Huffing Glass 102… Titles And How They Can Mean So Many Things…

Seeing how there aren’t actually classes going on… or maybe there are… I have no idea what to expect when nothing is to be expected… 2020 anyone?… has all infected us all… even if you live under a rock like me… going to be honest because what else do I have to offer this world?… I do not remember the format for this type of post… Huffing Glass 101… you can use a search engine… I could too but where is the fun in that?… What I do remember… well what I wrote in my notes… is that today’s… lesson?… discussion?… would be about Titles… obviously not about grammar… Thank God or I’d have to issue refunds for this class… But enough small talk… let’s get into this…

Titles… I love them… possibly my favorite part of writing… wait don’t you write short stories… long ass poems… and most of your website is filled with Broken Thoughts?… Well yeah… but they all have to be titled none the less… for most writers… honestly I don’t know… for most of us… titles don’t come first… for me they do… I get hyped by the title… just as I hope you do… the title reels me in the same way it is meant to reel in everyone else around me… Of course like all things in writing… titles evolve over time… Many of my titles start very long… for instance… my first short story collection is called… Drinking Bleach to Stay Alive… but now I just call it Drinking Bleach… Oddly enough now that I think about it… A Lie… has always been A Lie… I never had more than that…

But what is so important about a title to me?… Why do I spend so much time on something that will only be read and referenced over and over again?… I actually don’t spend that much time on them… most of them are spur of the moment… and that moment leads me to writing a story or concept behind them… that sounds great… now lets go… This is the case most of the time… sometimes I have no idea what the title will be until the last second… usually that involves poems though… Long form stories… I usually come up with a title and then build a concept from there…

My most recent book… Teething On Concrete… was written like this… kind of… granted it is a poem collection so the poems were written in advance… for the most part… nothing is finished until it makes it into the book though… and during the editing process for Concrete… I did tailor the poems to fit this new concept… Originally the book was to be called Black Cloud Rising… before that though it was Fell On Dark Days… for obvious reason I chose to do neither title… but for over a year that was the concept of the book… based on those titles… The only reason any of it changed was because I became obsessed with the title Teething On Concrete

It is dark… check… it is weird… check… it conveys a thought in my head… sold… Teething On Concrete… is more than just three words… it is a concept… it conveys… that something is going on… How does someone find themselves teething on concrete?… Why would someone even do that?… Think that?… Have to read the book to find out… There is more to it then that of course… because that is how writing and life works… but that is the main point of what a title does for me… it guides me to a certain goal… My next two projects will do the same…

My next novel is titled Fuck… I Hate It Here or I Hate It Here… (I’m sure that sentence was confusing with the ellipse in the title… but everything has to start somewhere…) Yeah… eight years into a book… I’m still not sure what the title will finally be… You can guess which one I prefer… but it isn’t testing well around the office… It also wasn’t the first title I came up with either… No… originally it was going to be titled… Chewing On Glass… but it didn’t fit the concept of the book I wanted to create… well it did in the beginning but as things progressed during the first round of concepts… it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go… In case you are interested I’m on concept three for this fucking book… but that is a rant for another time…

Basically titles are fun… should be fun… they should make you want to read the story as much as they should make anyone else want to read your story… in my opinion… I personally can’t pass up a good title… seriously I will buy a book based on title alone… Tortured For Christ… I’m a sad desperate person like that… I love me some titles… They say don’t judge a book by its cover… and I don’t… but I can’t pass up some well thought out words burned across it…

So what are some of my favorite titles that I didn’t come up with but I wish I did?… Well thanks for asking…

As I Lay Dying by William FaulknerQuite possibly the best title for any book ever… also the only book by Faulkner that I have actually gotten through… and enjoyed… Also one of the first books I decided to read that wasn’t pushed on to me by school or an institution…

Though to be fair… I thought it would make an amazing band name… turns out I was right… So I had to read it to see if it was worth naming my band after because of course the press was going to ask me questions about it… yeah… young Ambrose was a dreamer… still is… this was all before I found out that a band already took the name and ran with it… I was pretty bummed when I found out…

I can’t say that I love this book though… the story isn’t for me… good or bad is up to you… what I did take way from this book though… was the concept… to this day this book is one of the first bricks laid in me that I want to be a writer… so again good or bad is up for debate… it is pretty crazy the way we get here… but it doesn’t matter as long as we get here I guess…

Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr.Not what I thought it was going to be at all… so much more than a simple title… not for the faint of heart… but a masterpiece all the same… I enjoy the basic title against the complexity of the stories… This title has influenced me to think outside of the most obvious titles… or that a book’s title can mean more about what the book is about than the stories themselves… A title is much like the bassist in a band… it must play along with the rest of the band… but it needs to be its own thing as well…

Astro-Creep: 2000 – Songs of Love, Destruction and Other Synthetic Delusions of the Electric Head by White ZombieMixing it up here… not a book of course… but an influence title none the less… This title doesn’t jump off the page… there is a lot going on here… and that is what I like about it… Rob Zombie does this often… just about every album and I find myself doing the same thing…

In closing titles can mean a lot of things… they can influence the way you read a story… they can grab you from out of nowhere… they can drive you to write a whole book… titles are where it is at… and this has been more than enough glass to huff for today…

What are some of your favorite titles?… What does a title do for you?…

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