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Choosing a Title

Choosing a Title

A decade in the making and five months from publication, the memoir finally has a title that resonates. I’ve tried a dozen so far, and each time, I’ve rushed to change the title page of the manuscript to see the lone emblem sit there uncomfortably.¬†Self-assured ones got time in physical print; they peered back from their hallowed place atop a stack of sheets as though strutting their candidacy. Each new title proclaimed, I am the one who captures your exact cause. And when they fell out of favor and there were no heirs apparent, they clung to their venerable post like a king who had already been overthrown but didn’t know it yet. The last one, Something to Declare, was almost right: there is a declaration in this story, both literal and figurative, but it was the latter connotation that mattered to me. With We Heard the Heavens Then, I initially took an aloof stance. I wrote it on a note card first. I let it lie around the house with a bunch of other could be’s. Several times, apropos of nothing, I tried it on my wife and kids to see their reaction. Then it made it into an email, casually dropped in a list of others. I tried not to make too much of its meaning. So what that its cadence was pleasing or the fact that I liked its shape. But the first time I gave it time on the title page, it spoke to me: revolutions arise from tragic romance, from huge aspirations, and I truly believe the opposing sides charted in this memoir shared the same divine call to action.