Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Global Index

The Global Index: An occasional report on goings-on in the known universe

Here, for your reading pleasure, an interview with Jessica Hagy, the 29-year-old creator and author of the forthcoming book, to be released nationwide in February 2008, titled "INDEXES". An advertising copywriter by day, Hagy is also the genius behind a popular blog [] that showcases her marvelous indexes about this and that. The book has a bright future, with a major publisher backing it. Stay tuned.

"This site is a little project that lets me make fun of some things and sense of others. I use it to think a little more relationally without resorting to doing actual math". -- Jessica Hagy


THE INTERVIEW: webposted August 1, 2007, indexed July 27, 2007
[conducted by Global Index editor Danny Bloom in Taiwan via email] [reporter.bloom AT gmail DOT com]

Danny Bloom: How did you first come up with the current illustration model , and is it the same as the first one you came up with, or has it evolved?

JESSICA HAGY: Diagrams seem to be universally understood, and they can be used to convey all sorts of things. I decided to set up a blog made up of just diagrams, because I'd read somewhere that "every writer needs a blog", and I didn't want to have an "ordinary" or "expected"sort of format. I started just with 3x5 cards, but found that sometimes a diagram or set of diagrams needed more room, so somtimes I use 5x7 cards.

QUESTION: What is your background: hometown, college, current work?

HAGY: I have a journalism degree from Ohio University and an MBA from Otterbein College. I currently work as an advertising copywriter in Columbus, Ohio. I've lived in Ohio my entire life (but I would like to move someday).

QUESTION: What kind of feedback do you get from readers of your blog?

HAGY: The best feedback I received was when I announced that there would be a book based on the blog, and the response was really overwhelmingly positive and wonderful. I get emails of support from all around the world -- every day -- and I'm shocked.

QUESTION: Who will publish your book?

HAGY: My literary agent in San Francisco was able to place the book with an editor at Viking Studio, which is a book division of the Penguin Publishing Company. How the book deal came about was like a dream, and it happened like this: The man who is now my literary agent contacted me about two weeks after I started the blog. Then, about five months later, an editor at Penguin emailed me about a possible book. I forwarded his message to my agent, and a few weeks later, we had a book deal.

The book will come out as a mass market paperback in February 2008, and I am looking forward to the promotional plans my publisher is putting together. Newspaper nterviews, radio interviews, TV appearances -- it's exciting to think about.

QUESTION: There is a video about your work. How did that come about, and who are the people who made it? []

HAGY: That video was made by some Austrian filmmakers. They actually sent me the finished product and said, "We hope this is oaky, we want to enter it in film festivals." I was really impressed with how they animated the index diagrams — and I was very flattered, too. Because I work in advertising, but in a small market, it was really great to see
that video on the very top of the front page of on Superbowl Sunday.

QUESTION: What is your normal day like at home or the office? What newspapers or websites do you read reguarly, and how do you get your news?

HAGY: I am an omnivorious web-reader. I start out on Yahoo's homepage or the New York Times online, and I gather random information from there. And now, with my blog, I get a lot of email from many people letting me know about things and asking me to "index" current events. The blog has taken on a life of its own!

QUESTION: Where do your ideas come from for the index? Do you have thousands of notecards with ideas already jotted down for future indexes, or do you take it day by day?

HAGY: I have about 1000 drawn index cards in a shoebox, but I usually draw a few in the evening, ever night, before I go to sleep. I had been trying to do a week's worth on Sunday afternoons for a while, but that got to be incompatible with my schedule.

QUESTION: Will your book be translated into any foreign languages for readers overseas in Taiwan or Japan or Germany or Spain or China?

HAGY: I would love to see some translations of the book! I think the success of the English-language version will determine if we do any translations later. But already, some readers of my blog from overseas are asking me, via the comments sections, about translations. One reader in Brazil said he he is hoping to see my book in Portugese there.

Danny Bloom: Could you make an index of this interview and post it online on your blog?

HAGY: Sure. Here.....

Danny Bloom: Thank you, Jessica Hagy, for your time. Good luck with the book launch!

HAGY: Thank you.


(c) 2007-2008 The Global Index (Taiwan)