wordbqprocessing [1] — Geof Huth

Friday, August 25, 2006.

I spent tonight preparing my personal papers for transfer to an archives. Most of my time went into deciding what I didn’t have to keep any longer in the house with me. This is a multi-step process. The first time through my correspondence was about a year ago, and I set aside about two boxes of correspondence. A few days ago, I took out another box. Tonight, another two. I’ll probably make one last look through my correspondence before I decide I’ve put aside everything I’m ready to give away at this point.

This process of mine is fairly quick right now. I look at folder titles, then I decide whether to pull out the folder (or handful of folders) and place them in a box. I don’t read the contents of the folders. I just move them. But occasionally something else happens.

Geof Huth, “Word Processing with AppleWorks,” p 37 (1986)

Often I discover that I don’t remember (or I hardly remember) the contents of a folder. Today, I ran across a folder entitled “Word Processing for AppleWorks.” I remember that project well. It was my only technical writing job. In 1986, I was unemployed, working as a substitute teacher, and my father-in-law (Budmond) passed on a job to me from the Johnstown City School District. The district needed someone to write a simple training manual students could use to learn the AppleWorks software program’s word processing function. I had used the program quite a bit because I did lots of writing and it was great to be able to use a computer to type papers and poems and letters. I knew the program well.

So I wrote the documentation, but I did things a little differently than others would. I threw in a few jokes about literary theory. All my sample texts were ridiculous little fictions, including one about there being no Santa in Santa Barbara. And I included awkward little verbo-visual tropes in the text. At the top of page 36, I provided an example of all the type sizes available at that point in time through the AppleWorks program (using a little Brion-Gysin-influenced text). Often when I had a type-modifying effect to demonstrate, I demonstrated it upon the very text that explained the effect.

Geof Huth, “Word Processing with AppleWorks,” p 36 (1986)

To document the value of centering text automatically, I wrote a little shaped poem about a Christmas tree. It is not much of a poem, but I’d hoped (I assume) that it would be accessible to the children using the documentation. I also hoped that my various tricks of text would encourage children to experiment with the powerful tool their school district was giving them.

At this same point in time, I was starting to produce digital poems using the Apple BASIC programming language. I now understand that 1986, the year my daughter was two, I was becoming a digital text human. And my papers proved it to me.


[1]   Originally published Friday, August 25, 2006 at http://dbqp.blogspot.com/2006/08/wordbqprocessing.html

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