Carried by the Steel Rail

A local gentleman contacted me recently via email about a Royal KMM.  Jonathan had inherited his grandfather’s KMM and hoped to get it running.

He described it as  “a bit sluggish and the space bar does not advance the platen.  The front bar under the space bar is also broken.”

kmm

OK, good.  The special Royal spools are there.

Hmmmmm.  These things are built like tanks, so that was a hard fall.

Inspecting the emailed photos, I said sure, I’d take a look at it.  Inwardly, I was a little concerned. It had obviously taken a hard hit what with that cracked frame.  The nonfunctional space bar seemed ominous.  I worried that there was damage to the escapement or bent rails or something else I couldn’t fix.

That said, I was excited about the project. Family and work and my poor scattered brain have conspired against me spending much time at my garage workbench, but here was a mission with a clear goal: improve the function of this KMM.

Jonathan delivered the KMM to my garage—such a pleasant person. He gave me a little backstory on the typewriter which had been his Grandfather Ralph’s office machine when he worked as freight agent for the D&H Railroad:

Grandpa started with the Delaware & Hudson Railroad as a freight agent in Albany, NY sometime in the early 1930s.  D&H then transferred him to Fork, MD in 1948 and then to Winston Salem, NC in 1962.  Given the serial number placed it around 1940 he probably acquired the typewriter in Albany and then it moved with him to Fork and Winston Salem.  Dad was unsure during which move it suffered the fall that cracked the front.  Grandpa retired from Delaware & Hudson in 1973 and he passed away in 1996 so the typewriter has probably been silent since then.

Grandpa Ralph around 1962. He was also an amateur radio enthusiast.

By serial number, the KMM dates to 1942 per Typewriter Database:

On arrival, the carriage was in center position and not going much of anywhere.  After checking the margins and wiping the rails and segment with a little mineral spirits, I pulled the carriage and hit a key. The KMM left the station.  I was able to get the escapement to trip properly and step forward.  A great weight lifted from me.  This old KMM *might* be a-OK.

Still pulling gently on the left, the carriage passed on the rails in a gummy crawl, as if moving through peanut butter. Furry dust and chunks of feathery debris coated the interior—the typewriter perhaps a victim of WD-40 or overly generous oiling.

KMM greasy dust

I sent Jonathan on his way and turned my attention to the KMM.  I could get the carriage to move when I typed a sticky letter or two if I pulled firmly to the left. The situation looked promising.

I felt a deep sense of responsibility wash over me – this is a precious family heirloom. I don’t usually engage in this form of High Stakes Typewriter Repair.  I generally only work on Junkers that people happily give to me for free, but here was something special—nonfunctional but special nonetheless.  I swore to myself that I would dutifully follow the Typocratic Oath:

I planned to do a good cleaning and then take in the lay of the land. First up: I needed to take that top lid off to see things properly.

I’d like to signal boost Duane Jensen’s Phoenix Typewriter YouTube channel. He has a ton of KMM/KMG/KMH Royal standard videos on his channel. I have used his channel as a resource countless times for a variety of typewriters.

Here’s a good one for people preparing to clean a KMM: “Royal KMM Manual Typewriter Lid Cover Front Panel Removal for Cleaning Access Side Panel too”.

Now, I can get in there. Dab, dab, dab, cleany, cleany, cleany, blow out.  I dabbed in mineral spirits and a little bit of lacquer thinner in the mechanical guts and used my air compressor to blow out the dusty chunks.

The typewriter had been worked on before.  I noticed modern felt applied under the top plates and several screws missing or damaged:

I may have a spare set screw for the platen

The typewriter was so much happier after a preliminary cleaning, but I still felt some resistance in the extreme outer margins – perhaps mechanical binding?

So I went to the Facebook Antique Typewriter Maintenance Group to research KMM carriage binding. I don’t use much social media because of Reasons, but I enjoy occasionally lurking in the FB Typewriter Maintenance Group.

I am surprised by the number of posts that start “I want to take the carriage off my XYZ ” or “how do you get the carriage back on an XYZ?”  My recommendation: don’t take the carriage off unless you

  1. know what you are doing or
  2. want a parts machine.

That’s enough Facebook for me today. There are a few typewriters that have easy-off carriages, but the vast majority don’t have them.  On rare occasions, I will dismantle a parts machine in the name of science, but I say to you: don’t let your fine eBay typewriter score turn into Parts in a Box.

A couple years ago, my niece found this battered Royal P with a detached carriage on the curb in New York City. I don’t think the carriage just fell off.  I have to figure out how to get it back on. It’s in my queue, waiting patiently while I think of a work-around for the missing bearings and pinions. Ball bearings I can find. Those star-shaped ball pinions though…

Many times, a careful cleaning of a nonfunctional typewriter will be all that you need. Don’t overthink it.  You’d be surprised how disabling clumped dust, rust, and congealed oil can be.

My father-in-law has a saying:

This applies to typewriter carriage removal as well as the discussion of deep, dark family secrets.

OK. Back to cleaning.  Things were progressing.  The carriage was moving somewhat more smoothly on its rails, but I knew that a certain point, I’d have to remove the platen and paper pan and clean underneath.  Thank you again to Duane for this video:

I am sure glad I removed the platen.  Despite my initial flush with solvents and compressed air, it was pretty bad under there. Look at that nest of greasy dust.

Flush, dab, dab, dab, flush, cleany, cleany, cleany, blow out. The typewriter moved much, much more smoothly.

I reinserted the platen and went to town typing with a new ribbon.  I would have to make some adjustments to the shift motion since the uppercase and lowercase were misaligned:

and the line lock did not engage at the end of each line and letters piled up there:

Underneath, the rubber spacers near the feet were a melted mass of tarry badness that obstructed the line lock mechanism.  Once again, Duane at Phoenix Typewriter has a very good video detailing the fix for this.  I bought some rubber washers and pieces of rubber in the plumbing department at the hardware store and fabricated ~1″ x ~1″ layered rubber spacers about 3/8″+ thick for each corner.

These old spacers had seen better days, and the ones on the right had become a obstructive problem for the line lock mechanism.

And here’s a new layered rubber spacer in place by a back foot:

Perfect.  New spacers above each foot fixed the line lock problem on the right, and my shifted alignment was better too. Huh!

The cracked frame obstructed the motion of the spacebar, so I repaired the front frame with a little KwikWeld epoxy that sets in six minutes. That wasn’t strong enough because the repair didn’t hold when I started moving the 40 lb KMM around.

I brought out the big guns—a stronger epoxy with a longer set and cure time. I like that 5020 PSI formula.

I also reinforced the repair with a discreet metal plate underneath and clamped it for 48 hours and so far, so good. It’s holding.

I even got the cursed Magic Margins to work after a thorough cleaning.

Among the last few items on my to-do list was to continue researching why the carriage felt somewhat tight at the extreme outer rails. Perhaps still a little gummy? I cleaned the heck out of it, but there may be a spot I missed. And there are so many reasons for a carriage binding beyond dirt and grime and rust:

The ball bearing pinions looked to be in the correct position.  I am thinking that a rail or a rod is not straight and true. The machine had taken a hard fall. I could adjust the carriage clamps…

But this is where I stop with the carriage.  I have a perfectly functional KMM with margins set at 10 and 85.  No need to get crazy and make adjustments that may have unintended consequences.

I cleaned the crinkle/wrinkle paint of the shell with a little warm soapy water and Simple Green after testing in a discreet area (old paint can be surprisingly fragile).  The Simple Green removed the thick gray grime nicely and exposed the soft velvety surface of the black wrinkle paint. That’s a beauty.

The bell was rather hit or miss despite cleaning the bell mechanism behind the tab tower shroud carefully.  This little silver finger (I think it’s called the “bell trip”) that hangs down from the right Magic Margin mechanism was still slightly gummy and should swing freely.

Dab, dab, dab, cleany, cleany, cleany, lube. Ah yes, now I hear the voice of the bell as the carriage approaches the right margin. It’s like the long whistle and clanging of a train as it nears its terminus.

Super Chief + freight mashup because anything is possible with Lego

To me, a functional bell is close to mission-critical. I am not a touch typist, so I never know how close I am to the right margin. But beyond the necessary alert it provides me, the bell is part of the the full sensory experience of typing: the magic of my typed thoughts slowly revealing themselves on the page, the smell of a fresh ribbon, the taste of coffee, the feel of a sprightly Royal leaping to my fingers, the thump-thump-thump of my heavy hands — and the sweet voice of the bell. That sound enhances the whole typing experience—and stirs memory.

Seriously though, trains and typewriters carry me to a place of wistful contemplation.  They bring to mind things and experiences and people gone now many years. Long trips on the Coast Starlight. Homemade recipe books carefully typed. Diner cars and high school term papers. Grandfather. Grandmother. Father. Mother. I walk abandoned train tracks. I re-read old typed letters.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more sensitive to the pathos of things.  Changes and losses have made me aware of the transience of everything we experience on this journey. The fleeting, uncertain nature of life makes every moment more dear.   I hear that feeling deep and sweet in Young Arlo’s version of the “City of New Orleans”.  It brings a lump to my throat every single time.

 

Mono no aware. Arlington, 3/12/2022: a late snow on early cherry blossoms, together in a brief, beautiful moment.

Out with the Old, In with the New: Olympia SM

J. is a local typewriter enthusiast who brings me problem typewriters from time to time.  She doesn’t just admire her lovelies on a shelf, she works them hard, typing daily.  Her Olympia SM3 below is beloved.  Not only does it look truly scrumptious with that box-o-chocolates keyboard, it types like an Olympia—that is to say, like a mechanical dream.

This Olympia, however, has a problem.  The carriage won’t move.

J. is a very resourceful gal and has figured out a work-around.  She engages the caps lock to free the carriage and types in ALL CAPS.  She loves this typewriter so much, she will type in ALL CAPS if need be.

When J. told me about this situation and her solution, I thought to myself: sounds like the notorious Olympia Bad Rubber Washer/Spacer/Bushing Problem.

So, let’s take a look.  All four rubber washers that pad between the machine guts and the outer casing were mashed into disintegrating blobs of tarry goo.  Once the rubber flattens, the machine guts sink and the carriage starts rubbing or grinding or stalling on the casing. Engaging caps lock raises the carriage and allows it to move freely. Unfortunately, few people other than J. will want to type in ALL CAPS.

It looks like someone added modern washers on the outside of the case when the inside rubber disintegrated and the screws got looser and looser.

Typospherians have documented this very common situation with Olympia SMs. It is a well known problem with a “One Weird Trick” solution.  When I see this condition, I think about a ten-year-old blog post at clickthing  which I am sure has helped many, many Olympia SM owners over the years.

http://clickthing.blogspot.com/2011/03/amazing-floating-olympia.html

Duane at Phoenix Typewriter has a good video that details the fix on Brownie’s twin sister:

Duane cuts his own spacers from rubber tubing and Richard Polt has used flat pieces of rubber. Me, I use rubber washers similar to these.

Though I had bought some rubber washers at the local hardware store, I decided to use the extra washers that I found on the exterior of the case.  The washers are about 1/8″ thick and looked brand new. I am guesstimating that the outer diameter of these washers is about 1/2″ to 5/8″ and the inner diameter is 3/16″ to 1/4″.

The old washers, melted and compressed, glued the machine to its casing, so I had to pry the frame from the case with a screw driver and pick out the old rubber.

I took clickthing’s advice and swapped out the four rubber washers one at a time so that I didn’t need to futz with lining up the holes on all four washers and screws at the same time. Here is a new washer going in:

That looks very good—1/8″ or somewhat thicker seems to be a good size:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an Olympia SM sitting a bit too low, must be in want of new rubber washers.

I tested, and all was well.  I was able to type in lowercase, and there was no carriage scraping or stalling on the casing.

Gosh, this Olympia is so nice. Why don’t I own an Olympia SM3/4 portable? They come to me, and I always let them go. I used to complain that the carriage shift was too heavy for my delicate lady paws. Heck, if J. can type in ALL CAPS for the love of an Olympia, I can suffer the occasional carriage shift. Therefore, be it resolved: the next Olympia SM3/4 I run across, I’m going to keep for a little while.

While I was working in the garage, I heard the sound of a siren. I opened the garage door and peeked out. The sound became a hot shriek. There’s something funny going on out there.

Calm down, Olympia. No need to shout.  I fixed your washers!

Those are members of Brood X, an enormous group of periodical cicadas. Here in the eastern US, they crawl out of their holes every 17 years to eat, mate, and have babies—all while making an insane racket. They are numerous and noisy, but harmless.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brood_X

The molted exoskeleton of the 17-year periodical cicada

Looking to get lucky

I’m actually happy to see them.  I saw them last in 1987 and have been eagerly anticipating their 2021 arrival. Far from feeling like a biblical plague, they are a comforting reminder that ancient cycles continue despite global pandemics, human dumbassery, and whatnot.

After All

I am a 15-month cicada, slowly coming out of my shell now that I have gotten my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Like many around me, I’m crawling out of the pandemic hole and looking about hopefully. This summer, I’ll see many friends and family for the first time in a while. My son arrives from California next week for a long visit.  I haven’t seen him in-person since Christmas 2019.

Walking around the neighborhood, I see a lot of masks on the ground, a trashy human version of molted cicada husks.  I have been taking pictures of them because I don’t want to forget what the last year has been like.  We humans are so flighty and forgetful. I don’t want this experience to fade into the mists of time with nothing learned.

Diversions: SCM Electra 120

I am friendly with a local gal who loves typewriters and writing. J. has a really nice collection of typers, and I have worked on a couple of them. She had had a beat-up Olivetti Lettera 22 I fixed up a couple years ago.  It eventually became a favorite typewriter for her.  She gave it to a friend and now misses it very much.

She contacted me because she had an SCM Electra 120 that was having issues.  She dropped it at my place, so I could take a look at it.

I always say that I am not an electric typewriter person, and then I handle one of these SCM electrics and fall in love with it.  They’re small, fairly lightweight, quiet, and nimble (when clean). The clear, consistent imprint is a wonder.  They are as close to a manual typewriter as you can get. Nothing weird or impenetrable in the guts: all simple, understandable Smith-Corona mechanics.

Joe Van Cleave made a fun video in which he compares his “electrified manual” Coronet with his manual Galaxie:

The Electra 120 is similar to Joe’s Coronet but has a manual carriage return which I prefer.  It’s one less thing to break in a complicated way.

I took the Electra out to my workbench and examined it. The symptom was a typebar stuck in the up position:

I was unable to get it to move. When the typewriter was plugged in, the typewriter hummed and remained stuck in place.

Before she brought it over, I had suggested that J. take off the bottom plate and clean the lever and sublever cams . These can get gummy and cause certain keys to stick.  Unfortunately, that didn’t help, so J. had to bring the typewriter over to my place.

The key was really stuck, so I flipped the typewriter over.  I saw something white behind the affected lever/sublever/cam.  Perhaps a blob of paint? J. teaches art, so that wasn’t out of the question.

I then noticed a small piece of plastic rattling around inside the guts that I was able to pick out with some needle nose pliers.

And the problem lever had a similar piece jammed behind it:

The white plastic piece behind the lever was really stuck.  I couldn’t get it out with dental tools, mini clamps, or tiny pliers.  The piece was wedged behind the cam, so I got a very narrow punch and tapped it out.

You may want to consider a $9.99 punch set from Harbor Freight. I use them a lot for typewriters and other things.

Those little pieces of plastic debris were the source of the problem.  They must have come from the broken casing clips:

I swabbed down the cams, sublevers, and levers underneath and and popped a clean ribbon in for testing.  Just beautiful!

The space bar felt a little gummy.  It became responsive after a thorough wipe down of pivot points with mineral spirits.

To give the typewriter a little exercise, I decided to type out a page on the machine for One Typed Page (OTP).  What a great site. Writers submit one typed page for posting.  Some posts are stories, some journal entries, some essays.  The thing they all have in common is that the content is short – e.g. “one typed page”.

I am trying to come up with ultra-short stories for OTP, and let me tell you: it’s so, so hard for me.  I come from a long line of long winded people. My father was a fantastic story teller. He had one story about throwing up in a hat on a city bus that he spun up into an hour-long monologue dense with description and layered with larger meaning.

I got a book of Hemingway short stories to train for OTP.  Most of Hemingway’s stories are only a couple pages long. I read one called “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife” and it took me half an hour to describe the plot and characters to my husband. The story is 2.5 pages long.  The CliffsNotes may be longer than the story.

I also read Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms as research for my Great American Historical Romance Novel which is set post-WWI.  I am using my teenage daughter’s marked-up school copy, and her notes are the funniest thing ever:

I highly recommend OTP for writers.  The ultra-short format is beating the hell out of me – in a good way. It’s excellent writing exercise for me. I want to boil down my thoughts to the essentials and get to the point. What I am writing isn’t particularly coherent, but I’ll get there.

Anyhoo, here’s a story I tried to write for One Typed Page, but it turned out to be about three pages long. I decided not to submit because I’ll be violating the spirit of OTP if I submit over-long pieces. The site is not called “Several Typed Pages”.

It was good exercise for the Electra anyway:

Super Duper: Smith-Corona Super-G

I’m a Facebook lurker, and a recent post on the Facebook Mid-Atlantic Typewriter Collectors Group caught my attention.  The poster was having trouble finding time to work on a distressed S-C Super-G, so he was giving it away:

[Facebook Post about free SCM Super-G]

Yes, please!

I’m making good progress on the Great American Novel, so this typewriter was a nice reward for my hard work.  I had initially described my novel as a historical romance, but I think it’s more of a historical comedy. Or maybe a historical comedy-drama.   I have the first draft completed, and gosh, it’s funny.  The romance scenes are rough. I don’t know if I have the necessary mettle required for romance writing. Here is a sample love scene in the current draft:

There’s a whole lot of tragedy and death in my novel too.  I keep killing off major characters because people died a lot in the old days.  I am getting a little concerned by the body count. Maybe I’ll let them live. As an author, I am very powerful.

Anyhow, in recognition of my excellent ahead-of-schedule novel-writing progress, I am rewarding myself  with a special treat: a broken typewriter.

Tim, the  guy who was giving away the Super-G, runs a bike shop near my place.

I drove over and we did a safe, socially-distanced typewriter transfer:

Thanks, Tim!

I really didn’t know much about Super-Gs before I got this.  I didn’t even know they were made by Smith-Corona.  With those racing stripes, the Super-G looks a lot like my brother’s 1972 Saab Sonett III (designed by Sergio Coggiola, who worked at Ghia at one time).

Anders Jensen, Copyrighted free use, via Wikimedia Commons

I was thinking maybe the Super-G was an Olivetti.  Duh, NOOO.  It’s a good ole British-made Skyriter in a  sleek Italian-style shell:

This little racing Skyriter, this Formula One Corsair was designed by automotive designers Tjaarda and de Tomaso of Carrozzeria Ghia SpA.

The Super-G I got from Tim is from 1974 by serial number 7YP124855 (7YP Series 1)

So here’s the Super-G on arrival.  It was in pretty good shape except the return lever problem, a bent ribbon vibrator, jammed-on spools, gummy typebars and escapement.

The racing stripes on the Super-G are just super excellent—so much classier than painted flames.

With a bent return lever mechanism, there was no communication with the platen, so it wasn’t line spacing.  I assumed that the pieces inside were all bent, but I couldn’t see anything.  It was time to judiciously dismantle.

To familiarize myself with the typewriter functions, I downloaded a Super-G typewriter users manual from Richard Polt’s manual archive:

Click to access SuperG.pdf

 

I vaguely recalled a blog post by Ted Munk about replacing a teeny return lever on a Skyriter with a larger one from a Corsair.  This post came in handy during dismantling:

Yes you can swap the long return lever from a Corsair for the vestigal return arm of your early Skyriter!

I downloaded the Smith-Corona 6YC Series Typewriter Repair Manual in PDF format for diagrams and service reference material:

And after removing the return lever,  right platen knob, and the platen, I got to this point.

Ugh. This looks weird. What do I do here?

I found this video from Duane at Phoenix Typewriter very helpful in dealing with this plunger assembly:

 

I removed the plunger assembly, paper tray, carriage feed roller assembly, and page gage assembly.  I was finally at a point where I could see what my problem was:

It’s not supposed to look like that. The linespace pawl assembly was sitting on top of the linespace lever arm.  That’s bad and wrong.   It’s supposed to look like this:

 

After some careful forming (bending) of the linespace pawl assembly,  I got it into a position similar to the diagram:

Now it should line space and the return lever should work properly.  I wouldn’t know for sure until I got it back together.

Could not get the spools off easily – they were jammed on the wrong way.  They had to be eased off carefully so I didn’t  damage the teeny spools.

So here’s The Rule: you cannot let a dismantled typewriter become Parts in a Box.  Reducing a typewriter to Parts in a Box brings shame onto your entire family. I knew I must work quickly to get it back together. I figured I had about 24 hours after dismantling before the parts became vague and forgettable.

The clock was starting to tick. I had 24 hours to get this typewriter back together. I needed to peel out. Burn rubber.  Make tracks.

I get to work. I become one with the machine. I become Super Duper: I am a S-C Skyriter with racing stripes.  I am small and unassuming, but fast and driven by vast ambition, full of powerful hidden talents.

It is done. The typewriter is reassembled.  It types. I bring honor to my family.

It makes a loud plastic clatter when typing.   It makes you feel like you’re really accomplishing something while you’re hammering away. The print baseline rolls like a ship at sea. The typewriter  was whacked real bad at some point, and everything’s a little askew.  I think maybe I like that.

My tips for dismantling and reassembling:

  • Take lots of pictures – you’re going to need them.
  • Stay organized with boxes, cups, bags.
  • Work on a soft white surface so you can easily see dropped screws and little springs.
  • Get a long thin flat head screw driver.
  • Magnetize your screwdriver.
  • Operate in good light.  I use a rechargeable headlamp.
  • Download a service manual.  For me, the diagrams are invaluable.
  • Reassemble a dismantled typewriter as soon as possible to avoid Parts in a Box syndrome.

It’s a sweet ride, this machine.

This typewriter is a generous source of the best band names ever:

After I finish the Great American Novel, I’m going to start a band so I can use one of these names.

Thank you, Tim of bikes@vienna.  Regarding bikes, my family has gotten into this YouTube channel Not Just Bikes which is sort of about bicycling and how great life is in the bicycle-friendly Netherlands.

Platens, Writers, Readers, and Livers

I’ve been getting some questions about platen recovering recently. Last year, I recovered a Remington Portable #2 platen and an Underwood 5 platen that were in sorry shape.  In their cracked condition, the bad platens made the typewriters unusable.  I thought: well, what’s the worst I can do?

Since I am into typewriters for the journey, I decided to recover the platens myself with heat shrink tubing instead of sending them out. Keep in mind, Steve Dade and JJ Short will do a much more professional job on your bad platen than you or me. [Please note: sadly, Steve Dade passed away in January 2021.  He was a skilled craftsman and a generous sage of the typewriter world and is greatly missed]. Regarding DIY platen recovering, there are a lot of naysayers and opinion-havers out there.  However, if you are into typewriters for funzies and personal growth, heat shrink recovering is an entertaining project.  I have found that I have accumulated many interesting tools (electronic calipers, heat gun, durometer) and materials during this journey of personal growth and self discovery.

I used about five layers of heat shrink polyolefin tubing for the platens—1.5″ for the Remington Portable and 2″ for the Underwood 5. A gentleman with whom that I have been corresponding used bicycle inner tube as layer under his heat shrink. It looks really good in the pictures he sent, but he still needs to reassemble.  I am interested in his final results.

So my platen recovering  was over a year ago: how did all that work out? The Remington Portable went back to its owner and then probably to a charity, so I don’t know its current status. However,  my Underwood lives in my garage workshop, so I stepped out there to see how it’s doing 1+ years down the road.

The 2″ heat shrink produced a very hard platen on the Underwood, and I got a 96-98 reading by my cheapo durometer.  It’s a little chilly in the workshop, so the platen may be harder in the cold.

The imprint is still good.

I think the heat shrink worked out fine.  I don’t think I would recover an intact platen, only a cracked or broken one, since the polyolefin heat shrink that I used produces a very hard platen that may be too loud for some people.

Beyond platens, I have been keeping a low profile online and avoiding the internet for mental hygiene reasons and because I have a bunch of different projects that need my undistracted focus. One of those projects is to finally finish up my Great American Novel that has been years in the thinking.  Folks, it’s a historical romance. Historical romance is my guilty pleasure, my secret shame, my sin, my soul.  I want to write something that I want to read, and historical romance is that.

I am a hyper-recursive writer, writing bald and fast first. I then go back over and over and over again. My writing progresses in three stages:

Right now I am in stage 2 with a first draft completed. It is very unlikely that I will ever get to stage 3.  Right now, it’s so bad, it’s embarrassing. I won’t even let my husband look at it, and he saw me give birth twice. There’s a lot of work to do here.

Last thing: if you are a writer or a reader or even just a life liver, check out the following book:

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders

This book is so sweet and humane. I cried in parts, it was that good. And don’t take my word for it, here’s a review:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/jan/06/a-swim-in-a-pond-in-the-rain-by-george-saunders-review-rules-for-good-writing-and-more

That’s it for now.  No new typewriter projects for the time being—well, unless some fascinating project typewriter crosses my path. I’ve got to get back to writing, reading, and living.