The True Story of Twilight vs This Quintessence of Dust?

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Summary: I once started writing a story/novel called Twilight but, being me, took way too long. Now, however, if the story is to have a chance, I need a new name...

BLOT: (30 Jul 2011 - 11:03:31 AM)

The True Story of Twilight vs This Quintessence of Dust?

When I was a younger man, say about 24 (this is a guess), a horrifying idea for a novel occurred to me. What if, one day, people started disappearing. Just, like, your mom can walk around the corner of a room in your house and never been seen again. You go to bed next to your husband and he is gone when you wake. A man driving down the road turns a curve and when you turn the curve after him, you see his empty car sitting there? In the idea I had, you started out with only a few hundred people disappearing a day, so few that the statistical probability didn't seem off. Then, as it goes on, it climbs up and up. Then a few thousand a day. Then ten thousand a day. Then a hundred thousand. After about six months, a million people are going missing every day in this way. Out of sight, out of mind for a just a second, and they never return. Some disappear in the blink of an eye.

With six billion people on the earth, even at a million a day it would take something like 15 years to drain the populace, so the process goes up another notch or two: ten million, nearly a hundred million per day. Wars start breaking out as people assume other countries are to blame. Widespread infrastructural breakdown. No explanation. Is it aliens? Some sort of madness causing people to run off? The Rapture?

At any rate, the name my younger self chose for this potential novel (for which five or six chapters have been written and re-written) was...Twilight. Mankind was in the final days, past the point of light but still shining somewhat, and it made a natural name for the story. Of course, that is now out with the Twilight franchise still in a full (but obviously dying) swing. Even if titles cannot be copyrighted, I bet a trademark suit would be slammed against me. Plus, would I want angry teeny-boppers buying the wrong book and reading what would be a strange, rambling discourse on the passing of the human race? I needed a new name.

The idea for another name, assuming I ever quite get the grasp of what I want, came after watching Withnail and I. At the end, after I has left to be successful, Withnail starts ranting one of Hamlet's soliloquys and one part of the Bard's writings stood out to me quite strongly as a great reveal of the "magic" of mankind. How we are the paragon of animals, but really just the quintessence of dust...:

What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

And so, if I ever get around to writing that novel...the new title will be This Quintessence of Dust?. With the question-mark just like that.

Musings on My Writings


Written by Doug Bolden

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