It’s quiet work and it gave me time to think. One thing I’ve been trying to sort out is the concept and meaning of the word “toxic.”
It’s a pretty big part of my entire book project and I’m beginning to wonder if it is precisely the word I want to use throughout my book and in its title.
More than one reader has taken issue with the term “toxic” citing their own mother’s extenuating circumstances such as mental illness, substance abuse or history of being abused. Many feel that the word “toxic” is just too negative; too harsh.
Others feel it shouldn’t be used as a blanket term for diverse types of mothers such as those who were less than loving, abusive or whacko moms from Crazy Town.
The title of any book is crucial. Would “The Thin Blue Line” have sold as many copies if it was called “Cops Keep Us Safe from Criminals?” Many publishers feel a provocative title is necessary to find readers.
As I clipped each lavender plant into a compact mound in the back of my mind I considered how much power publishers have. They can tweak my title or toss it if it doesn’t look, feel or sound right. That’s why I want a title I like that fits like a glove – – so I can avoid somebody monkeying with it.
My luck — they’ll grab last week’s post and call it “How to Bee Happy” or just the “Bee Happy” book. Yikes!
Gathering up my sheaves of lavender I decided to reach out to you for feedback and suggestions. You’ve been reading long enough to get what I’m going after here.
Should I stick to my guns and the word “toxic” or reconsider? What works for you might also work for me, for agents and publishers, but I won’t know for sure unless I just put it all out there and ask for your opinions.
I do hope I can find a balance in identifying very toxic parenting and matching those stories to positive strategies for rising above past traumas. I always want to be as kind as possible. Indeed, I have a running joke with a friend that the title should be kind and forgiving.
Perhaps I should consider calling these mothers “extra special” and call the book “How Daughters can thrive despite Extra Special Mothers,” I joke.
Which one works?
Which one stinks?
Should one title be matched with another subtitle?
And I’d love to hear your thoughts on any alternative titles.
My working title is “Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter; with a subtitle: “ How abused and neglected daughters can thrive as adults.”
The story behind that title was a telephone call with a social worker asking me to consider having weekly contact with my mother. “After all,” she said in a somber tone, “even daughters who have had years of trouble with their mothers usually become dutiful when their mothers need them.”
“Yeah, that wouldn’t be me. I’m actually an undutiful daughter,” I said.
She persisted. I resisted. She cajoled, jollied and wheedled.”
“Obviously, you’ve never met my mother,” I finally said.
I explained to her that I had already decided not to rescue my mother in her elder years. I said I would help arrange care and that I would have the local Council on Aging help her with things like doctors appointments and help her with her banking and writing checks.
In other words, I was undutiful and I was okay with it.
Please take a look at the working titles (below) and tell me — which one says you can be a nice person despite a crummy mother?
Which one says you can suffer horrible abuse and neglect and still be a whole, loving human being?
Which one says take this book to the check-out stand and buy it?
- The Toxic Mom Survival Kit
- Mom Bombs: Strategies for Daughters of Toxic Moms
- Daughters Under the Influence: Coming Clean About Your Toxic Mother
- Radioactive Love: Women’s Wisdom on Surviving Toxic Mothers
- The Toxic Mom Survival Kit
- Make Believe Mothers: Building a Happy Life Despite Your Toxic Mother
- The Toxic Mother Solution: Stories, Strategies and Affirmations from Daughters of Toxic Moms
- Barbed Wire Cribs: Living a Joyful Life despite Your Toxic Mother
- Toxic Mom Clean-up: Embracing Life and Family despite Your Toxic Mother
Can’t wait to hear your input. Thanks for your help!
Oh, and if you have any great ideas for what I can do with my lavendar harvest, let me know. Of course, I can use it for sachets to keep my linen closet smelling fresh.
Maybe I should make a nice little Dream Pillow?
Rayne Wolfe’s dream is to write her first book Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter by the end of 2011. She completed her dream journey May of 2011 on 8WD after a year living her dream. You can find her at Toxic Mom Toolkit on Facebook.