What’s in a Name?

I love titles.

Titles are a quick way of telling people about the movie or TV show you watched, the song you heard, the artwork you looked at, or the book you read. You’ll ask people: “Did you see the last episode of Breaking Bad?” You’ll tell people: “I just read Harry Potter, and so should you!”

Good titles are catchy and easy to remember the art they title. Whether it’s a character name, a place name, a single word, a quote from a previous work, or a phrase that flows, you remember them. They give you a snapshot of the artwork. The Scream tells you what you’ll see in the painting. Friends tells you that the show is about a group of friends. Don’t Stop Believin’ has an inspirational message about following dreams and meeting people across smoky, wine- and perfume-scented rooms.

Let’s take a look at the title of this blog: All Sorts of Stuff. Well, it’s easy to figure out what that might mean. I’m going to write about all sorts of stuff. I’ve written about the journey to get a book published, and I’ve written about online dating and the baseball playoffs. That’s definitely a diverse set of topics. Okay, well, I used those last two metaphorically while I was writing about publishing a book, so maybe I haven’t written about a lot of stuff yet. I’ll let the science-teacher side of me come through and say that the available data isn’t a large enough sample size to support the hypothesis that I write about a lot of stuff. But the title doesn’t say A Lot of Stuff; it’s All Sorts of Stuff. Future writings—both on this blog and in books—will determine whether it’s all sorts or not.

But that title means a lot more than what I’ll write about. To me, it means a lot more, and if any friends of mine from high school are reading this, I’m sure you know why. During my senior year in high school, I had my own television on my hometown’s public access cable station. It was also called All Sorts of Stuff, and it aired on Tuesday nights, with new episodes every other week. It was an anthology series, and I had friends of mine from the drama club in school act in it. Though a few episodes were written specifically for the show, most of them were short stories I had written at one point or another. If I were in high school now doing that show, it would be appearing on YouTube! The first episode was called One Halloween Night, and it aired twenty-six years ago around this time of year. Maybe if I’m ever stuck for content here, I’ll give plot synopses of all twenty-three episodes so you can read what I was writing about then!

The title of this blog has multiple meanings for me, and those are the kinds of titles I really like. One of my favorite television shows was Lost, and it meant more than the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 literally being lost; they were also all lost in their personal life journeys. Take The Walking Dead; does it refer to the zombies, or does it refer to the people who aren’t yet zombies that are just soon-to-be-dead people walking? Or both? I could go into all the different meanings in the title of the critically-acclaimed yet ratings-challenged Arrested Development, but that could be an entire blog entry and would delay getting to the big reveal at the end of this one.

My upcoming novel is a young adult fantasy story about a girl and a mermaid who unwillingly change places for a short period of time. I wanted to give it a catchy, punny, fun, multiple-meaning title. The book is called Flipping the Scales.

As much as I hope you like the title, I hope you like the book even more, because it’s coming soon. Check out my Facebook page (scroll up for the link) to get a sneak peek of the title font from the book cover.

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