The Local Yarn

An Index Worth Exploring

Book index. Patent pending.
Book index. Patent pending.

Within the past week, I created a book-style index of everything I’ve ever written on this website, going back to 1999 (see the errata for implementation details). I’ve been thinking about doing it for so long (years), that when I finally decided to do it it took about an hour.

I like this application of the index format, because it allows you to re-explore things after they drop off the front page. It keeps things from disappearing forever. And I’ve never seen anyone else do something quite like it on the web before. But also, like any keyword index, it acts as a low-focus source of ideas; a way to connect random things and concepts; a little spawning-ground of serendipity.

“One thing that is not in my fridge is ketchup and mustard. You know why? Because you don’t have to put them in the fridge! Too many Americans are putting cold ketchup on nice, hot hamburgers. And I ask those Americans, When you go to the diner, where is the ketchup? Sitting out on the table.”

Roger stood on the deck, undoing his necktie and looking for the cat. Too late, he spotted it — nonchalantly trailing a young woman down the sidewalk! Call out, give chase? How awkward, he thought. Frozen in indecision, he watched them walk away together.

Roger’s eyes welled up. He was peeling an onion & listening to radio news, commenting loudly on every point. His cat watched, trying to figure out the code, how he responded to what sorts of phrases, but it was all inscrutable, especially the crying part.

There he was. How many times had Irene watched, in rapt attention, as he had calmly and knowledgeably predicted a cold front moving in on the ten o’clock news? And there he was, fumbling for the keys to his ’88 station wagon. All she needed was a pretext.