Study Guide

Northrop Frye Files

Notes for a Small Paperback Book, tentatively titled Type Right: Why an Old Remington Manual Is Way, Way Better Than Your Apple Anything

  • My agent has encouraged me to write a charming and disarming little book about my love of the typewriter (must include pictures for Generation X and under). 
  • It will be part memoir, part history of technology, part opportunity to voice further opinions about moving from parochial regions to more cosmopolitan ones, part rehash of Fearful Symmetry. Opportunities are limitless.
  • Back in my day, you didn't have to ace the SAT and then apply to, like, a hundred colleges hoping upon hope that there aren't 23,000 just like you looking to secure that same coveted space. No, you just worked hard at math and history and physical education and stuff. So, there will be an homage to the "good old days."
  • I was the rising star in my English classes, which back then didn't mean you got a full ride to Princeton—for me it meant winning a scholarship in stenographic training from Moncton's Success Business College. (Gotta love that name!) I was a busy beaver, learning to type and do shorthand. (Go rent Mad Men if you need visuals.)
  • My nimble fingers took me all the way to Toronto's Typing Contest of 1929. Toronto! That was a dramatic shift in my surroundings.
  • Now, the whole typing thing gave way to a more conventional path when I became a student at the University of Toronto's Victoria College.
  • Who knows where the typing prodigy in me could have gone? I could have become a wunderkind with weird clips on YouTube.
  • At that same time, I was also thinking of becoming a minster, so who knows what kind of combined professional endeavor could have distracted me from the world of myths, narratives, and archetypes? I could have ended up concerned with ideology for the rest of my life! So disturbing.
  • Anyway, I don't know if the typing book is going to pan out. However, I'd like to say that I so much appreciate the production of the book itself. (No Kindles and Nooks for me.) I like seeing my thoughts become words on a page—which is good, because I put a lot of words on pages.