A little help needed. . .

Over the years many of you have asked, “What ever happened to A Haunting Reverence?  It was my favorite book of yours.”  Well, it went out of print, and I, too, have felt sad about its passing.  It was my quietest, most poetic, literary child and may have been the book that was closest to my heart.

So I have decided to reissue it on my own.

But the sad truth is that the title was wrong.  Though I loved it, it misled people and was too abstract.  I am now choosing between two new titles and I want your help.  Please don’t overthink this; just imagine that you are walking down a row of books in a bookstore and you see a spine with one of these titles on it.  Which would be more likely to cause you to stop and pull it out for a closer look?

  1.  Echoes of Forgotten Voices
  2. Whispers of Forgotten Voices

The difference may seem minimal, but it is not.  These are the kinds of decisions I make with every sentence I write in every book.  They matter in a way that lies far below your conscious response and understanding.  Rhythm, texture, unrecognized implications and associations — these are the deep tools a writer employs.  Unless you are writing a book primarily to pass on information, in which case clarity matters most, these subterranean decisions with their subconscious implications are the true “stuff” of a book.  They are the elements that move it from the mind to the heart.

As to these titles, no matter which I choose, the subtitle will be “Listening to the Lessons of the Land.”  But the title, which is what people see and what they refer to, is the “front door” to the book.  I need to know which of the two options most makes you want to knock on that door and be welcomed in.

This will be our book, yours and mine, and I will seek your involvement in different ways.  But the first issue is the title.  You need not write an elaborate response unless you want to.  Just write “whispers” or “echoes” in the “Comments” or “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the post and send it back.  I hope you will take the time to do so.  In your own small way you will be helping to author a book that needs to have its quiet voice heard again.

97 comments

  1. Allie Walking Eagle says:

    Whispers seems to go better with forgotten voices! They connect!

  2. My gut reaction is echo. Echo speaks to eternal truths that have been spoken or shared from generation to generation. It feels like these truths “echo” in the ethers and within the land for all time. What a dream it would be to work with you in any way at all Kent.

  3. Pamela Letterman says:

    Whispers!

  4. knerburn says:

    One of my dreams is to do this book as a crowdsource book and make one of the premiums a book club visit. Or, maybe just to try to get enough funding to do a guerilla book tour that allows me to go to small towns as well as big cities.

  5. “Whispers”, What @Allie Walking Eagle said, resonates with me.

  6. Lisa Cruse says:

    Whispers

  7. Tom Swaidner says:

    Whispers

  8. First thought Best thought. My gut immediately said “echoes” on the spine in order to arrest and catch the attention of the passing gaze. Simple clear and powerful statement. Agree with Franne above. Whispers has its independent merits also, but possibly be too recondite (esoteric word deliberate) and not inviting enough to the first glance. Will attract, but perhaps a smaller cohort, and your work Kent deserves the largest audience, as we saw with exceptional reception trim our deep listening audience to our two Dialogues on KGNU community listener-supported independent public radio this March re your ever-deepening Neither Wolf Nor Dog elder Dan Trilogy (including The Wolf at Twiilight and The Girl Eho Sang to the Buffalo) — broadcast on KGNU Boulder-Denver and all up and down the Front Range of Colorado,freely archive accessible at:

    http://www.kgnu.org/LivingDialogues/3/6/2016, and

    http://www.kgnu.org/connections/3/11/2016

    In the Spirit echo of the timeless wisdom proclamation “All Our Relations”,

    All the very best for you and the great We.

    Duncan

    Duncan

  9. Mike Carlson says:

    I like echoes.

  10. Nancy Karner says:

    “Whispers” are close at hand and personal; “Echos” are hard to hear and decipher. I’m older now and don’t want to work hard for uncertainty. Nancy

  11. Janie Hougen Peak says:

    Echoes of Forgotten Whispers – Whispers are subtle, but penetrating; “echoes” connotes the passage of time and the idea that once something is said, it perpetuates. (Okay, I am a bit of a trouble maker.)

  12. Barbara Meyer says:

    Both of us here in Grand Lake like “Whispers.” Barbara and Steve Meyer

  13. Barbara Meyer says:

    And a book club visit?! THAT would be awesome if you would visit us in Grand Lake, Colorado. You will be on our reading list later this year!

  14. Ginny Weir Lunko says:

    Both my husband,Greg and I feel Echoes resonates down thru time and space.

  15. Ida says:

    Whispers because it lives life to silenced voices and that the voice is alive with instructions. Echoes seem like it only is bouncing back something that has been said and is something that is harder to distinguish what the voice is saying.

  16. John Humphrey says:

    whispers

  17. Maggie Northwind says:

    Echoes speaks volumes to me.

  18. Maureen says:

    Definitely “Echoes”. The whole title rings easier on the tongue and in the mind.

  19. bamboo-water says:

    Whispers draws me in . . .

  20. Barb says:

    I feel “Whispers”

  21. Pam says:

    Echoes was my first reaction. It speaks to me of something from the past – like Forgotten Lessons. But I don’t think you can go wrong with either word.

  22. Bonnie Farmer says:

    “Whispers” says “they” are still out there. Echoes may imply the remnants of something that no longer is.

  23. Chris Cradock-Henry says:

    Echoes cos that’s how the Voice for God is received

  24. My gut says “echoes,” but still I struggle. It may be my attachment to the original title because of what this book meant to me as an 8th grader who just met a real writer who gifted her his copy (and signed it, and which she devoured for years).

    Neither rolls of my tongue the way “A Haunting Reverence” does. Any chance “Echoes of the Forgotten” is an option? 😀

  25. JoAnne WIlson says:

    Those Echoes refuse to be forgotten.
    Agree with Maureen… “The whole title rings easier on the tongue and in the mind.”

  26. Tatian Greenleaf says:

    “Whispers” suggests something more immediate, perhaps still alive — if not literally then spiritually. I prefer that.

  27. Rosemary Salway says:

    Echoes. An opinion from Europe!

  28. Whispers: Comes unannounced, echoes comes as a response.
    My choice is whispers

  29. Mike Neel says:

    Echoes of Forgotten Voices

  30. Becky Seward says:

    Echoes

  31. Meredith says:

    Echos of forgotten voices resonates with me and piques my interest right away.

    best wishes for the republication

  32. Ramona Coyote says:

    I have not read this book, Ken.
    But according to Goodreads:

    From the vast grandeur of the Great Plains to the dark solitude of the northern woods, from the fierce intensity of a sudden summer storm to the quiet redemption of a perfect blanket of snow, Kent Nerburn pays homage to the land that has shaped the lives and cultures of northern people. Nerburn’s essays range broadly from deeply personal narratives of the author’s experiences among the Ojibwe, to dark meditations on the uncompromising winters of northern Minnesota, to mystical celebrations of water and light. Throughout, Nerburn writes with an incandescent radiance and intellectual passion that are at once elemental, provocative, and startling. Deeply grounded in the struggle for authentic spiritual awakening – a path based on awareness rather than explanation – Nerburn’s words illuminate the intricate subtleties of nature with intimacy and power.

    This…Whisper’s to me…
    Look forward to reading this, and watching the film that is birthing it’s way…

  33. Patricia M. Rall says:

    Kent–so glad to know you are re-publishing this book–you are so adept at hearing whispers and echoes can sometimes be obtuse as it is often difficult to find the directions from which they come. so obviously I vote for Whispers..

  34. Moe ross says:

    Echoes.

  35. Cliff says:

    I’m partial to “Echoes”. For me “Whispers” is something that really isn’t meant to be broadly shared.

  36. Kate says:

    We think the title Whispers would be better. Whispers seems to be connected to something living. They could still be heard. Echoes are the remainings of something thats already said and gone. They loose power in time. Hope we could help with the decision. Best wishes from Europe!

  37. Paul Brown says:

    Echoes has me and pull the book to check the jacket info. Whispers, I pause first, on my trip down the aisle…not as strong. Pull for me.
    Your name takes me to the check-out, book in hand.

  38. Bill Kirk says:

    “Thunder of Forgotten Voices”

  39. Patrick D. says:

    My first thought was whisper. Then it occurred to me to combine both…Echoes of Forgotten Voices Now Whispered.

  40. Will K says:

    Echoes

  41. Marsha says:

    Whispers

  42. Himanshu Tiwari says:

    Whispers.

  43. Shelly says:

    Echoes

  44. Christine says:

    All three are in the same category. If your concern is being too abstract, well, all three are abstract. What’s another concrete way of saying spiritual awakening?

  45. Beverly Maynard says:

    Echos struck me immediately. But, I REALLY prefer “A Haunting Reverence”. I hope you follow your gut feeling about your original title and KNOW that your audience will be drawn to the book in perfect, meant-to-be, fashion. That this book’s time has arrived. That the Voices have spoken to you so that you are bringing it back. I can see the original title followed by a subtitle, “Echos of Ancestral Voices”. (We don’t want them to be “forgotten”.) Are “Echos” more “haunting” than “whispers” and therefore a better fit to the original tittle that you love? Or perhaps… “Echos of Ancestral Voices” followed by, “A Haunting Reverence”! I love how your books have helped me be the person I am today! THANK YOU!

  46. terry says:

    echoes

  47. Sandy Boreen says:

    Echoes because it is the sounds of the past echoing off the present.

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