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.