Posts Tagged ‘IBM’

                              Photo: Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times

I had a Smith Corona electric typewriter in college, I banged away on; my dad two-fingered all kinds of business reports on an even more ancient typewriter with the wire rims on the edge of the keys. He could go pretty fast! Tom’s first job out of college was a great job with IBM Corp in Lexington, Kentucky and he worked on the packaging for the round ball type element (IBM frowned on calling them “balls”) that kept the carriage from swinging back and forth for the IBM Selectric which was in high style until………..the arrival of the first personal computer. TaDah!

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With a Typewriter in Tow, a Cyclist Fosters Creativity

By LIZ LEYDEN       Published: May 11, 2012

Mark Etri took his turn outside a cafe in Fishkill, N.Y., one of a half-dozen venues Ms. Stein has set up in since May 5.

Outside the Ming Moon Kitchen, a woman polished brass figurines, casting sideways glances at the unexpected sight. A driver slowed, pausing to bite into a slice of pizza as he steered and stared. Another man stopped, snapped a photo and moved on.

But when Miriam Wagner, 75, spied the typewriter, she hurried toward and then past it, to the tall, freckled woman in cycling gear standing nearby.

“I know who you are!” Ms. Wagner exclaimed. “I was on my way to get bananas on Route 52 and there you were, wheeling along with your typewriter.”

The woman, Maya Stein, nodded. She is the “Type Rider.”

To celebrate her 40th birthday, Ms. Stein, a poet and sometime caterer, merged her love of cycling with a cross-country writing project. She plans to ride 40 miles a day, typewriter in tow, for 40 days until she reaches Milwaukee, where the design for the first mass-produced typewriter was developed in the 1860s. Along the way, she is delivering the manual typewriter to public spaces and inviting people to take a turn at the keys.

“It’s an unfolding adventure,” she said.

To help with expenses, including renting the recreational vehicle that she and a friend, Grace Moore, are camping in along the way, Ms. Stein raised $16,000 on Kickstarter, a Web site on which people solicit money for various projects. She described how her father kept a typewriter in the hallway between bedrooms for the family to use, an exercise in creativity that changed her life.

“I want to bring that communal hallway back,” she wrote on her Kickstarter page, adding, “I want to make a space for collaboration and creativity, to invite people to contribute their voices to the larger story of the community we’re all in.”

Since leaving her home in Amherst, Mass., on May 5 with the Remington typewriter she had purchased for the trip, Ms. Stein has set up in a half-dozen venues, including the Cherry Brook Garden Club plant sale in Canton, Conn., and the Freight House Café in Mahopac, N.Y.

A dozen pages, smudged with ink and riddled with typos, reveal passages ranging from the meditative — “Do you remember when we were deep oceans moved by the movement of the moon?” — to the heartbreaking:“It wasn’t my fault. I was only six. I didn’t mean to throw the stick in the road. I didn’t see the car coming. I didn’t mean for her to die. I loved my dog and it’s taken me years to get over the accident.”

The experience is providing inspiration for her own writing, which she is doing daily at type-rider.com. Pedaling along lush roadways bursting with springtime green, she has passed quarries and old churches and clutches of mobile homes.

“I saw a man mowing his lawn and I loved catching that moment,” Ms. Stein said. “All that I see in between stops, that’s a treat. That’s my gift to myself.”

Inside the RV, she packs a ream of paper and extra ribbon. She carries Chiclets gum and chocolate and juggling balls, too, for quiet moments when people stare but do not stop.

A two-hour break in Fishkill on Wednesday yielded just one participant, Mark Etri, 52, an out-of-work teacher and pizzamaker from Marlboro, N.Y. He leaned over the typewriter, carefully pecking away. His black shoes, dusted with flour, tapped as he typed:

“It comes down to this: that you see everything as a pizza maker, from laugh out loud customers to screaming babies to a juggling cyclist on her way to Wisconsin. It’s not how you get there but the path you chose to arrive there.”

Aside from offering advice on the physicality of the typewriter — “Punch the keys hard!” — and writing a daily prompt to counteract the terror of a blank page, Ms. Stein waits for people to seek her out.

“I don’t want to be the salesman who makes you feel trapped,” she said.

If Fishkill was quiet, Cold Spring was a deluge. A dozen people sat to type, beginning with Ms. Wagner, a Garrison resident who had read about the project in her morning paper before spotting her riding down the road.

“I think it’s such an amazing idea,” she said. “I thought about it for just 30 seconds before I said, ‘I have to come find her.’ ”

Benny Zaken, 56, owner of the Frozenberry Cafe, welcomed Ms. Stein’s table outside his shop with yogurt and a Facebook post announcing her arrival.

“It is wonderful, absolutely wonderful,” he said of the project. “You never know what talent you will find, what sort of creative spirit is out there if you don’t give people a platform, and that is what she is doing.”

Throughout the afternoon, children and adults marveled at the typewriter itself, its sound stirring memories for some.

“My mom used to chew gum and type at the same time,” Susie Homola, 52, of Garrison, said. “Bang, bang, bang, chick, chick, chick. It was like an orchestra.”

Besides the dozen who typed, more still stopped to talk — about children who loved to write, about typewriters their grandparents kept, about their sentences.

For Ms. Stein, those stories are as much birthday gift as the written words themselves.

“There are moments you cannot capture on paper,” she said.

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