ANN ARBOR – "I use a manual typewriter -- and the United States Postal Service -- almost every day," actor Tom Hanks wrote in a 2013 New York Times op-ed. "My snail-mail letters and thank-you notes, office memos and to-do lists, and rough -- and I mean very rough -- drafts of story pages are messy things, but the creating of them satisfies me like few other daily tasks." It's true. There is a certain charm to the feeling of having typed something on a typewriter, whether it's a full page or a simple sentence. More and more people, we've learned, love typewriters, not just the famous A-list actor, and if you're ever looking to try your hand at manual typing, you may do so at Literati Bookstore.
With that idea in mind, Literati is hosting "Type in at Literati" on Saturday at 7 p.m., a drop in and unplug event designed specifically for people of all ages to experience the joys of typing: the sounds, the imperfections, the inability to cut and paste. The event will be co-hosted by Charly's Typewriter Collection and Repair, and attendees have been asked to RSVP here. Another important item to note: Even if you don't own a working typewriter, Literati has you covered. Attendees are welcome to bring their own or use one of Literati's many typewriters on hand.
If you've been to Literati at least once, you know of their public typewriter where the paper is replenished sometimes hourly with messages from anyone who feels the need to type something collected by Literati co-owner Michael Gustafson. Gustafson and graphic designer Oliver Uberti recently released a collection of these messages left on the typewriter in "Notes from a Public Typewriter."
The book combines Gustafson and Uberti's favorite notes and includes essays and photos meant to create an ode to community and the written word.
"When Hilary and I began Literati Bookstore, we set out a typewriter that anyone could use," Gustafson said via email. "Over the years, thousands of people have typed notes -- about love, loss, and everything in-between. This book, 'Notes from a Public Typewriter,' is a collection of our favorite notes, essays, and photographs about this public experiment of ours.
"A long time ago, I inherited my grandfather's 1930s Smith Corona. I immediately fell in love with it, and have loved typewriters ever since. Our bookstore's logo is based on that typewriter, and I thought, 'Well, wouldn't it be neat to put out a typewriter that anyone can type on?'
"I like to think of it as the World's Smallest Publishing House -- there are no agents, no editors. Just a blank page, and you. This is a book not only about the notes people have left on our typewriter, but also about this wonderful community who have supported us over the years, about independent bookstores, and the magic of the written word."
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