Thursday, January 05, 2006

Illusive/elusive – love, life and book titles

A book's title, while it’s a work in progress, is like a pair of old slippers – comfortable, warm, fits like a glove.
So what happens when the publisher says he doesn’t like it?
The old slippers have to go and you have to break-in a new pair.
Of course, at first, they don’t really fit and your feet don’t slide in easily.
But, before long you find yourself wearing them and not noticing the difference.

But are they ever the same?

I wrote my first novel with the working title, Illusive Diamonds, and qualified the title with a short haiku verse:

luminescent particles
stirred by the ship
dark sea’s illusive diamonds

This brief description relates to the marine organisms which appear and disappear in the sea at night - as if by magic.
It also alludes to the illusive (and elusive) nature of love – at times appearing suddenly, as if out of the blue. But then vanishing equally as quickly.
When a critic advised me that the title, Illusive Diamonds, should go, I took his advice and changed it to Sea Dust.
The words ‘sea dust’ carry similar connotations regarding the marine particles. But ‘sea dust’ also carries the connotation of ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ and of those whose bodies are committed to the sea.
As my novel has a strong nautical component – the title seemed fitting.

Last week, Sea Dust was launched in England.
Last week, in a sad twist of fate, I scattered my partner’s ashes on the sea.
Peter Ryan was with me throughout the writing of my novel.
Apart from being my dearest friend, he was also my most valued critic and editor in the novel's early stages.
He died in a horrific accident six weeks before the launch and never saw Sea Dust published.
For me, as for Emma (the character in my novel), I feel love is illusory.
But unlike the marine luminescent particles which glitter and die in the dark sea, the wonderful life and love, which Peter and I shared, will shine forever in my memory.

1 comment:

Robert Dunn said...

That's a beautiful photo mum.