Moby Dick, Cleveland, Writer discussed on Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda
When I I read your writing I wish prize at how much I admired it because I didn't know of you as a writer and the new book of short stories is amazingly good. Oh you read that. Thanks my God. It's so good. The usual you used language to get inside my head and surprise me and keep me amused and interested to get me deeper into the people and you don't use language to show off which I really admire. You could be poetic if you wanted to. But you you you're more plainspoken and and I really loved that. That's the stuff that I just naturally ended up gravitating to you know. I remember We were asked to buy books at a quote Unquote Book Fair and I looked at these titles that they had on car table after card table in high school or junior high school and I had never heard of any of these books. There were by writers. Never heard of the head titles. I'd never heard it and I finally said what is this. A scam you guys. Who Know We'd like we'd like to read we promote reading and it turned out that these books were specifically written for high schoolers. Why you'd never heard so the stories were simplistic. They weren't very so instead. I read in cold blood by Truman capote. That's a book. I got and it scared the living daylights out of me and from from a very early age on I wanted to read about the way things actually worked. And perhaps the way things actually. That's exactly the way I approach to reading. As a kid I was eleven years old and a friend of the family said to. Do you like to read and I said Yeah I really enjoyed you. Know what are you what did you would it be read lately? I said I just read. What MAKES SAMMY RUN? All my law at eleven even read it now. She's she had this stunned look on her face and then she said well. Of course that's over your head and I thought no. It is not shows you how people really behave. It's not the granddaddy of them. All that experience. When somebody has read enough of a book there was a book that was going around and the first line used the word crap in it all that David Copperfield. Kinda crap and none of us had ever seen a book in our library. Dead anything remotely like a swear word and so all of a sudden everybody wants to know what was catcher in the Rye reading catcher in the Ryan at red to lead to nine stories and and also to to be empowered but to discover it yourself I would say that to discover it yourself with the help of a good librarian. Who realizes you're hanging around you might WanNa you might want to like be if they'd like if you if you enjoyed reading airport by Leah by Arthur Hailey you might enjoy reading Armageddon by Leon Yours and so off begins kind of like guide to think when you were young. Would I'd give up on thirty or forty pages if I wasn't really into it. I still have a tendency to I when I was young. I loved reading anything that seems like it came from real life because I really wanted to understand how things got the way they were so we had a living room. That had been decorated. I guess by somebody who bought books by the yard as opposed to the color. They were red leather bound. Haw But they happen to be the congressional record so I opened up a book and lay on the floor and read the congressional record from the. I guess it was from the nineteen forties. And I couldn't get over it. These people would say the distinguished member from Idaho and and they'd insult each other in the most elite classical terms and I thought well this is fascist like a play dialogue and I loved it. There was that there were those type of books that I pretend to have read for a long time. You know when I finally read Moby Dick. Oh I loved Moby Dick. I pretended to have read moby. Dick for an awful long time like that with the Russians off the Hijaz I read. I read worn piece. I pretend to have read Rascal Mikhalkov Book. I would always get up to the reverend's sermon in moby. Dick and I couldn't get this like goes on for seventy pages. I couldn't get past that I couldn't get pass it and I was out Was out with some some friends at whatnot and a friend of one of the guys to sit I'm reading moby Dick You could never read Moby Dick. No you can and he said if you could just get past that reverend servants really does take. Everybody had that I'd pass it. I understand why it's now one of the greatest books now. Here's the thing when I read book of Short Stories. I think you're one of your obsessions crept out without typewriters typewriter. Yeah I mean the the chapters begin with the picture of a different typewriter. What how did you develop this obsession with? How how do you? How many times? How many typewriters you have at home in at home? I'll probably have fifteen scattered about the house but down at the office. I have like a hundred and twenty or something like that. I rest my case. I WHAT IS THE GOTTA? I gotTA start getting rid of them because my kids have said. We're not going to bury you with these things that you'd better start getting them away There is a story that is in that collection that is literally how I got my first typewriter. A friend of mine was a year ahead of me in school and when he went off to college he gave me his high school typewriter. Which was a piece of junk? It was like a knockoff. Nineteen seventies version of a very very very cheaply made horribly constructed typewriter. You could type on and I had it for a couple of years when I was in a I was working in. Cleveland is an actor and I needed to get it fixed and clear was at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival I was at the Cleveland. Play or no legendarily. So at the Cleveland Play House. Yeah that was. The Cleveland. Play House was the bitter rival of the best and vice versa. Thing and it was falling apart and the carriage would slide. In when I returned it would not line up properly. There was all sorts of problems with it so I took it to this old German guide. Detroit Avenue Business Machines on the west side of Cleveland. And he was at a shop that was just jammed with every kind of like thousand key adding machines and what have you and he was also servicing by that time printers copy machines or whatnot and he said what can I do for your young man. I said I need to have this typewriter service so let me see the machine. It had leather at case and I opened it up and threw his hands up and says I will not touch this machine album not I will not touch it. He said well I said why is your job to repair business. He says yes. I re- I work on machines. Not On toys. And this is a toy. And he lectured me for the better part in twenty minutes. About what a true typewriter isn't I walked out of there with a Hermes two thousand typewriter that he gave me five dollars off For Trade and for my junk type or any told. I'm just going to throw this away said okay. Fine but that Hermes two thousand typewriter which that particular typewriter got lost over the course about ten years and ten moves as since been replaced by. Well you know one hundred nineteen machines how I understand the story leading to own. You're asking why Y- probing deeper Allen. I mean I understand owning a typewriter because the guy gets turned onto it. But how did you wind up with? You have an obsession with typewriter. I do how did you get that? You can change the world with a typewriter now. You can't change our world two of the pen and paper. If your handwriting is legible enough mine is not. There is something about the order that a a good typewriter puts the words in the the. The margins are equal typefaces crisp. You can make mistakes but go back over it and what you come out of at. The end of a piece of paper is as unique. A creation as any oil painting watercolor photograph negative. Did you write your your book of Short Stories? On a typewriter I began. I wrote about first five pages of one draft of the story on a typewriter because I didn't have my laptop with me at the tunnel. It'd be mad. Dissed in order to do it on a typer but I type every day. I sent a letter to somebody. Leave a memo. Put out notes. I I I send a lot of letters on typewriters because there is something about the purity of the words in your head and the sound of the percussion of the of the keys hitting the paper. And I can't go back enough again to say the uniqueness of let me tell you story I was at nor ephrons house. We were good friends. We work together and nor was one of the Great. Inspirations and She had up on the wall of just in the in the hallway. She had a letter and I leaned in. It was a framed letter so did not get a letter from the letterhead was No Coward and it was a typewritten letter from a Goldeneye his place down in Down Jamaica Right. His his his winter home in Jamaica and it said An all it was whereas a letter to somebody thanking them for a very witty lunch. A lovely a lovely afternoon at their house and there was a little kind of joke at it was obviously shared between Dole cowered in the end a hostess and it was assigned Knoll and I looked at that and I thought no coward type that at his house in Jamaica named Golden Eye. And now it's sixty years later it's hanging on a friend of mine's wall. Nobody throws away a typewritten. So type or a typewritten letter kind of has its own signature and you can picture that person's hands hitting the keys is at the end the force of your finger on the keys impacts the depth of. Here's here's the thing when you type with a typewriter. You are not applying ink onto paper. You're stamping into the fiber of the papers. If I always type out dear Alan alda which by the way I will send you a letter. I can't wait that those are the. Da Our space a. l. a. and Space A. L. A. Space are not on the surface of the paper. They are inside the fabric of the paper and that alone to me. It turns it into a form of a graphic art. It's not just an never mind. What idea might be communicated in their physically if you put it in a drawer? It'll last two thousand years..