"Who knows whether in retirement I shall be tempted to the last infirmity of mundane minds, which is to write a book."
- Geoffrey Francis Fisher, Baron Fisher of Lambeth (1887-1972), the preposterous Anglican priest who was the 99th Archbishop of Canterbury (1945 to 1961), and who once also said, “the dangers of a world war would be reduced if typewriters are abolished”.
Facebook reminded me this morning that is nine years today since I took early retirement, after 47 years in print newspaper journalism. Offered an opportunity to do so, I eagerly jumped ship, almost six months ahead of the prescribed retirement age of 65. It remains one of the most rewarding decisions I’ve ever made. Ever had one of those nightmares in which you’re buried alive and, desperately scrambling for air, see a fragment of light above you? That was the sense of relief I experienced on October 27, 2012. The next day I posted on this blog about a beautiful ivory and como green Remington Model 2 portable typewriter I’d won on eBay for a ludicrous $22. I was also already making plans to attend Herman Price’s typewriter gathering at the Chestnut Ridge typewriter museum in West Viriginia. I never did get to meet Ken Coghlan at it, but there were hundreds of compensations, not the least of which was visiting Richard Polt in Cincinnati.
Many times in retirement I have been close to what that bonkers bishop Geoffrey Fisher described as “the last infirmity of mundane minds”, which is to write a book. Indeed, in mid-2017 I actually put together something called The Barefoot Billionairess (about the heiress to Henry Benedict’s Remington typewriter fortune) on a Lulu template. But after carefully laying out the text and images, Lulu told me it only accepted the Calibri sans serif font. That threw everything out, so I gave up. In January 2017 I promised on this blog to bring out books on the history of the Imperial typewriter, the typewriter in Australia, and about those real mad men, Yost, Hammond, Crandell, Densmore & Co, and to re-edit and republish The Magnificent 5 (it's been out of print for 10 years now). The next month I met my wife. Enough said. I do have two books more than half written, one of which is a sure-fire bet to knock some socks off. But neither of them have much to do with typewriters.
The main reason these works haven’t been completed is this blog. Since my retirement celebration post on October 28, 2012, my 765th post, I have added 1995 more posts - which must amount to close to two million words (or enough for several books). On Sunday ozTypewriter quietly passed the 4¾ million page views mark. It crawled its way there but has since – for reasons beyond my comprehension - taken off again. Notwithstanding that sudden surge in interest, my blog has definitely entered its final phase. I plan to stop contributing posts to it within the next year. Then, maybe, “the last infirmity of my mundane mind” will take hold and I will get at least one book written and published before I die. Who knows? It may even be about typewriters.