"The Bazooka" by Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

It’s not your color

Reading Time: 2 minutes
"The Bazooka" by Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
“The Bazooka” by Howard Fielding. Offered under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

Nobody guessed, so I’ll tell you anyway. I think you’ve already figured it out.

My new (actually, as old as I am) Royal Quiet Deluxe typewriter — the very model that mucho macho Ian Fleming pounded away at to write his 14 James Bond books and short stories — is bubble-gum pink.

Fleming was a tough guy — ex-Royal Navy intelligence, like his super-spy hero — and spent his vacations in his Goldeneye retreat in Jamaica. There he did manly things like spear-fishing and hobnobbing with the rich and famous. And somehow he managed to blast out the Bond series in his spare time.

His typewriter was a limited-edition gold-plated version. He was The Man With the Golden Typewriter.

Turns out that the standard Royal Quiet Deluxe was available in six colors including green, blue, red, and gray. The gold-plated models were apparently reserved for Royal employees and award-winning high school writers.

Fleming reportedly commissioned his in 1952 from the Royal Typewriter Company in Hartford, Connecticut. It sold at auction at Christie’s in London for $90,309 in 1995.

Ian Fleming’s golden typewriter sold at auction for about $90,000 in 1995. PHOTO: CHRISTIE’S IMAGES, LONDON/SCALA, FLORENCE via WSJ.com

I bought mine secondhand, too, but for about 0.007 of that price. Why, then, is mine a girly pink? If not gold (hard to find these days), why not black, the standard color for office typewriters of the day?

My first novel, which I drafted a few years ago as a National Novel Writing Month project, features a heroine who uses a Royal Quiet Deluxe to tell her story. Why? No spoilers. But when I did research on those typewriters, I spotted one in bubble-gum pink and knew that’s the kind she would have used. So I wrote it into the story.

When I revisited my book earlier this year, I thought it would be cool someday to have the same typewriter that my heroine had. I made a note to add one to my modest collection, sooner or later. Then, when my friends gave me their manual typewriter, I knew it had to be sooner. I tied it into my story.

When it arrived and I checked its identifying marks, I was in for a surprise. I can’t quite find the serial number, but from the service stickers I could swear that this is the very typewriter that my heroine used.

It’s a case of life imitating art — or something like that.

Life imitating art? Fleming introduced one of his books as a manuscript that had been left on his desk. What’s so strange about a fictional typewriter arriving on mine? Do you have any souvenirs of your fictional worlds? Tell us in the comments below.

One thought on “It’s not your color

What do you think? Let me know here. Comments are moderated, and I'll respond as soon as I can. Thanks!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.