Day 10 of the A to Z Challenge is the letter “K”:
K is for Kimono
I’ll let you in on a secret. The Red Kimono was not the original title of the story of Sachi, Nobu and Terrence. During the three years it took me to write it, and the additional three years it took me to get it published, its title was Broken Dolls.
Though my writing mentors always warned me not to get attached to the title of my novel–explaining that rarely does the publisher keep it–Broken Dolls became the name of my child. And though I listened to their warnings, when that dreaded time came for Larry Malley, Director at the University of Arkansas Press, to suggest the title The Red Kimono, the hair on the back of my neck bristled. Kind and gentle as he was in his suggestion, changing the title was tantamount to changing my daughter’s name from Andrea to Sally. Or my son’s name from Adam to Dirk.
Then, he explained why. “It’s because of what the kimono symbolizes in your story,” he said.
What it symbolizes? I still remember the calm that settled over me as I pondered his reasoning. In cautious silence I watched him, awaiting his explanation of what he thought the red kimono symbolized.
“Yes.” Larry continued. “At the end of the story, when
sorry, I’m leaving this part out–don’t want to be a spoiler.”
He got it! He really got it!
Do you know what it feels like to have your whole body fill with a smile? That was a moment I’ll always remember–when the director of the press that would publish my first novel so “got” my book, that he suggested the perfect title–yes, even better than my own name for the book.
Though I won’t tell you the end of the story of Sachi, Nobu and Terrence, I will share another secret: