Last night, after I turned out my bedside light (for the first time), an old Beatles tune drifted through my head. It goes "Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly...", and I thought, there's the title. I finally found the title for my novel.
I've been trying to shove the word crow into the title, when the story isn't about crows. Yes, they're a device in the story, much like a Greek Chorus, but they're not the story. Maggie letting go of the rigid construct that she's imposed on her own life, her allowing herself to take flight, even if she's doing so on broken wings, is the story.
My friends will say, "Hhmm, that sounds familiar. Who else intimately involved in this novel has self-imposed, rigid constructs?" What can I say? She's not me. But, she does have parts of me in her. As do all the other characters. Even Suzanne.
So I'm going to use Take these Broken Wings as the title.
I ran the idea by Ann Hood, one of my writing teachers and a wonderful mentor, and she said there shouldn't be any legal repercussions, even though it is from a song, a well known song, and using song lyrics can cause legal, copyright complications. I don't know the details, but there has to be some word limit before it's considered quoting a lyric. Hopefully, it's five or more words.
Good news, yes? So on the day I finally chose the title for my novel, I got my second rejection, this time in the form of an email (in response to an email query). It made me feel much better about the quality of my first rejection letter. This one started out "Dear Author". I didn't expect a hand-written note, or even the body of the letter to be wholly unique, but I did expect my name to be on the response. Rejection should be more personal than that. It made me feel sad, not necessarily to be rejected -- I've gotten past that hurtle -- but to be just another number or another query of many.
So tonight, I'm celebrating my title and the fact that I didn't end up with an agent who sends out form rejection letters.