Monday, September 26, 2011
Writer considered using movie title for his book
The process of deciding on a title for my memoir proved to be a lot more difficult than I ever imagined. The book’s manuscript was half-way finished by the time I came up with the eventual title November Ever After.
But even after coming up with that title, I still wasn’t sure if it was the best way to go. For months, I just couldn’t come to a final decision. I seriously considered using the movie We Are Marshall as part of my title for the book.
Why? The movie was well known, even among those who know little or nothing about Marshall University or the plane crash. Because of the movie’s notoriety, including the name of the movie for my book would be a clever play on words. In my mind, including the movie title would give my book some immediate name recognition.
In order for this to work, I needed to come up with the right play on words. There was a need to decide on a title that would make it easy for readers to make a distinction between the movie and my memoir.
I thought about naming the book We Are Marshall II, but that was not quite the right fit. That title would make the book sound more like a sequel to the movie, which it is not. But then, I finally came up with what I felt was the right revision for a book title – We Are Marshall Too.
This new title was a far more accurate description of what the memoir is all about.
People who saw the movie got a good feel for the night of the plane crash and the events that followed. But what they missed out on were the perspectives of other folks who were on the scene at that time. These were the people whose voices have never been included in any of the previously produced media portrayals about the MU tragedy.
The memoir is full of gripping stories involving Marshall’s black football players and the black students who were left behind in the wake of the disaster. There are so many facets to this story that have never been revealed. One example: The nasty racial altercation that occurred on the day before the crash and the calming effect the crash had on black-white relations on the Marshall campus.
There’s also the Homegoing Caravan. Marshall’s black students chartered a bus to attend a wake and three funerals for seven of the ten black players who died in the crash.
Back then, blacks comprised a small (about three percent), but visible and vocal minority on a campus of 9,000. The black-student perspectives on November 14, 1970 and its aftermath are just as valid and have just as much value as any media project about the Marshall crash. There are a lot of other examples, but I won’t go into those at this juncture.
The movie We Are Marshall put the story about the crash on a national stage. The black-student point view, however, cannot and should not be overlooked.
That’s why I could have named my book We Are Marshall Too.
This variation of a play on words explains it all. Black students were there. Black students shared in the anguish and the turmoil. Now it’s our time to tell our story.
Right now, you’re probably wondering why I chose to go with another title. That’s another blog entry for another time. Stay tuned.