Mark Twain had his Sholes & Glidden, Jack Kerouac his Underwood, Thomas Pynchon an Olivetti and Ernest Hemingway a Royal Quiet De Luxe Portable, but it was Paul Auster who wrote a book about his typewriter, the Olympia SM9.
“It was never my intention to turn my typewriter into a heroic figure,” writes Auster. “That is the work of Sam Messer, a man who stepped into my house one day and fell in love with a machine.”
Of course, Olympias are serious collectors items these days, but Auster and his typewriter have been together more than a quarter of a century (allegedly everything Auster has written since 1972 has been typed on it).
“The only alternative was an electric typewriter, but I didn’t like the noise those contraptions made: the constant hum of the motor, the buzzing and rattling of loose parts, the jitterbug pulse of alternating current vibrating in my fingers. I preferred the stillness of my Olympia.”
First posted: Monday, August 30th, 2010.