Earlier I was thinking about all those ‘stars’ who are writing/have written an autobiography at a young age, while I would be completely lost if I had to write anything about my life up to the age of twenty. Yet, I was wondering: if I was to write one myself, what would it be like? But, most importantly, what would I title it after? Because, while it is true that you do not judge a book by its cover, you do surely judge it by its title. “The red and the black” by Steinbeck would not have been the same if it had been named “The adventurous guy who does everything and likes stairs”. And surely reading “The death of Ivan Ilyich” by Tolstoy would be a different experience if it were called “Summary of a life between taste and fear”.
Therefore I need a good title before even staring to outline the content.
But what makes a good title?
It has to be catchy which means different, but with a familiar element that attracts the possible reader and makes him feel the connection. “One, no one, and a hundred thousand” (Pirandello), “Wuthering Heights” (Bronte) and “Heart of darkness” (Conrad) sound like something that you say normally, but with that literary twist that makes you want to open the pages and begin the journey.
At the same time, an interesting title has to be descriptive without giving away too much -it has to create curiosity: for instance, a lot of people would read something titled “Pride and Prejudice” (Austen), quite a few would be attracted by “Middlemarch” (Eliot), probably not so many by “Zeno’s conscience” (Svevo), even less by a rather plain “Madame Bovary” (Flaubert).
Those are the reasons that made me think of titles like “She didn’t know how to” or “Peaks and lows” or “So, what about…”. And if it could be opened by a song, it would be something like a mash-up between “Blow me one last kiss” (P!nk), “Scrivimi” (Laura Pausini), “My interpretation” (MIKA), “La mia parte intollerante” (Caparezza) and “Thief” (Our Lady Peace).
I do not want to elongate this blog aimlessly, so I may explain this better later on. For the moment… what would you title your autobiography? And what would be the opening sentence?
Just remember that “Call me <Ishmael>” is taken.