Friday, November 1, 2013

Help a Sister Out?

So, I'm still struggling with the title. I love all of the suggestions you made on the An Inch of Gray Facebook page! Thank you for the thought and care you put into your suggestions. That means a lot to me.

My favorite has got to be:

If Legos Could Build a Stairway to Heaven, I'd Rock That Sh*t

But I have a feeling that one wouldn't go over too well with the publisher, so I'm asking you if you want to weigh in on some of the other options below.

This does NOT mean the one we pick will be the one selected, because there are a lot of other factors that go into the decision that I don't know much about. Like people really do judge a book by its cover (title!). Sheesh! I thought that was just an expression.

So please, if none of these get picked and you hate whatever title the book ends up with, please buy it anyway. I'm already terrified enough that by the time it's published people won't be reading books anymore and we'll just be getting little electric shocks via our cell phones that implant info directly into our brains. 

You can always use construction paper, Sharpies, and duct tape to make your own cover and title if you don't like the one that's picked. I'll help, I promise!

Okay, so here are some thoughts just to give you a little background on these ideas.

Rare Bird and When Love Grows Wings are a nod to Jack's first word, "bird," the poem my friend wrote about Jack called "rara avis" or "rare bird," and to all of the ways God has used birds to show us Jack is okay. It also ties in with bird imagery in the book as Tim and I read our speech to Jack a few months before the accident saying, "Jack, soon you will be flying on your own..."

I like So Close and This Close because they have two meanings. I was so close or this close to saving Jack down by the creek, but I didn't. Jack's and my relationship was so close. In the aftermath, I have realized the surprising fact that God and Jack are So Close/ This Close to us in our grief, and that Heaven is much closer than I ever thought.

Falling Water refers to the rain that took Jack from us. It also references a scene when I took Jack to summer camp one day too early, so we spent special time together at Fallingwater, a home designed by Frank Llyod Wright in PA.

The Loved Ones refers to how relatives of someone who died are always called, "the loved ones" but we don't give it much thought. During our grief we come to realize we really are the loved ones. Jack loves us still. God loves us and takes care of us in our pain.

More refers to the way my mind and heart have been opened to more pain, more grief, more love, more community, more God, and more mystery since Jack died.
THANK YOU for your help with this! I appreciate you.

Which Title Do You Like Best?
Rare Bird
So Close
This Close
The Loved Ones
When Love Grows Wings
Please Specify:
Poll Maker

Which Subtitle Do You Like Best?
A mother's story of sudden loss and surprising hope
A mother's story of incredible loss and impossible hope
A memoir of early grief
A story about a boy in the rain and what comes next
A spiritual memoir of life, death, and what comes next
A story of a boy who flew too soon
The surprising power of hope in loss
Please Specify:

Poll Maker


Anonymous said...

Can you combine two of the titles into one? Rare Bird - When Love Grows Wings

Anonymous said...

Every potential title has a very special meaning, and I found all the explanations touching.

I'd rather that your title not bring up other associations, so even though you have special memories of going to Fallingwater with Jack, that's not my first choice. There's MORE magazine, and that's something that comes to mind, even though I really like your idea of "more."

I think the theme of "a mother's loss" is very helpful to readers/buyers for the subtitle, whatever the exact wording. I'm sure it could help with many kinds of grief, but since the main title is more impressionistic, I think that's helpful to have in your subtitle. "Early grief" sounds much less personal, and gives less information; I don't care for this as part of any subtitle. Just my two cents.

Unknown said...

can you combine 2 titles? I.e. Rare Bird - When Love Grows Wings

Laura said...

"Rare Bird" and "A Two Track Existence" were the first things to come to my mind. Whatever it is called, I look forward to having my own copy. No duct tape needed. :-) YOU are a gift, Anna.

Catherin said...

I have a title for you that I was going to use for a book I am STILL writing about my son--(three years and counting) but am sure I will never finish. I think it is just a cathartic exercise for me:)
It is: "China in a Bull Closet".
China describing my son, fragile as porcelain in a world full of the unexpected. An obvious reversal of the original saying...
Please feel free to use.....I would love to see it applied to a book that gives it meaning.
I so admire the way you write, and who you are as a person.

Beth said...

Rare Bird or This Close/So Close. I think the "when love grows wings" just sounds kind of corny (no offense) and love is love. it is constant. so I don't really understand the whole "growing wings" thing. when I think of growing wings, I Think of becoming independent, mature. I don't see how that really fits. Fallingwater will make the book come up in irrelevant searches for F. Lloyd Wright. It seems too obscure. I suppose one could argue that about bird books, but I think its different.

Anonymous said...

Even if my title/subtitle don't win--I am still buying the book:). You and Jack have changed me life for the better. Good luck, NoVa Mom Jen

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Anna, there are so many excellent choices. I do love Rare Bird although I voted for When Love Grows Wings. Maybe the title should be Rare Bird and the subtitle A Mother's Story on Grief When Love Grows Wings! No matter what I know the book will be excellent, I can't wait to read it and tell others to read it.

Raleigh Girl said...

I voted but just wanted to put a comment too. I like the idea of the title as "Rare Bird" and then you can open the book with the peom written by your friend. And then possibly start each chapter as a single page with only the chapter number and a very quick, one paragraph blurb about each the ways God has used birds to show you that Jack is ok (one per chapter). Maybe something you had already thought of, maybe a little too much but it poped in my head when I was reading your entry and thought I would throw it out there. :) Don't worry Anna, even if we can download books directly to our brain, there will always be those of us who find the pleasure in the telling of the tale and the feel of the paper in our hands :)

Lynnette said...

I voted for the Legos title - minus the "rock that s**t. The visual I got was legos stacked up high and a picture of Jack peering down from a cloud. Whatever you choose, I plan to buy the book. Do you know if it will be available in a Kindle format? Best wishes as you move forward. Sending hugs to you today

Kristin said...

Just FYI, So Close is the name of a well known blog about infertility. She also wrote a book by the same name.

Mary said...

I think if you have to explain it (like "Fallingwater") it's not a strong choice for those who choose a book by its cover. I *love* "Rare Bird" and feel it needs no explanation, especially with the subtitle.

I'll buy it regardless!

SheriJane said...

I love the title "The Loved Ones" i think that would pull people in from all walks of life, i think it's all encircling because we've all "lost a loved one" and loving "ones" is what life is all about! So I hope that one wins... although there are others I really like and had originally thought i would pick something that had more to do with a bird, i think this one would be the draw to your book!

Unknown said...

Hi Anna! I tried to vote but got routed around in the ether of google+ and blogger so I don't know if the vote ever went through. Anyway, I vote for "Rare Bird" for the title and "The story of a boy who flew too soon" for the subtitle (rather than "A story of .....").

Can't wait to read the book!!


Anonymous said...

I think all the titles are powerful and so personal. (which is probably why it's hard to pick just one!). Of the subtitles, I think for someone looking for a book to help them through their own personal grief....the one that is "the surprising power of hope in loss" will be what draws someone in need of this book to actually buy it. it's a great line and probably describes the guts of the book very well, I bet! good luck!

Mariah said...

I seriously love the title If Legos Could build a stairway to Heaven, I'd rock that Sh*t. I think it's catchy, unique, and is a pretty good title. And look at that other book, Sh*t My Dad Says. It was a best seller. So, I say that's my favorite.

Sherri said...

I understand the significance of Rare Bird but When Love Grows Wings grabs one's attention, especially if one is not familiar with your story. The book will be poignant and give hope to others, most importantly. Thank you, Anna.

Alexandra said...


Lessons in Loss

Lessons in Hope

Finding Hope in the Hopeless

Living Again After Loss

Finding Life after Loss

Coming Back after Loss

Breathing Lessons after Loss


Learning to Breathe

He Gifts us with Hope

God's Gift of Hope

Life in the Land of Loss

Living Beyond the Before

The Before

Loss Lessons

***I still think the best thing is to take a title out of a phrase from your manuscript.

Jamie Miles said...

I vorted for the love growing wings because to me that sounded not only beautiful but hopeful as well. I do like the above suggestion and using If Legos Could Build a Stairway to Heaven. Legos, grief and loss are complete juxtaposition but make such a poignant thought. I'm sure whatever you select will be the perfect one.

IrishRN07 said...

Hi Anna,
I like a combination of the subtitle choices. Here's my overall vote! Rare Bird: A mother's story of sudden loss and impossible hope.

It's a bit like helping someone name a baby. I feel like the two saturday night live characters: "I'm not worthy!"

Sounds like you're close to being finished. So proud of you!!
xoxo Maureen

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh. You are choosing a title for your book! This is just so huge and wonderful and hard, right? I voted for Rare Bird. It just fits. But, it's your choice and I can not wait to read your book. Can not wait.

I've been catching up on your posts this morning. I love you, Anna.

Jenni said...

I just re-read your original post about that night...have you thought about using "The Bridge" in the title since that post is how so many of us came to know you?

Anonymous said...

Anna, I can't wait to see what title is ordained for this book when all is said and done. I for one will support you and will have a real live paper copy in my hand. I haven't bought into the ebooks, kindles, etc. love my paper in my hand
sandie b

ella said...

These are just my opinions, I'd buy your book if it was a plain white cover with no title.

I wouldn't pick anything associated with that night for the title. Bridge, water, storms....I prefer a more hopeful title instead of focusing on the way Jack died.

I like the first subtitle choice, it tells the reader exactly what to expect. A mother's sudden loss and suprising hope.

I voted for When Love Grows Wings b/c my immediate response when I saw it was tears. Why, I have no idea. The more I think about it though the more I like Rare Bird. It's unique to you and Jack, and easy to remember. That combined with the subtitle is perfect.


Anonymous said...

"Remembering Jack" comes to mind
a mothers memoir of loss, pain, hope and God.

Good luck Anna, I will buy the book and maybe get it autographed?!

Unknown said...

I'm just now reading this! I'm so behind.

Okay. So.

I liked the first part of that title.

"If Legos could build a stairway to heaven" But then I liked everything else too. I ended up voting for So Close, but after seeing the results, I'm starting to think Rare Bird maybe really is the best of all.

I'm not smitten with any of the subtitles however. In the end, it doesn't matter. I will be so excited to get your book, I will pre-order it.

Anonymous said...

I feel, after your reading you blog for a couple of years, that Rare Bird, the boy that flew too soon would be the perfect title for your journey. Whatever title you choose I look forward to reading your book!

Andrea Mowery said...

I love the explanations you came up with, and I know that the title you pick will be perfect. Of course I made my own choice, too!

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