Choosing the keywords (chapter headers)
I've changed my mind. Each volume will have unique chapters. This means that I will need approximately 42*3 = 126 keywords.
These keywords should be charged with multiple layers of meaning. They should suggest stories and mysteries. They should stimulate research. Some archetypes, but not too pretentious. Collecting them is harder than I thought. Especially if you want a wide, random spread.
See also: Latour litanies.
A warning to self
By compiling the list of keywords myself, I run the risk of revealing my deepest unconscious urges. Like Kurt Vonnegut wrote in Chapter 55 of Cat's Cradle: Never Index Your Own Book.
I got an unexpectedly expert answer, as one does in life sometimes. It appeared that Claire Minton, in her time, had been a professional indexer. I had never heard of such a profession before... She said that indexing was a thing only the most amateurish author undertook to do for his own book. I asked her what she thought of Philip Castle's job.Further challenge
"Flattering to the author, insulting to the reader," she said. "In a hyphenated word," she said with the shrewd amiability of an expert, "_self-indulgent_. I'm always embarrassed when I see an index an author has made of his own work. It's a revealing thing... a shameless exhibition....
"He's obviously in love with this Mona Aamons Monzano... He has mixed feelings about his father... He's insecure... He'll never marry her... I've said all I'm going to say," she said. ...
Sometime later, Ambassador Minton and I met in the aisle of the airplane, away from his wife, and he showed me that it was important to him that I respect what his wife could find out from indexes.
"You know why Castle will never marry the girl, even though he loves her, even though they grew up together?" he whispered... "Because he's a homosexual. She can tell that from the index, too."
Is there any way I could make the book useful? A guidebook? A self-help book? Tips and tricks? A city walk, that can really be walked. Not just a conceptual object, but a real positive contribution.
Wordlist from six sources
I picked a random book that I had laying around. It was City of saints and madmen by Jeff Vandermeer. I noted a few 'meaningful' words in my notebook. The deck of Tarot cards gave some symbolic keywords. But it should not be too obvious. While reading some articles I noted a few 'meaningful' words. I selected a few words from my own blog page of Latour litanies. And I picked several keywords from the table of contents of Capital: New York, Capital of the 20th Century by Kenneth Goldsmith. And of course some chapters named in the Lost book found movie (marked by *).
Then I ran the list of 149 words through the list randomizer at RANDOM.org. This yielded the following chapter titles for volumes 1, 2 and 3. While making the volumes I will make the final selection. But I will not change the ordering.
Volume 1 - The Kindle version
the periodic table*
eagles made from plastic
conservation of matter*
wheel of fortune
Volume 2 - The book version
burial at sea*
mysterious flying cast-iron wheels
objects of desire
drawings of buckets
the sick man*