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  • Writer's pictureRandy Overbeck

The View From Here

Observations gleaned from living, traveling, writing—and dreaming

A rose by any other name is--not the same.

My apologies to Shakespeare, but titles matter. Ask any author and he’ll tell you

how, after laboring for months or years to write the next great American novel, he

agonized to come up with the perfect title. Ask any bookseller and she’ll share how

important a good title is to stand out from the crowd and grab a new reader. So titles, or

names, matter. Why else would I go through months of deliberations and five different

versions before deciding on the title of my newest novel, Blood on the Chesapeake,

scheduled for release this spring? (More about that in later entries.) Before I decided to

write a blog, I ruminated on what might be a good title, to entice readers to have a look

at what I had to say.

I considered the title, THE VIEW FROM UP HERE, since I’ve put in a few years

on this planet, in the process accumulating a good many experiences and errors, and

maybe have learned a thing or two worth sharing. But I decided it sounded too

pretentious, as if I had some higher knowledge that I might impart. I don’t. Besides, I’ve

grown very suspicious of politicians (and anyone else) who claim to know better or

speak from a higher plain, so that title is out.

I also played with THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE, since I spent most of my life

with those “in the trenches” and most of what I’ve learned has come from my

experience with those grounded individuals and not from some ivory tower “experts.”

But this option got dismissed because I feared some readers might ascribe some

sinister nature to the “down here” phrase and literally see “the devil in the details.” That

would not do.

So instead, I’ve seized on THE VIEW FROM HERE with the added moniker of

“Observations gleaned from living, traveling, writing—and dreaming.” The perspective in

these pages is my own, fueled by my own experiences, and travels, and

contemplations. (I can tell you the travels part alone has been pretty remarkable.)

Sometimes, these words may contain a grain of insight, sometimes not. Regardless, the

perspective is only mine. If you’re interested--and I hope some are—you may even be

intrigued enough to share your own viewpoint, and I’ll be richer for it. In these entries, I’ll

share updates on my writing, especially as my new series of books (of which the

aforementioned Blood on the Chesapeake is the first!) is completed and each volume

is published, and will invite your contributions there as well. My hope is to provide new

blog entries on a regular basis, but only when I have something worth writing and

sharing—and when I have the latest news on my books being released or I’m busy

doing more book events. Read it here first! However, like everything else, this plan will

be subject to the harsh realities of life.

BTW, the actual Shakespeare quote, from Romeo and Juliet, is “A rose by any

other name would smell as sweet.” Although I mostly agree with the Bard, I think, at

least for our time, he may have gotten this one wrong. What we name things, what we

label things, matter. A lot. Just think of all the titles we throw around—Tea Party, global

warming, rocket scientist, Common Core, illegal alien, Pro-Life—and the meanings we

then attach to them. And the heated discussions that proceed from them. Perhaps we

should be more careful what we call things. How much similarity is there really between

the intent of the struggling Boston middle class in 1775 (to reject a single tax that their

representatives had no say in) and those who fuel the priorities of the stretched modern

version of the title? Now, this ought to invite some response.

And on titles, as you’ll see when you read it, I had some very deliberate reasons

for choosing Blood on the Chesapeake for the title of my new book.


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