This past Monday we landed on a title and subtitle for my book and is already leading to really good discussions...
During our weekly meeting last Monday, my publisher suggested the title "Why" and its corresponding subtitle for my book. I'm incredibly pleased with the suggestions and eagerly agreed with them immediately. Then I announced it online, and the ensuing discussions have only heightened my enthusiasm.
I like the title Why because it is open-ended and doesn’t end with a question mark. “Why” is a powerful little word that will meet the reader where they are at. It can be read as a question or a statement.
For writers, that is like word magic! :)
So far, the feedback has been incredibly optimistic about the title and subtitle. Interestingly, a handful of people who knew me in my self-loathing ex-gay days asked why it didn’t say, “Why Conversion Therapy?” or some derivation of that. The subtitle foreshadows why Why isn’t narrowed down to one topic:
I survived abuse only to live a lie before learning to thrive as my true self.
Living a lie is when I lived and promoted ex-gay ideology (conversion therapy of a religious nature) for twenty-three years (twenty-one within Exodus). But I am about to turn 55 in a couple of weeks. That means 32 years of my life have nothing to do with Exodus or trying to live a lie. This memoir is not confined to the self-loathing version of me, so it wouldn’t be accurate to modify the title Why along the conversion therapy lines.
From 1968 to 1992, I went through hell. Absolute hell. I experienced every kind of abuse (i.e., emotional terrorism, physical assault, sexual assault, systemic disenfranchisement, losing friends to AIDS, etc.) long before I heard of Exodus or what an “ex-gay movement” was. This traumatic conditioning (PTSD) is what set me up to think that the lie was Truth with a capital “T” (religious ‘cause God said so!’ kind of truth). So much so that I started teaching and promoting the lie, which then spread the destruction to others. But tragedy happened in 2013 that exposed the lie for what it was, destructive and sometimes deadly abuse.
Eventually, I came out in 2015 and have been learning to thrive as my true self ever since. The book goes into all that and connects many dots that I am confident readers will identify with or at least come to a deeper understanding of how some of us ended up in the cult of ex-gay ministry and its ideology.
But in another way, my story is like any other human story. Mine might be a steroid-level WTF kind of messy, but I don’t know a soul whose journey doesn’t have some WTF kind of mess at some point. Living life tends to be full of good decisions, horrible decisions, and consequences…lots of consequences. But it is also a human story of doing better once you know better, not just to live but to make amends, seek justice, and thrive.
Add in all that drama sprinkled with a good dose of sardonic wit, and you get a memoir that I hope will inform, inspire, and positively impact the reader no matter what their “Why” was when they first opened the book.
Coming in 2023, my memoir Why — Published by IOM Inspirebytes - Author Profile
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