East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Blazing keyboards in the dead city

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s-l300According to a website that caters for collectors of vintage stuff, my mother’s last typewriter, an Olivetti Lettera 35, is worth 40 bucks – but on eBay I saw some specimens go for 100 euro.
Not bad, for an obsolete piece of tech that carries a QZERTY keyboard.
Mine… well, OK, my late mother’s is still in perfect working order. It only needs a new ribbon, that goes for about 8 bucks on Amazon, and no shipping fees with Prime.
And I’ll need to buy one, because on the 4th of August I’ll be using my old Lettera 35 for one of those “cheap stunts” that, I’ve been told, “proper writers” don’t do.
Well, screw them.

On the 4th of August, barring incidents, we’ll be sitting between a bookstore and a Chinese restaurant, in Nizza Monferrato, me and my friend Fabrizio Borgio, a first class mystery writer living like I do in these hills, and we’ll be typing two stories in a single take, and the pages, fresh out of the typewriters, will be hung on a string to dry, and for all the people to see and read.

The event will be called Blazing Keyboards.


The purpose of this cheap stunt?
Well, there is a number of them.
We’ll promote our work as writers – there will be a stack of books for people to buy.
We’ll promote our respective Italian publishers, Fratelli Frilli and Acheron Books.
We’ll hopefully promote Libreria A Pie’ di Pagina, that will be hosting the event.
We’ll be having some fun on a hot day, punctuated with cool drinks and snacks.
And we’ll remember the late Harlan Ellison, that used to do this sort of thing back in the day, and whose skills and imaginations we’ll never match.

But who cares?
We’ll do it anyway.

And we actually do not know who will be around in the hot afternoon of August the 4th, in a city that is likely to be dead due to the summer vacations and all that.
But who knows, maybe we’ll pull a small crowd…

Now, all I have to do is buy a ribbon, and then remember how life was without backspace, without Copy/Paste, without spellchecker and on a heavy, mechanical QZERTY keyboard.

It’s going to be lots of fun.
And I’ll write a short story!
There will be, hopefully, a few photos to show after the event.
And the pages themselves.
Stay tuned.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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