I remember learning in film class about a word that Alfred Hitchcock coined: “MacGuffin”. He used it to refer to some aspect of a plot that seems important to the characters in the story but isn’t really all that important to the director except that it moves the plot along. For example, in “North By Northwest” everyone is running around after some microfilm, but the real purpose of the movie is to get Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint together. The chase after the microfilm is a MacGuffin.
I use MacGuffins all the time to further the plot of life … if we go to visit my sister-in-law, the MacGuffin is to hear the symphony of frogs that echoes all night long in the springtime at their house near the Chesapeake. It really is wonderful, but of course the true purpose is to visit with her and her husband. If the weather shifts and the frogs aren’t doing their thing … it really doesn’t matter, you know? Same thing if I go “shopping” with a friend: usually I have some home decoration item or another in mind and I share all the details about how it should be just this or that color and needs to fit in this or that niche and sometimes I pile on some additional requirements and caveats (it makes the search more interesting) … but the truth of the matter is that I want to spend time with the person and I’m not disappointed at all if we come out of it empty-handed!
In the case of the “Knitting Lingo” page (see header), where I’ve been posting my take on knitting vocabulary, the MacGuffin is “to help any non-knitter who may be having trouble communicating with a knitter in their life”. As if a non-knitter will ever be reading these pages, ha ha ha!! I think the actual purpose is reflected more by the subtitle of my blog; it’s just another way of capturing my own beginner experience. I rearranged the Knitting Lingo page, by the way. It now has a list of terms on the first page and the “definitions” themselves have been moved to other pages. The latest additions are about quantities of yarn, words which are not all exclusive to knitting. And now I’m finding myself exploring other terminology in that realm — for example, “nostepinne” and “dibble”. Oh yes, there will be entries for those when I get a chance, hah!
Edit: a blog entry without pictures? What was I thinking?? Here are some pics taken in Mathews County, Virginia where my SIL lives (these are not of her house, however).