It’s one of three “Typewriter Eraser” sculptures — five tons in weight and 19 feet tall. I’d seen another version of it years ago at the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art in D.C. (see photo). This one will be on display in Seattle starting October 28.
Unlike manual typewriters and unabridged dictionaries, I’m not nostalgic for the smaller, functional version of these writer’s aids. No matter how you used one, you wound up with light red smudges on the paper and little rubber fragments inside the typewriter.
It also took forever. I took a cue from a good friend and writing mentor, the late William Tuning, and purchased a blueprint eraser. This was a heavy device into which you put a long, pencil-length eraser cylinder. When you plugged it in, the eraser rotated at high speed, making erasing easy. Not to mention accidentally drilling a hole through the paper.
When White Out, Liquid Paper and decent correcting tape later became available, I switched. Sometimes, old approaches are just that and new technology is nothing but an improvement.
(This essay originally appeared on Frank Catalano’s FrankCatalano.com blog.)