Years ago The New Yorker ran a cartoon after Ken Burns had just come out with his second major documentary, Baseball. (The first, of course, had been the masterpiece The Civil War.) The cartoon showed a man’s hand holding a piece of paper with “Ken Burns To-Do List” at the top. Underneath the title it said:
I thought of this when writing the third book I plan to release. My list could be:
Fascinating! As a trilogy, you could call it AMERICA and not be far off. I’ll put the series name in bold:
What would you call the Ken Burns trilogy? That’s the joke, really. In the cartoon it would be:
But we knew that wasn’t really what Ken Burns had in mind. And in fact, this third documentary was Jazz, giving us something more like this:
Revealing! (Side note: I couldn’t give him America! I already took it for myself. This is Jacke’s blog, not Ken’s.) And so… announcing….
The Jacke Wilson One-Word Test
- Take three books you’ve written or plan to write.
- Force yourself to encapsulate each one with a single word.
- Are all three words the same? (And if so, are you okay with that?)
- If they’re different, what word most plausibly fits as the summary?
- Are you happy with the results? Is it what you expected? Is it consistent with how you view your work?
Feel free to post your results in the comments!