Titles and Last Lines

I know exactly where I was when I knew the title of my novel and I know exactly where I was when I thought of the last line.

For the first, I was in the kitchen, my laptop on the counter in the corner by the dining room. The music was on and I was pacing and writing and feeling it physically and getting down the words. The phrase rolled out, those four words in a row, Shaking Out the Dead, and I knew there would be no more “working titles.”

For the last, I was in my studio behind the house, my strange little room where I was strange ol’ me. The sentence fell in a heartbeat. I wasn’t on the page. I was standing mid-pace in whatever space that is fiction writers go. I wasn’t at the last line yet. But that was it.   

So the title didn’t come first and the last line didn’t come last. They both came in the middle. Maybe in cosmic talk that’s where the beginning and end always meet, where the snake swallows its tail.

The characters from that novel stepped into my kitchen, one at a time, to testify. This time (current work-in-progress) they seemed to appear as a group and are getting teased out from the cluster. We’ll see who’s who.

Because now I have the experience of writing one novel, a thing that I know is that whatever I think the point is and whomever I think the good guys and the bad guys are, it may not be - it’s most likely not – going to be what I think.  

Night Moves

Top three Bob Seger songs:

1.            Night Moves

2.            Hollywood Nights

3.            Against the Wind

But we’re here today to discuss Night Moves.

I had to drive like 20 miles to my all-girls Catholic high school even though one of the best public high schools in the country was a 15 minute walk from the house. Classes at Regina Dominican High commenced at 8:20 a.m. Every morning at 8:15 a.m., whatever Chicago station it was I was listening to then played Night Moves. I sat there in the Impala in my plaid skirt every morning until the song ended. Then I’d head in to theater class, my first class of the day.

There was a time I liked the song Old Time Rock n Roll, but I once took an aerobics class that used that song and it ruined it for me. That same class ruined I Love Rock n Roll by Joan Jett. A lot of squats in that one.