Bootcamp Finale: Title Time

Sugababe; a hearing ear cloned from Van Gogh

I’m back to the drawing board for a title, after my bootcamp wrap-up chat with Rhonda.
I think you want something sexier, she said.
Well, right…but I’m not sure I’m not going for sexy… Maybe I’m going for… more spiritual? I mean, An Ear to Hear- it actually comes straight from the Bible. And you know, Van Gogh was once a missionary, the son of a preacher…
Yes… but, she said, I think it will come to you… eventually–the right title.

So an hour after I signed off with Rhonda we were eating dinner, my little family of three, the hub and the girl, both writers in their own right. The girl has a finished novel, and has been to Manchester to work with Rhonda*, so even though she is only 15, she wants to weigh in on this Ear novel title. She has ideas.

outdoor dinner party
Mr. Gratitude & his nose bandage

The hub is writing too. Over 43 years ago we took college composition together. The professor told him he had a gift and if he didn’t use it, he was wasting a great talent.
To me, the young, aspiring writer, he said, You need to master form.
I wanted to scream in his face, I’m being creative! But you can’t do that in college and still get a passing grade on your transcripts.

We love books in our family and have opinions about titles. We sometimes sit around and toss out titles like bad ad slogans. It’s Friday night and we are dining on the deck eating homemade pizza (spelt sourdough on the pizza stone, courtesy of the cooking hub… With a novel to finish, I only do toppings). We sip our drinks as we toss the title problem around like a slab of pizza dough in need of serious reshaping.

Ears All Around, the hub throws out, lifting his beer….  Hear, Hear, An Ear.
Knowing Vincent’s ear ends up in a jar of “the green fairy” (at least in my tale), Arielle incants, Absinthe Makes the Ear Live Longer…. Then, Absinthe is the New Formaldehyde, she adds. Wait, Absinthe Makes the Ear Grow Fonder!

Vintage Absinthe label- green fairyRhonda says we need something more provaocative , I say, shaking my head.

Ear Me, Baby, the hub says. He is sporting a large white bandage on one side of his nose tonight, the aftermath of surgery to remove any trace of cancer that might have been, and not looking his sexiest self.

Wanting to steer the conversation back into the realm of art, I say, Girl with a Hearing Ear, an obvious nod to Vermeer.

Three-Eared Girl, Arielle tries again, then begins to rap: Two on my head, One in my hand, Gauguin got Gogh, but then got banned…”

Maybe it’s not really about the ear, I venture.

Oh, but it is, they say. Van Gogh is known by his ear, or lack thereof.

Cotton-eared Gogh, the hub sings out, shuffling his feet in the country dance mode of our former two-stepping days.

A budding ornithologist, Arielle chirps, Lobey, Lobey, like a call the birds in the forest behind us. A quick research hit shows Lobey is a bird, of course. She tries again: Lobes R Us…

This titular endeavor has taken on the feel of a bad game show with a host who has lost control of it.

Lend Me Your Ear… An Ear in the Hand Beats Two in the Bandage… Bloody Earlobe Day.. Ear Boogie… An Ear in the Hand Beats Two on the Head… Ear Story… Who Has the Ear? (also a game), along with Who Cut the Ear? (like Clue)… Paint Me an Ear. Starry, Starry Night/Bloody, Bloody Ear (both variations on Pictionary, with a twist-ed ear; can you draw pinna, fossa, and tragus, not to mention convincing or conniving swirls?) The Naughty, Knotty Ear. Swirls of Cut Cartilage. Some Enchanted Ear…

For Star Trek fans: The Final Front-Ear.

And on Buy Nothing: Ear-Gifted.

Attack of the Ear Stacks– As seen on Pinterest (or was it a Woody Allen film?)

I leave you here…
Do you see, Rhonda, why it is best to just leave the working title alone, especially if it is working? Because none of these are…

And meanwhile, I’ve a novel to finish.

*Rhonda Douglas