Indexes or Indices?
I am old-fashioned I guess. I used the word indices when talking about more than one index. Indexes was not accepted as a legitimate a word when I was in school.
No matter how you spell the word’s plural form, an index is a wonderful way-finder but a real bear to construct as it has to be precisely detailed and accurate.
An index is essentially something that points to something else. As such it an index can be a clue to aspects of identity.
When telling a story, your story or that of others, the reader has to have a personal connection with what is written. Either the character has to be strong and multifaceted, with a clear voice, or the story so compelling, so riveting, that the reader needs to keep reading.
Create an identity, a character, from the real facts you have. If it is yourself that you are writing about, include what you need to to convey your story, but not so much detail as to bore. A few well told stories can accompany a host of images and memorabilia, and bring them to life.
My collection of my mother’s mementos from the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair are neat enough by themselves. But when the story of a 19 year old girl traveling to the big city by train from the small town county seat where she lives accompanies the collection, the context provides the elements for readers or viewers to create narratives to accompany the material items from a distant time and place. Include facts.
Mom shared an apartment with other young women who work with her at Blue Belle clothing factory.The tiny village in which she grew up was only 10 miles from the town where she worked. It seemed far away as she was young and out on her own. Even though times are tough, she was a modern woman with her whole life ahead of her. The town is surviving the Depression with small-scale industry, agriculture, and being on a major U.S. highway that feeds into Chicago. Prohibition was ending. Dillinger was robbing banks and evading the police around the area.
The items in the collection act as indices which point to personality, dreams, and views of a girl moving into adulthood in another time.
In many ways this is curation at its best. Giving enough information for a story to be told, while leaving enough room for the person reading or viewing the items and information to create a story that makes sense to them.
All we really leave behind are pointers, indices, that hint at who we were. They suggest an identity or voice. But living on in people’s minds is becoming a story in their thoughts. Leave intriguing clues, context, and personal touches.
Beyond that we can only hope to be re-created in a wonderful way.
Letter I Legacy of Indices to Identity Tools for Legacy projects