It’s not every day that you get to help publish a book, let alone a book of a great author like Mary Ann Mulhern. While the Headliners editorial team can definitely agree on the fact that the process for How We Fare has been an extremely rewarding one, it definitely hasn’t been easy. Coming up with a title for the book was our team’s first challenge, as we wanted to choose a title that was reflective of the powerfully poignant poetry within.
We first considered playing on the news aspect of the poetry, given that it was the source from which Mary Ann drew her inspiration for the book. However, this was quickly dismissed, for such a narrowed scope was very limiting and we felt that it took away from the poetic nature of the collection. We then tried to pull particularly powerful lines from poems in the collection. How We Fare was one of these lines, taken from the poem “At What Price,” but it faded to the background amidst a long list of other possible titles. Mary Ann came forward with various title suggestions as well (such as Beneath the Blood Red Moon), but the team mutually agreed that while her ideas were good, they didn’t seem to fit for this collection.
With the title deadline looming closer, we resorted to spewing as many ideas as possible, mostly playing around with alliteration (everyone’s favourite way to make catchy titles). We had a couple of possibilities in Whispers of a Weeping World and Grieving from the Gutter, but when we pitched these to our editing class, it did not go over well with them and we had to go back to the drawing board once again. By this point, we weren’t sure what to do; nothing seemed to work and the most we had achieved from our numerous discussions was an unfortunate shouting match. We decided to talk about it with Marty, where team member Maggie tentatively brought up How We Fare as a possibility again and Marty immediately loved it upon hearing it. After running it by Mary Ann, she told the team that she loved it too, and with that, we finally had a title!
How We Fare is a simple title that perfectly captures the selfless and nonjudgemental attitude that Mary Ann presents in her poetry, especially in this collection. Even though the collection deals with tragic issues that have become so commonplace in our world, Mary Ann takes on an optimistic view, using poetry as a means to create lasting images surrounding such tragedy. How We Fare considers not only how we as humans react and come to terms with the events happening around the world, but also those directly affected and involved in these circumstances whose voices are not always heard.
Additionally, How We Fare demonstrates how Mary Ann considers these worldwide happenings in a new light, giving them a renewed vitality to the news that saturates our daily conscience and ensuring that we will pay attention and remember the story. Most importantly, it helps to extend Mary Ann’s invitation to the world to join her in unfolding headlines in order to foster a greater awareness and understanding of the world we live in and the lives we are quick to forget.
We’ve come a long way from our untitled manuscript days, but we’re absolutely thrilled with our title choice and look forward to moving further into the publishing process as we now begin to consider a cover design for How We Fare. Until then, we encourage you to stay updated and follow our editing and publishing journey on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the social media handle @headlinersbmp and hope to see you at the official release of the book at our launch in April!