contains a quiet melody, and if you’re a reader with a developed ear, then you’ve heard it. I don’t know that I’m a great writer, I don’t know that I’m even as good as I think I am, but I do know that to keep bridging the divide between the writer I am and the writer I want to become I’ve got to aim higher, I have to continually expand my range, to experiment with different instruments and approaches, build on the writing that’s inspired me, and also that it’s important speak to a blank page like I’ve got the biggest dick in the universe.