01 March 2013

The Typewriter That Once Was a Fish

Back in early January, inspired by author Mary Robinette Kowal's "Month of Letters" creative letter-writing notion, I set myself the challenge of re-engaging with my Correspondence Life.

It worked out fairly well.  Her idea was that one would write a letter on every day in February on which one typically received one's post - about 23 letters, when one subtracted out Sundays and President's Day.  

To make it even more fun, I splurged and ordered fancy Forever stamps from the USPS

 And really indulged with a sheet of the new International Forever stamps!

And entertained myself at one point creating this envelope for a pen friend, a fellow Friend of Oz.

(This is a screen grab from Word, where I made it.  I don't usually photograph my personal outgoing letters.)

Somedays I wrote one letter, somedays two, or only two pages of a longer letter. It didn't seem like I was writing as often as I wanted to.  But by the end of the month the little Post-It on which I kept count showed I had sent out a total of 24 letters - one over Ms. Robinette Kowal's happy challenge number!

 My messy but surprisingly productive letter-writing corner.
(The pink fabric is my ersatz typewriter cover.)

But perhaps the most fun thing I mailed out in the February Month of Letters was something to make letters.  I sent off one of my typewriters!  It  happened some months ago that one of my pen friends and I were talking about typewriters and she mentioned that she hoped to someday find a small teal portable.  So it seemed rather apt during this adventurous month that a machine of that very description went from my house to hers.

I had named it Little Nemo for its lovely ocean color. It was a Bradford Brother - made in Japan. In one of his wonderful histories,  Robert Messenger of Oz Typewriter wrote about The Brother Typewriter (and I was so pleased that he included an image of Little Nemo in his write up). It was one of the first machines I found "in the wild" - hidden away in the locked glass case of a local Goodwill. And until I bought a Skyriter this past year (see image above), it was my go-to machine when I wanted to type plein air.

Having amassed a range of machines over the past two years I have recently been taking a look at my collection with a fresh eye.  Most important, it seems, is that they get used!  This one, though I much liked its sweet little form and snappy key action, wasn't getting the attention it deserved.  

And the best fun of all was that she didn't know to expect it!  

I'd deliberately implied the package was a "small" one and was there an address I could send it to that would not find it left out in the cold.  She writes her letters to me in fountain pen, so she took that to mean it might be a bottle of ink that ought not freeze.  I did not disabuse her!  And to my delight she told me that it is very like the machine she typed on as a girl and had long missed. 

She tells me she has named it Miss Blue.  And now no longer a fish and no longer not being used.  Thus as it should be in the Typosphere.


  1. What a fine project for February. And it's fun to give away typewriters, isn't it?

    I hadn't seen the international Forever stamp yet. Love it!

    1. I just sent off my 1st international letter with the new stamp yesterday. It really does look cool. Though I must confess I would like some triangular US stamps too.

  2. Great way to spend ITAM. I did not write any letters. Very good that the blue typewriter is appreciated by its new owner.

    1. I only realized several days into February -- when reading TypeClack's Feb posts -- that it was, in fact, ITAM! I was just trying to get back into letter-writing and the letter challenge seemed to be a good idea!

      p.s. Must confess that I didn't type all the letters . . .


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