Robert Caro on Truth, Facts, and Nonfiction

“While I am aware that there is no Truth, no objective truth, no single truth, no truth simple or unsimple, either; no verity, eternal or otherwise; no Truth about anything, there are Facts, objective facts, discernible and verifiable. And the more facts you accumulate, the closer you come to whatever truth there is.”   …from Robert Caro’s […]

Typewriter by Wendy Chidester

Wendy Chidester’s artist’s statement ( My work depicts a history of objects and machines that have been lost in the advancement of technology and time. My still life paintings of obsolete machines, worn and outdated luggage without wheels, used books and tried and true toys are filled with reverence, reverence for the human ingenuity they […]

Happy Holidays!

Meet-&-Greets, University of King’s College MFA in Creative Nonfiction & Fiction

University of King’s College MFA in Creative Nonfiction (& in Fiction) As many of you know, I’m one of the mentors in the Univ of King’s College’s MFA in Creative Nonfiction. It’s a great program, all of the students working on books ranging from memoirs to investigative journalism. (The average age in the Creative Nonfiction […]

Memory into Memoir

Beginnings are always difficult, vexing, frustrating. Where to begin? Anyone starting a memoir will see roiling before their eyes a thicket of people, a tangle of events, many befogged, some befuddled. How to reconstruct the past? Do you, as a writer, address it as a series of events, like falling dominos, one event leading inexorably […]

Ocean Vuong on Curiosity

“When I’m lost in the work, I’m curious. I don’t know if curiosity is a balm, because it often gets me in trouble, but it gives me control. It becomes fuel, and it brings me out of myself and into the world, even if I’ve just been sitting at my desk and thinking about spirals, […]

The Groundbreaking Blickensderfer Electric

If you say “electric typewriter,” most people probably think of the legendary, and much admired, IBM Selectric. But, at the turn of the 20th century, when electrical transmission hadn’t even been standarized so voltages changed from town to town, the Blickensderfer Manufacturing Co. of Stamford, Conn. built the first electric typewriter. George Blickensderfer even invented […]

“Waiter, a dancer, Please!

We all know Billy Wilder from his wonderful films (Some Like It Hot; Double Indemnity; The Seven Year Itch; Sunset Boulevard; Sabrina; Witness for the Prosecution; and never forget Ace in the Hole (aka The Big Carnival) from 1951: as sharp a portrait of the seedy side of media-manipulating-the-public as I’ve ever seen. Now, a new book has been […]

Hermes Utraportables: iPads of their Era

In the early 1920s, a Swiss watch and music box manufacturer, Paillard. decided that, given its expertise in mechanical items, it would get into the booming typewriter business. The company named its typewriter subsidiary Hermes, after the Greek messenger of the gods. There were two basic kinds of typewriters: standard and portable. Standard machines were […]

Department of Corrections

Sadly, White-Out, Photoshop’s “Magic Eraser” tool, and, of course, the delete key, have stolen the common eraser’s thunder, but erasers are far from gone. Do you have pencils? Look at the end of them. Do you have mechanical pencils? Look at the end of them. (Do you use them much? Maybe not so much, but […]