I confess. I am a secret member of that great silent fraternity, the Unwritten Novel Writers. We are everywhere, on the literary lunatic fringe, yearning to spend a short time in the cold garret of creativity followed by a long time in the hot spotlight of success. Sadly, we think big but ink little.
Creating titles was easy; my urge was so strong that phrases I heard every day began to billboard themselves in my mind as possibilities. I did, however, run into two problems: one, I was receiving too many strange looks from people whose conversations I interrupted with "What a great title for a book!"; two, I never got around to writing the books.
Now I find myself overtitled and underbooked. To ease myself of this burden, I have decided to offer publicly some of my better titles; if they spur some other daydreaming dallier on, that will be reward enough. For the sake of literary authenticity, I have included factual background on how each title suggested itself as well as a possibility for its use on a book cover.
WHO SHOT THE PIANO? This brooding allegory uses simple objects to symbolize man's search for identity. Someone (death? despair?) shoots the hero's piano (creativity? soul?). The answer to the riddle is merely hinted at, leaving each reader to decide for himself which are the evil forces in life. Actually, this title came when I realized the kids had been shooting suction-tipped arrows in the living room again.
FROM THESE HILLS: A weary wanderer finds the answer to the confusion of modern life by retreating to the hills of his childhood home. Actually, this title came from the answer my exterminator gave me, "You see, lady all your ant problems are coming from these hills."
PINK, FLUFFY AND EXPENSIVE: A raw, no-holds- barred account of the seamy, steamy lifestyle of the most expensive call girl on the East Coast. In reality, this phrase is an exact description of the insulation we put in the attic.
COMING UNSPRUNG AGAIN: The account of one woman's battle with her recurring mental breakdowns and her quest for stability. In reality, an account of my battle with my watch's recurring mainspring breakdown and my quest for punctuality.
ANOTHER ACT OF GOD: How an unbeliever has his faith restored by a series of simple events, each of which is, to him, another act of God. Actually, this is the way my insurance agent interprets every major catastrophe at my house: "That's another act of God, ma'am, and they're not covered."
HE PROVED ALL THE TRIANGLES TO BE SQUARES: A dizzying science-fiction thriller in which our hero must use his superior intellect to find his way in a strange world in which all objects change shape. Actually, this was my son's math teacher explaining how the boy had failed his geometry exam.
HE, TOO, SHALL PASS: An essay on how modern man with all his angst shall also pass into the tide of philosophical history. In reality, this was the weary pronouncement given by the same math teacher, who felt my son should be given some credit for originality.