It’s always the same with a new baby/pet/car/electronic gadget (that last one might be unique to my friends who are the proud owners of Larry Laptop and Terry Tablet). The first question on everyone’s lips is “What are you going to call it?”
And it’s a very important decision, perhaps not so much for Betty Beetle, your new Volkswagen convertible, but for a child, a name can determine their entire future. As if new parents weren’t under enough pressure already.
But compared to the stress which writers endure over names, parents have it easy.
That old saying that people judge books by their cover? Lies – it’s their title.
Mothers gestate for nine months but writers can carry the growing weight of their work around for years. And as for character names, that’s another emotional breakdown in the making – is your heroine a Mary or a Jane??
Some of literature’s greatest works have never made it to print because their authors have turfed the whole thing in the fire over such seemingly minor deliberations. Exhibit A – James Joyce never just ‘named’ a character, every single man and woman who graced his pages was christened with a particular theme, meaning or namesake in mind – believe me I have bald patches having written essays and presentations on it in the past.
Not all writers are quite so anal about it all, and are probably under less pressure than parents to get it right from the start. Most working titles sound nothing like the finished product, and unlike excited parents, authors do not spend excessive time and energy combing through baby name books to find the perfect title. Part of the beauty of writing fiction is that the title will probably present itself to you over the course of the writing process.
But when it comes to this new age blogging phenomenon, again the pressure is on to get it right from the start.
A good blog title should stick out in the memory, it should clearly describe the theme or topic, and apparently it should be short and snappy, no more than three words.
Well, whether or not the title of this blog sticks out in the memory probably depends on your familiarity with Gemma Hayes lyrics. It probably gives the impression of a blog about getting high. And it’s just a tad too long to meet the official ‘Blog Title Rules’ set out by the world wide web.
So perhaps it’s worth explaining where the title ‘Go Chase your Dragon’ stems from, and it’s pretty much perfect timing too as my Gemma Hayes hype reaches its pinnacle ahead of her Liverpool gig this weekend.
For anyone who hasn’t heard the song, “Chasing Dragons” is about the parting of two lovers who have come to find a fork in the road which will inevitably divide them. Despite the sad subject matter it’s quite an empowering song, and one that hit home for me in the rawest aftermath of a break up.
Stick with me guys, I promise this all has a point…
As a ‘girlfriend’ I wasn’t much of a writer, even though I claimed it was what I wanted to be when I grew up. I didn’t do much travelling, or reading, or gig-going – all the things that I most wanted to do. The ‘why it was’ isn’t particularly important, but the ‘how it changed’ has been the biggest adventure I’ve been on so far.
It was as though I had been hibernating for years, and stepping out into the fresh light of singledom, suddenly the world looked completely different. I didn’t have to settle down in a ‘safe’ career so I could start hoarding away enough pennies for a mortgage or a wedding. I didn’t have to ‘put up with’ the incompatible traits or lifestyle choices of my ex because we weren’t married, we were 22 and free to live our lives how we wanted rather than settling for a watered down version which better suited ‘us’ rather then ‘me’. We didn’t necessarily hold each other back so much as we held ourselves back out of a sense of duty or fear.
Being young and in love is one of the most wonderful things you can ever be, but it should never hold you back for what you could be. And so speaks an old romantic!
As well as affectionately naming their various electronic devices, my female friends are perhaps also unique in that nearly all of them are in long term relationships at quite a young stage of their lives. It didn’t seem all that strange to me when I was one of them, but finding yourself suddenly single after a few years has a way of opening your eyes to things you might not have noticed before.
I may offer my own experience up as an example of why you should chase your own dragon rather than ‘ours’ or worse still, ‘their’ dragon, but that’s not to say it doesn’t work for everyone. Many of my friends have found their paths diverging from a significant other only to meet them again a mile or two down the road, and for them it’s worked… so far. They would be the first to own that.
But they’re stronger for all the bumps in the road. And the romantic in me will say that if it’s meant to be, it will be, eventually.
You may not be chasing the same dragon, but you at least need to be running at the same pace.