Darkly dreaming indexer

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… okay, with that subject line I’m trying to pun off the book title Darkly Dreaming Dexter, but A) it’s a mediocre pun and B) I didn’t like the book. Great concept (serial killer on the Side of Good is our hero), unsatisfying execution. In my defense, A) it’s hard to pun off the word “index,” I’d jolly well like to see you do better, and B) my brain hurts.

My brain hurts because I’ve been consumed by my subject index. I am in Subject Index hell. I mean that. I am in hell. There is plenty of evidence to back me up here. To say nothing of the agony and misery, etc., the temperatures are exceedingly warm (mid-90s today) and there is gnashing of teeth.

When I am stressed, I grind my teeth in my sleep. I’m not aware of its happening at the time, obviously, what with being asleep and all, but I can tell by the ache in my jaw the next morning that my teeth have been committing a very slow form of suicide. Toothicide? Dentricide?

As recently as, say, eight weeks ago, I was blissfully unaware of the exquisite torture of indexing. I am ashamed, now, that I have never before admired the beauty of a well-prepared index. Henceforth I shall pay special attention to the quality of a book’s index, reserving the right to scorn any index that is not as good as, say, mine.

I would treat you to a painfully detailed explanation of subject indexing so that you could begin to appreciate the magnificent product I am creating, but unfortunately the magnificent product is due in a few weeks and I cannot realistically see myself finishing before November or so. I am not quite sure how to reconcile this gaping time disparity, but a likely first step is to not waste any more time blogging till it gets done.

And have I mentioned the title/author index? The entries are all in place. All that remains is to drop in the page numbers– but with 3,526 entries, assuming an optimistic ten seconds per entry, we’re looking at 9.79 hours.

Right. So no more blogging for a little while. Also no more laundry (which sucks), but also no more vacuuming (yay!) and no more fussing about with food preparation, which as I interpret it means “Ice cream for dinner every night!”

6 responses »

  1. I like the "Darkly Dreaming Indexer" heading. I think I may take that as my new business indexing name (as opposed to my current business name–"The End Product"–which the people at my bank think is some kind of porn company–until they see my tiny little deposits). I’m so sorry you’re in indexing hell. I feel your pain, as I index part-time, and there’s ALWAYS a point when you start having anxiety nightmares about the book you’re in the middle of. If it makes you feel any better, I just indexed a 1200-page two-volume book that consisted solely of the diaries of Christian missionaries to an Indian community in the 17th century. If you think 17th-century Christian missionaries were a barrel of laughs in their diaries–you’d be very, VERY wrong.Are you doing something more stringent than stripping out the subjects listed in your annotations and using those as headings, or is your book structured a little differently than mine (annotation, subjects, now try)? Either way, just do the best you can and hit the big subjects and you’ll be fine. Anything’s an improvement over catalog subjects (and that’s not a dig at catalogers–I know they’ve got a tough job).I’m pulling for you. Keep your stick on the ice.

  2. eleemosenary arcihvist

    HMMM,Dexter/Sinister Good/Evil;Right/Left Darkly Dexter lurking in the shadows there somewhere must be a yet to be discovered anagramatic double crostic literary light"In hoc signo Vince Indicatorum" Happy Independence Day.May the speedy scribes of accurate electronic entries be with you.

  3. the lesbrarian

    Citizen Read and Eleemosenary Archivist:You are the only two people I know who understand this wretched process. Thank you for commiserating.My book’s structured the same as yours, CR, but A) I applied way more subject headings, which I see now was a horrible mistake, and consequently B) my index is a bit more complicated than yours. It’s the cross-referencing that’s killing me, really.

  4. eleemosenary arcihvist

    Relax a bit ’tis evening.Toss a Mrs Calendar meal in the microwave,or a chicken pot pie in the oven.Savor a (generous)glass of Caberlonet nouveaux & by all means get mum or dad to pick up yr laundry tomorrow should that chore remain on the to-be-do-be-do-bi-done list!Laundromats as you are no doubt aware,belong in the venue noir category of AmericanLit;gender not withstanding.Be of good cheer,young Lady.Thine index will get done,but stress is bad for the cats.You like yr cats right?Be kind to them,don’t be ‘cross’ referencing to distraction.out-4-now/tb/EA

  5. the lesbrarian

    Tempting! But as mom and dad live seven hours away, I broke down and went to the laundromat, the one bastion of seediness in Williamsburg. And I did get my title/author index in today, so that counts for something.

  6. eleemosenary arcihvist

    One forgets such N.Carolinan roots since you speak so fondly of the folks.but a 7-hour trip is a bit much;There must be a sociological context in which Laudromats could qualify for quality of life upgrades though,Less harsh lighting,mandatory potted palms(ok chaining them down would be tacky),an grandfatherly retired Sargent Major knit scarves for troops in cold climates(with an old but alert dog named Indexo{ok name was Fang} curled up at his feet beneath the Palm In the Algarve there was actually such a Washeteria.For next to nothing a one-legged veteran of the Monstrous Regiment(Angola actually),would wash dry,and fold;That all might be clad in crisp rainment & few had time was taken for granted.On holidays of course an offering ofAguagardiente was expected;but that was in the Land of yesteryear where Mort finally called "O SARGENT,WE HAVE A JOURNEY BEFORE US.FANG WILL BE FINE" Now back to Indexing names of untransliteratable Soviet Diplomats. Hmm,Vinogradov, Vinogradoff or a final’w"?. Congrats on the progress.May your cats be cool.tgb/EA …


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