Just the other day I pondered what word I could put on a kind of banner to hang so insouciantly over the far corner of an enlarged cover photo of, say, The Serpent Stick at the Decatur Book Fair over the Labor Day Weekend. Yes, I’ll be sitting there with some copies at a signing in my booth. What word should give those passing my one of the hundreds of booths, each with a cover under the sun or rain in Decatur Square, amidst all the gigantism of Atlanta, GA a reason to stop, and, rather than asking that tiresome question, “What’s it about?”, pick up a copy, read the first line, and be rooted there by
‘Knowledge of Good and Evil will kill you.’
What word would do–and be true to the novel’s content?
In truth I regretfully left my first choice on the Thesaurus page. What a spell-casting ring has ‘metempsychosis’! But not simple enough, and of course far too many letters for a banner. What happens in the book for Ishmael is that in his research into his ancestry far back past the grandfather, the ‘bestefar’ he never knew, dead under the sea off the Lofoten Islands before Ishmael was born, he finds enough knowledge to free him from the ineptness of Lutheran Christianity to find a Belief concomitant with the current Christian Era (2,000 AD in the old terms) giving him a new life. So—REVIVAL.
Not only short, not only simple, not only with a ‘hook’ for the passerby, but no matter which of my previous books I’m signing for a purchaser/friend, it matches the content of all five earlier works.
In my first, a memoir my years 6-16 on the Thompson farm north of Bergland, MI (UP)it recounts my escape from farm chores and stepfather Ole for a new life until 18 in my Father’s cottage on Lake Gogebic. And so it is in the others. Now, the word firm, of what material the letters and the banner itself?