Image: The Cosmopolites
The title, The Cosmopolites - with the stress on mop - has been the subject of many discussions, mainly starting with 'How do you SAY that?' I considered other titles but always came back to The CosMOPolites, which suits the two main characters as they live their lives in the world as it is today, with all its cultural diversity.
The Trouble with Titles
Titles are tricky. While 'Fusion' for novel one caused confusion by raising connotations of hydrogen bombs, foreign food, mixed musical origins, bubble gum or men's shavers, 'The Cosmopolites' seems to be leading to just as much misinterpretation. It appears, even, to be hard to pronounce. 'Fusion' was cleverly rescued by a friendly little African melting pot, which itself has been loved and hated, indicating the cultural fusion it was supposed to represent. Thank you Raphael of Trafford.
'The Cosmopolites' does the job intended. The main characters have travelled widely and, although they give allegiance to their native countries, they declare that they are 'citizens of the world' and therefore owe greater allegiance to global concerns. The suggestion is that I find a more accessible title to catch the eye of the browsers. I ask myself if that is what I want to do. One suggestion was 'The Enthusiasts' - but that has no international association. The characters could be enthusiastic about anything - like boiled eggs or gardening. I've thought of 'The Cosmopolitans' - but they were pretentious, sophisticated creatures of the 1920s. 'The Global Villagers' weren't around in the 1970s, 'The Globetrotters' are much too rich and frivolous, 'The Wanderers' suggests aimlessness, Beyond the Borders (not quite right), 'The Internationalists' (oh yes) but perhaps too political and business orientated. I'm afraid it's back to 'The Cosmopolites' - citizens of no particular country - well-meaning towards all - but, for practical reasons, loyal to the country they live in and for emotional reasons, tied to the countries of their birth. What more can I say?
So far three people reading 'The Cosmopolites' have mentioned tears and belly laughs. Some are saying, 'I'm loving it' (sincere I hope) and only one has threatened to sue (joking I hope)!
Can't be too bad then, apart from the odd cliche and confusing red and roe deer - and the epilogue not being needed - and you tell me ...
E J G
(I'm working hard to find a publisher for the manuscript of 'The Cosmopolites' which is ready to go, but it's not easy! I'm not going to give up or rush too much this time.)
However I don't regret publishing 'Fusion' through Trafford. They were very helpful - and Gloria saw her name in print.
1. Asking people to read it - and steeling myself against the inevitable criticism (+ enjoying the praise too.)
2. Went to a day course on self-editing run by Emma Darwin (of the famous great great grandfather). It was full of great advice and constructive criticism.
3. Reading the m/s out loud (where I don't sound daft) - and therefore changing some dialogue.
4. As well as ploughing through the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2010 (yes I know it's 2009 now)I've logged in to first writer.com + have targeted LOTS of agents and am now a real writer with lots of rejections.
5. Continuing to enter competitions and writing in different genres to IMPROVE, IMPROVE, IMPROVE. I even wrote a sonnet that made me cry. My first spooky story is pretty dire, I suspect - and the adjudicator will probably let me know that.
6. Reading my best review for 'Fusion' to remind me that somebody likes my writing! Anonymous because s/he wants it thus.
November 26th 2008
Wow! It's a long time since I've read a book at one sitting. So here I am with cold feet, a full bladder and an empty stomach. So many resonances and memories jogged, from Leaving on a Jet Plane' to a wet tent on Mt Kenya to remembering exactly where I was when Kelly Holmes won the 1500m and I had tears in my eyes. My head is buzzing. Can I just say, Well Done and Congratulations and thank you so much for the book and the inscription.
A funny day, yesterday. After the arrival of the postie about lunchtime I was plunged into the richness of the kaleidoscope of Africa and all Ella's turbulent emotions and adventures. I emerged hours later, blinking, as if woken from a dream.
So much of your thoughts and philosophy and optimism was buzzing around in my head that sleep was improbable. I prowled the bookshelves and eventually lit upon George MacKay Brown. It took an hour of his gentle island cadences and spare prose to settle me down.
Certainly the book doesn't fit neatly into any genre- rather it comes into the category of 'all things counter, original, spare, strange', and I like that. In fact I like everything about it. I had been prepared for a few flaws in a first novel, and there may well be, but nothing jumped out at me to interrupt the narrative. Your descriptions of Africa are compelling and accord with my first impressions of Kenya on an all too brief visit
So why, after a really enjoyable read, do I still have a lump in my throat this morning? Nostalgia for lost youth perhaps a questioning as to what I have done in the cause of world harmony? Nothing negative perhaps, but is that enough? 'They also serve...'
I don't know.
I dislike bigots, zealots and extremists of all varieties but I have never really gone out of my way to confront them?
So, I suppose there is a wee bit of envy there in my admiration of your achievement, your courage and your unshakeable optimism. But, hey, if you're not optimistic what is the point of getting up in the morning?
You have made me think and that is the highest compliment I can give a book.
Now, off you go and finish the next one which I expect will take another day of my life.....
P.S. I don't think I would like these maunderings to appear in a blog.
Thanks for allowing me to put this in - person anon. EJG
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