xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' OriginalStitch: Indexing

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


You can spend many years trying to work out what makes your brain tick. Indeed, it can be many years before you realise that what you are trying to find in your life is the thing that makes your brain tick. It is different to the thing you think you ought to want to do; nor is it necessarily the thing you wish you wanted to do; and sadly, it is often not the thing you are doing, even if you are trying to want to do it. With all those verbs it's not surprising it took me ten.

I was reading Eve magazine one day, and in it was a letter from a reader thanking Eve for a careers article they ran four years ago. She was inspired she said; took the course, and is now a fully qualified Indexer, earning money doing the thing she loves.

And when I read this letter about someone reading something and being inspired, I too was inspired, and that too is what I am going to do. I am going to become an Indexer. What is one of those, exactly, you are saying. An indexer is someone who compiles indexes to reference books, and it is not the author; the skills required, and the processes involved are not usually the author's bag. I had no idea. I had never thought about it, but when I did, I loved the idea of having to read a text, gauge the salient points, work out how to group them, understand what the significant topics are, and then begin the lengthy task of putting them all in order, alphabetically.

Now that I know what to look for, I realise several times a day that I am perfectly suited to the job. I was tidying up the toys today, and pondering whether or not to change the tidying system for Isla and Hetty's Happyland sets. I am kneeling thigh deep in the strewn contents of a miniature village which has been disastrously crawled through and trampled on by Big Giant Baby (Hetty), and I am looking around me wondering whether I should put the little people with the vehicles they drive/fly/ride, or with the buildings with which they and their vehicles are associated? Should I put the tracks and buildings together in a box (grouping them as fixed infrastructural elements), and regard the people and vehicles as moveable objects and thus group them together in a different box? And what of the street furniture - road signs, railway signs, wind sock and so on? Which box would most closely relate to their purpose? They are not entirely fixed, but not exactly moveable either. Unless of course Isla decides to clippity-clop a wind sock from the airfield into the church on the back of the wedding sheep and carriage (yes, sheep, not horse; I don't make the rules); in which case I perhaps ought to be regarding them as characters, like the firefighter and the American tourist and the air traffic controller.

And then I thought, oh sod it, look at this bloody mess, I can't be arsed; the little buggers can tidy this up themselves tomorrow, I'm off to eat my tea.

You see I border on severe geekdom, and am then saved by ordinary laziness, and chilli. With plain yoghurt. When I told my father of my indexing personality over dinner, he said, oh get a life. Which is rich coming from a computer programmer.

Let the indexing begin. If I can decide how to file the course notes that is.

1 comment:

Mairi said...

He he he he he he, I love it. When I eventually have acquired enough recipes to put in a book, you will be indexing it. And proof reading, and being a guinea pig for all the food. And helping to take photos. And designing it too. In fact, you do it, I'll get the royalty cheques