Monday, 15 April 2013

Where do those funny little things in your imagination come from? And Vampires.

So, this has taken a while. I'm usually up on titles well before a book finishes. Most of the stories floating around in my head, or on scraps of napkins from coffee shops on South Street, have titles. In fact I probably have more titles than stories. I think of them, and send them to myself as text messages, or scribble them on receipts.

If I had all the time in the world, a book shaped-flood would pour from my balcony, scattered with titles like 'The Cloud Ceiling,' 'The Course,' 'No Love Song Finer,' 'Jordan's Golden Shoulder,' 'Bath Night,' 'The Wonder of it All,' 'The Lost Ocean.'

But I don't have all the time in the world. Fortunately I have saved a little time by realising that a title I scrawled on a receipt from the internet cafe at Istanbul Airport, was perfect.
Once upon a time I lived in Bucharest, Romania (there's a lot of stories there, too. I know the real stuff about vampires...).

Anyway Bucharest is full of fascinating corners, where confusing fragments of the past sneak through the grey concrete of communist times. There are streets named for Greeks who ruled the city as the ambassadors of the Turks. There are cemeteries filled with men who fought the Russians when they came. There is a park, near a road called Basarabia Boulevard, named after the home of the people who once lived there. Besarabians, from a place now called Moldova, then also part of the Ottoman Empire.

Here's one of my favourite Bucharest Places:

What is the point in all these connections?

Of the titles I suggested for my stories, in my little survey in the post below this,  I liked the made-up words 'Giantorium' and the long ones 'The Girl who gave up her Name.'

You didn't. You preferred the places, 'Traitor's Gate' and the others. The one problem with those is there wasn't a connection between them all, not like the 'song' theme of the first stories. Two of them, 'The Locked Chapel' and 'Traitor's Gate' had the theme of openings/access. But I needed a third. Which is where the park in Bucharest came in.

All parks in Bucharest have lakes, but this one was different. It had been encroached on by the walls of the stadium next door. They pinched it between their high, grey surfaces, and gave me the idea for a book title that I never had a story for until about six months ago.

Ladies and gentlemen, Levels 4, Idylls of Merlin, book 1: