Telmetale of Stem or Stone

Happy St. Patrick’s day. Zinzin has a post featuring a video (audio with pictures) of James Joyce Reading Finnegans Wake, from 1929, with the text to follow along. But first, and before you quaff or even lay eyes on your first Guinness of the day, make sure you have a hearty and nutritious breakfast:

Night now!
Tell me, tell me, tell me, elm! Night night! Telmetale of stem or
stone. Beside the rivering waters of, hitherandthithering waters
of. Night!

~James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, p.216 lines 2-5

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Inside the process of creating the title of a novel

As part of James Salter month at the Paris Review, the journal’s blog has posted some of Salter’s notes and scribblings, documenting a little bit of his process coming up with the title for his 1975 novel Light Years: “At every magazine or publishing house, there’s always an editor or two with a knack for titles. But even so, rarely does one come in a flash of divine inspiration. There are iterations and themes and the same words written over and over. Here is a glimpse of what James Salter’s process was like with his 1975 novel Light Years…. Salter seems so close at points, circling back to light and years, sometimes on the same page but not always the same line, ranking his favorites and weighing the opinions of others.” (Click through for more images.)

James Salter Light Years title optionsReally James, Estuarial Years didn’t merit a strike-through? The Tortoise must have liked it…

Salter might have benefited from the input of Wordlabbers if only he’d traveled a few decades into the future and posted a new Topic in our Publications Forum.

Attention authors: give Wordlab a try for novel titles, non-fiction book titles, short story titles, and even character names. (Via The Paris Review via Flavorpill)

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