While reading Matthew Kirschenbaum’s article, “Introduction: It Is Known” from Track Changes, I found the emphasis put on a writer’s writing processor very interesting, specifically George R.R. Martin’s use of WordStar, and why people find this so compelling. Martin’s segment on Conan O’Brian when viral on social media, which I find slightly ironic as WordStar does not have Internet connection, which is one of the things that attracts Martin to it (Kirschenbaum 1).
Why are we as readers and viewers so intrigued by a writer’s writing processor? What does his or her writing processor mean to us? I think our interest in the tools a writer uses has to do with our ability to make connections, as when we are aware of how what we are reading was written, it allows us to feel more connected to the text, as well as admire or question the tools that were used. Knowing what kind of tools and word processors writers use allow readers to be one step closer to understanding digital writing. Further, including materiality, lets readers understand the role technology, such as word processors, play in word documentation.
I feel because WordStar is not the most current word processor available, people tend to question it. It interests me that the public accuses Martin of being against new technology, while, “he called his antique computer his ‘secret weapon’ and suggested the lack of distraction… accounted for his long-running productivity” (Kirschenbaum 1). Perhaps if I did not have Internet connection available to me while writing I would be more productive as well. I think people like to question things that are unknown to them, which is why there was such a big production made about Martin’s choice of word processor. Kirschenbaum’s article opens my eyes that not everyone today uses Microsoft Word, further allowing myself to be educated on digital writing and tools.
Kirschenbaum, Matthew. “Introduction: It Is Known.” Track Changes. (2016) : 1-20.