Thursday, 1 July 2010

What's in a Name?

Well, after much email based to-ing and fro-ing with my publisher, I now have a title for my book of poems. It will be called 'Reflections from a Broken Mirror'. I chose this because of the potential for double meanings. It could be the literal interpretation of echoing images in shards of glass. Or reflections could mean 'musings', 'broken' could allude to the fact I am bipolar and a 'mirror' could be a metaphor for a poet, whose job it is to hold a mirror up to life. 'Musings of a bipolar poet' is thus its encrypted title.

My first choice was 'Hemp Fandango', which again I chose for the double meaning. If you're not familiar with the term, it conjures up images of marijuana and dancing, two activities associated with pleasant feelings. If you do know what it means, you know it represents one of the most unpleasant feelings of all, that of slowly choking to death and kicking your legs impotently as an attempted hanging fails to snap your neck and just aspyhyxiates you instead. The 'Hemp Fandango' got its name from the hemp rope used in the Old West and the Mexican dance that victims seemed to perform as their feet spasmed.

'Hemp Fandango' was rejected by the publisher because they would not be able to sell a book with a 'drug suggestive title' to schools. Ironically, I chose a 'drug suggestive title' specifically because it was more likely to appeal to teenagers. Anyone who has ever visited a shop like the Blue Banana or the Trinket Box will know that the dope leaf symbol appears on everything from satchels to condoms. Dope references sell. But apparently it's the teachers that we should be appealing to, not the kids. Fair enough. I hadn't even thought of that market.

They suggested 'The Lunar-Verse of Andrew Barber', because they thought my poems were like the moon, with a light side and a dark side, different moods and phases, changing colours with the seasons, intimate and distant. I liked their analogy (I was flattered to be compared with the moon - I'm a big fan) but I wasn't wild about the title.

I suggested 'Black Dogs and White Tigers', because I thought the Black Dog was a good metaphor for depression (it was what Churchill used to call his) and the White Tiger summed up mania well, because it was an overgrown genetic freak with a hint of dangerous glamour that turns on its loved ones, eg, Siegfried and Roy. The black and white references suggested polarity, the light and dark side to my work that the publishers had noticed. But they thought it sounded like a book for pre-schoolers so that idea had to go.

So now we have 'Reflections from a Broken Mirror'. I like it. It's a title I can put my name to. And I've had some cool ideas for the cover. I want a hand mirror drifting through space, the stars symbolising the universal themes I write about (love, death, time, money, etc). The mirror is breaking, shards flying out from the centre like the big bang, each piece still reflecting a part of my face. There might be an eye flying out, then a part of my nose or whatever, like a Picasso painting. I think it could look really cool. And there's the angle that each shard, each poem, reflects a different part of me. Each poem is different and so is each reflection. I can't wait to see it.

No comments:

Post a Comment