Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Poem: Taken By Typewriters

Typed on my 1939 Erika 5 at Mill Mountain Coffee in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Poem: West Virginia Sex Shop

May 30, 2018:

I thought I might focus this blog a little more on poetry while maintaining a strong typewriter presence.  Hopefully the change results in more posts in general. 
Today I have a 1951 Gossen Tippa which I fell in love with minutes before Richard Polt kindly offered to let me buy it from him.  It came with a letter documenting its history of traveling with the first owner as he moved to Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Germany, Canada... it's been all over the place.  I am very grateful for the machine and also to know the history of it.  I mean, how often do we ever get to know such things about the machines we love?
The poem is about love too... written in a hotel lobby the night/morning of May 18/19th in Midloathian, Virginia while reflecting on a drive through part of West Virginia the day before.



Sunday, May 6, 2018

Short Piece About Me on PBS

I am sorry for the hiatus since my last post.  Here is one of the things which I have been busy with (thanks to Blue Ridge PBS):


WHAT'S YOUR STORY?: MARK PETERSEN, TYPEWRITER ENTHUSIAST from Blue Ridge PBS on Vimeo.


Friday, November 10, 2017

The Coffeeshop Response

A good ending to a fairly non-dramatic but excellent blog-content event.  There is still yet another piece of this saga remaining to be posted soon! 

This looked good on my ipod, it was not until I sent the letter that I put it on the computer and saw that it was a little blurry.  Sorry!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

What To Do If You and Your Typewriter Are Asked to Leave a Business

These are my thoughts after having experienced this.  I think it should be required reading for anyone who wants to bring a typewriter to use in a public place.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea, Salem: To Type or Not To Type?

Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea.  17 E Main Street / Salem, VA 24153
Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea, Salem Virginia (make sure you see follow up posts, the following is from the day of):
Today was the first day, in seven years or so working at coffeeshops or bars, recently 3-5 times a week, that I have ever been told "nope!"
I had brought a typewriter to this same venue about a week prior, the same typewriter in fact, on October 28 and had no issues.  I went in today and was told by an employee I was bothering people and needed to put my typewriter away.  I finished a short paragraph, chugged my remaining coffee, and left, wishing I waited until I was leaving to put money in the tip jar... that dollar is long gone.
I felt a deep sense of shame when I was told to pack up... they didn't kick me out -but they may as well have because the reason I went there was to work on some letters and poetry.  The shame was irrational because this coffeeshop is a noisy place, with an espresso machine and their own grinders and even music, as well as plenty of people talking.  I was told the people who complained were studying -there was a library right across the street though and I don't think there is an expectation of quietness in a coffeeshop, not generally.
On the flipside, it would have been quite rude of me to go in and start playing a trombone -just because this place is "public" and I could.  But I think a typewriter is grey area.  And they are far less noisy.
The restaurant has a right to decide how they want to treat customers and who they want to grant preference to.  They were in a sticky situation, and what they did was not unfair, even if it was upsetting to me.  They have every right to have acted exactly like they did, and they were professional about it.  Just as I have every right not to return there, and to tell my friends there might be better places to buy a cup of coffee.  And to blog about it.
After the employee had confronted me a customer immediately jumped up from a few tables away and told me he loved the sound, and his wife and him were just talking about it, and he was deeply sorry what had happened.  This is the usual reaction I get if I get any in the places I usually work.  Some delis and coffeeshops even welcome me in with excitement, "It's the typewriter guy!" and with big smiles.  I generally prefer to be ignored, but positive attention is much better than negative attention.  I was thankful someone had come over to say something kind, it alleviated some of the embarrassment and shame I was feeling.  I think I blushed while being scolded.  I thought I knew Salem, and I thought it was a safe place for me to be myself and to work.  It was shocking and unsettling, Salem is close enough to home to be home.
Look for two blog posts coming soon, "What to do if asked to leave while typing publicly" and "What to do if someone begins typing in your coffeeshop or bar".


ADDENDUM:
There is a part two to this story, posted very soon, about follow up from management in response to a letter I sent.  It turns out the actions of the employee were against company policy and I did receive an apology.