many lifetimes years I’ve been writing this book, it took ignoring it almost completely for the title to show up. It felt a bit like walking in on a surprise party. First, shock and disbelief. Then letting loose enough to get in there and have some fun with it.
I’ve been working in my head, in my Moleskin notebook, and on the computer screen ever since. Finding the title has helped me find my way.
This does not, however, mean I’m ready to reveal it. Sorry folks. I’ve learned too many times that, once I give up these kinds of prized details, said details slip off into an alien atmosphere and the faith is forever lost. You’ll just have to trust me on this one. For now.
I will say I found it in a poem. Which reminds me that so many of my favorite books got their titles from the world of verse. Here are just a few …
Wallace Stegner’s CROSSING TO SAFETY (from these lines by Robert Frost)
I could give all to Time except — except
What I myself have held. But why declare
The things forbidden that while the Customs slept
I have crossed to Safety with? For I am There
And what I would not part with I have kept.
William Faulkner’s THE SOUND AND THE FURY (from Shakespeare’s MACBETH)
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Cormac McCarthy’s NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (from Yeats’s “Sailing to Byzantium”)
That is no country for old men. The young
In one another’s arms, birds in the trees
– Those dying generations – at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.