Thursday, March 17, 2011

The name of the game or the game of the name?

There are two book titles which are so good, so evocative, so Just. Damn. Perfect. that I believe, if only I could steal them, I could write the perfect novel to fit under their banners.

One is Richard Farina's Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me.

The other is Harlan Ellison's All The Lies That Are My Life.

Aside from both being very good non-fiction books, don't both their titles conjure up all sorts of stories and characters? Either could be a straight novel or crime novel or humorous novel or...the possibilities are endless.

At least, that's how I see it.

By the way, if I could control the way links show up here when they are book titles, this page would look a lot prettier. I say that now because I am about do do the uncontrollable think yet again.

In recent years, someone has come along who has written two consecutive (and excellent) novels with titles that have the same effect on my imagination.

Yeah, yeah, the authors may not have come up with the titles at all. Not the point.

The author is British novelist Kate Atkinson and her When Will There Be Good News? from 2008 is another evocative title similar to the above.

Her newest, just out, which arrived here last week, doesn't have the same range of possibilities as those three but it tickles my fancy (whatever that means; it has always struck me as fairly risque but it seems to be used by all sorts of proper folks so I am likely off base on that). It is titled Left Early, Took My Dog.

Actually, a fifth title that I see all sorts of possibilities for is the one I chose for my one attempt at a novel--Truth Is the Perfect Disguise. That tale bogged down around chapter five and I've not been able, either creatively or in terms of available time and supporting income, to concentrate on it exclusively enough. When your retirement plan way early death and you slipped right by it, you gotta work on paying work. A lot.

In part, I have also come to believe, the hangup is that isthe book I want to write does not fit the title. I am/was/have been  working backasswards all along.

The title is a line from a Kris Kristofferson song, but if you enter it in Google, two of the top five references are my old website where those first chapters are posted (last updated in 2007) and Thrilling Detective Magazine, an excellent online site of crime fiction which published a version of the first three chapters way back in 1999.

Here it is in context:
Nightmares are somebody's daydreams
Daydreams are somebody's lies
Lies ain't no harder than tellin' the truth
Truth is the perfect disguise
In closing, let it be noted that I have absolutely no idea why I published this post or what its point is. It just sort of came out and I am too old to let all these words go to waste.

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