Whenever I’ve written something, the hardest part for me has always been coming up with a suitable title.
During my high school years, I remember turning in stories when it came time to pass our homework forward. Time after time, I’d get my papers back and most would have a comment about the title I’d chosen.
“This isn’t a soap opera — needs better title.”
Hmpf, how did I know? I’ve never watched soap operas, nor have I had any desire to, so far be it from me to know whether I was being soap-opera-esque or not.
The comments would continue following each assignment.
“Plot is more exciting than what title leads me to believe. Consider revising.”
“Title does not do story justice. Revision needed.”
“Boring title. Revise.”
Well, pardon et moi. At the end of the day, the constructive criticism only made me fear the title portion of writing anything. Even these blogs. There have been a few posts over the past 42 days which have been more aptly named than others. I usually fill in the title portion at the very end after I’ve finished writing a post, and some titles are pulled from what I’ve written. Others are hastily crafted simply because I needed to post something by midnight and no better title was coming to mind. Needless to say, this title thing has been a neverending journey for me.
Today I was thinking about screenplays, stageplays and some of their titles I’ve heard my fellow students come up with — and I realized that we’re all in the same boat. Some titles are better than others, and those that are the weaklings find themselves picked on and critiqued by the class as needing to be better…more interest-piquing.
My thoughts continued, and I started thinking about our own titles. Not in the sense of son, daughter, friend or even titles in the workplace, but what they’d be if we were a performance or a movie.
Would it be something that indicates a work in progress? Would it be a part two, three or even four as we find life taking us down different roads? Would it be a simple statement that illustrates the area of our life that takes up the most time (The Advertiser, The CEO, The Pianist, The Writer) or would it be something with a more ethereal tone to it such as The Dreamer, The Traveler or The Soul Seeker?
The thought process reminded me of one of my favorite quotes. It’s one that was artfully scrawled across a beautiful poster that I had in my dorm room most of my college years, and it’s one that I saw earlier today: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you’ve imagined.” It’s a Henry David Thoreau quote, and the slightly longer version includes another statement that says — if we do this — we’ll be met “with a success unexpected in common hours.”
I find it to be a beautiful, inspiring and spirit-calming quote. It’s something that says that if we just “do,” we might actually “be.”
(That part’s for my mom.)
And even if we’re constantly on a journey — or if we’re lucky enough to be the person we envision or to have the life that we dream — it seems to follow that our “title” will fall naturally from there.
Tonight I am thankful for the knowledge that a title doesn’t have to be something we keep forever, and that it can constantly be revised, improved upon and changed altogether — the same way we can do with our path in life.