Don DeLillo's Typewriter

Coyote Canyon Press author Tom Fasano shares a letter he received from Don DeLillo.

Every sentence has a truth waiting at the end of it and the writer learns how to know it when he finally gets there.
Karl Ove KnausgaardDon DeLillo at home in Westchester County, N.Y. with his trusty Olympia manual typewriter. Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

In late 2000 I wrote a letter to Don DeLillo asking him what kind of typewriter he used. I’d read in the Paris Review interview that he used a manual typewriter. A page from said typewriter (from his novel Libra) was also reproduced in the article, and I found it fascinating because it showed evidence of hard labor — typing and lots of inked-in corrections. Plus, the type style was beautiful and I wanted that typewriter. So I wrote the letter. A few months later I received a letter (unfortunately damaged) in reply from this most reclusive literary genius, who identified his typewriter as an Olympia “SM-something.” The above photo clearly shows an Olympia SM9, manufactured in the early 1970s. A great and reliable machine, one of which I now own. Here’s a link to the manual.

Don DeLillo's letter to me in 2001, damaged in the mail. Don DeLillo’s letter to me in 2001, damaged in the mail.

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