The Writings of Irv Thomas


The Theme Quadrant

Material on site arranged according to its topical concerns

A good index must be the key access feature of any 30-year collection of discursive writing. But in order to be accessible, especially in an online format, it has to be well conceived, and drawn with a wary eye toward the opposing hazards of sheer bulk and insufficient cueing.

To get by the first hazard, this is a thematic index at the first level, facilitating your search into second-level indexes that consolidate broad categories of relatively related material. Within each of these, the search facilitation is continued by use of keywords as a further topic clustering device.

The second hazard is a bit more tricky. Ideally, a good index reference will provide some cue as to the relative significance or extent of the item it points to, so as to save you endless back-and-forth jockeying. I may, for example, have covered similar territory in a half-dozen pieces of writing, over the years, and I want to provide some key within the index, itself, as to how I rank or rate each item.

So I've adopted a system of keying the links, that gives you a lot of information in a brief code, which I'll explain here, and repeat at the head of each sectional index. A two-letter venue indicator together with a two-digit year notation is the first part of it, so that RS98 stands for a 1998 issue of Ripening Seasons, and BB73 stands for a Black Bart from 1973. In between the venue and year will be either one, two, or three periods, a significance rating. Three dots (...) means an extensive treatment, most likely the major topic of that piece of writing. Two dots (..) means it's definitely worthy of notice, but less than major. And one dot (.) is for anyone seeking anything I ever wrote on a subject. Or possibly, whatever I said of it within a certain time frame.

The full notation, then, will look like RS...98 or BB.73 and it should greatly assist you in tracking any theme on the site. The code will be the link that takes you to the material.

A limited number of venue indicators are employed, to this end, so that they'll be more easily kept track of. In addition to BB and RS, the two major venues of my own creation, there is IA, for the book Innocence Abroad, NL for newsletters I've generated, some specifically associated with Black Bart, and others as my continuing effort to keep folks posted of what has been happening to me, UW for my series of columns in the Univ. of Washington Daily, OP for other publishers (excepting UW Daily), and NV for non-venue, which includes all material that has not seen general publication in any prior form, except for personal journaling which has its own code: JL, treated separately because of its 'raw data' nature. Again, these will be listed at the head of each secondary index, for quick and easy reference.

In breaking an index into nine parts, there are unavoidably topics that don't have a sure or easy fit. I'll use cross references wherever I can catch those situations, but the one you want will surely be missing. So it may be useful to try more than one index if seeking something you can't find. To make that easy and convenient, each index carries, at the top, a set of links to all the others, so there will be no difficulty in bouncing back and forth, as necessary. As a further way of outwitting this problem, the overview of the nine index categories, below, is followed by a full list of all the keywords employed, each linked to the index that carries it.

There is no category, here, concerning my own life -- for that, go to the Autobiographical quadrant. However, my own life is necessarily involved with all of these categorical themes, so if approached from that standpoint the material will be found here, too. References to the people in my world are being consigned to Index #9, though the topics of relationship and friendship (in the abstract) are in #3, a distinction you may want to note.

These links will take you to the nine Basic Theme Indexes

  1. Consciousness and Reality
    • All about awareness, perception, belief, the reshaping of reality, the non-rational, left/right hemispheric differentiation, synchronicities, the I Ching and other inner discovery tools, breaking out of the rational fixation, Jungian thinking, archetypes, spiritual insight, etc.
  2. Cycles and the Seasonal life
    • On time and aging, understanding life through its cyclic patterns, its connection to nature, developing a seasonal awareness, the seven-year cycle, seasonal points of passage, how to know them and see their occurrence in different time-frames, etc.
  3. Personal change and growth
    • About taking charge of your own life, challenging the conventional, letting in the new, the influence of feminism, finding/creating your personal path, confronting resistance, dealing with habits, living your truth, friendship, personal relationships, love and sex, etc.
  4. Simple living and Poverty as a choice
    • Moving toward a more natural life, dealing with the enigma of money, letting go of dependencies, fears, seeing 'deprivation' as a challenge, what poverty really means, what Providence really means, simple living and the experience of life, hitch-hiking, etc.
  5. Right Livelihood and work
    • On work in general, and livelihood as a way of Being, its true basis in selfhood rather than material need, breaking free of a job-and-paycheck mentality, creating relatedness in one's work/life, breaking the old rules, changing work to reflect yourself, your own ways, etc.
  6. Social concerns and community
    • Housing, homelessness, social activism, helping others, 'giving back' to the world, our part to play in a Providential Universe, seeing the collective process as a personal support function, as growth (a way of countering the ego), as the fulfillment of community, etc.
  7. Culture and the Ways of the world
    • Everything in the world around us (except for what falls in the next category): government, politics, education, media and advertising, the economy, marketing as the national ethic, where we're headed, where we've been, what we've lost and supposedly gained, etc.
  8. Technology and Science
    • On science as the 20th Century religion, our love affair with technology, computers, nuclear bombs and quantum physics, the information age, the internet, radiation and biotechnology, how it all impacts on our lives, Y2K, exploring outer space, etc.
  9. The Playful, Creative Self
    • On everything that's been fun: writing, artwork, books and collecting, music and records, poetry, journaling, correspondence, personal projects, doing self-publication, tracking old friends, web-surfing, library searching, etc.  Also, the people-index of my personal world.

Return to Staging Area from here, if you wish.

What follows is a list of keywords, hopefully not too long (but it will keep growing), each linked to its appropriate index, which can then be browsed as you will, for the selected term or among similar themes.