Okay, I admit it. I’m a hypocrite. I google stuff, and like being able to find things with ease. But when it comes to my own writing, I resent submitting to the tyranny of search engine gods.
A quirky, cantankerous individualist and psychotherapist both, I’d be equally at home leading or participating in a group for obsessive neurotics. That seemed like a good premise for a humorous memoir. So I wrote one. Now it’s time to come up with a title.
The internet, and search engine optimization, has fucked this up no end.
As one who remembers “Wonderama” and Mike Douglas (I know I didn’t just admit that), I’m wildly dismayed that choosing a title revolves around search words. It puts an effective kibosh on all of my ideas, ranging from the cute to the cryptic to the edgy. Except, of course, for the one that I hate. But I’ll return to that later.
Consider this: In today’s world of S.E.O., a book titled “Catcher in the Rye,” ”The Bell Jar,” or “Wuthering Heights” would never find readers. ”The Sun Also Rises” would get hits from people seeking a weather report, and ”Moby Dick” would attract perverts.
Here are some of my ideas for my own book’s title, all of which have been squashed:
1. “Both Sides Of the Couch.” Can’t have it: I’m told it’s not funny, and will probably just draw people who are carpet hunting. Even with a subtitle (“Tales of a neurotic psychotherapist in need of a personality reduction”) I’m warned strongly against.
2. “Off Kilter.” This is summarily disallowed. No one googles “Off Kilter.”
3. “Striving For Kilter.” I like it, but wouldn’t dare suggest it.
4. “Askew” or “Unglued.” Disposition-wise, I generally alternate between the two. But some days I’m both. Either title would do me proud. They’re both waved out of the park.
5. ”Where’s My Other Sock?” I think it’s cute, but the mere thought would give an agent or publisher night terrors.
The title I thought of but can’t stand is ”Coping Is for Losers.” Amusing, perhaps, but from a literary standpoint, a sure mark of disgrace.
Search engine optimization is one of my top banes, right up there with asshole parkers, wailing babies, and the price of pretzel M&M’s.
It does, however, present one gleaming positive.
Finally, I get to throw my arms up and declare, ”I can’t work like this.”The Duck Man | The Beet Green Incident →