One of the questions asked most often about The Gospel According to Chubby is “Where did you come up with the title?” I figured what better way to launch the behind the scenes part of this blog than to discuss one of the most important aspects of any book: The Title.
The original working title for “Gospel” was actually “You Know You’re Fat When Your Coat Has Stretch Marks.” The inspiration behind it came from a raincoat I purchased and held onto all the way through college. It was picked up during a good swing of a yo-yo dieting and once the weight came back, I found myself unwilling to part with it.
As I continued to gain more weight back, the coat continued to stretch. I was completely unwilling to get rid of it, no matter how tight it became, because it I knew it symbolized yet another failed attempt at weight loss. One day, as I reached to put it on, I noticed there were streaked white lines contrasting the shimmery red cloth. Looking further, I noticed the white streaks were actually micro tears in the fiber of the coat. Much like the streaks on ones body, my coat had stretch marks.
Fast-forward a few years later; the initial concept for my book was quickly becoming an outline and the need for a working title became fairly apparent. The first thing that came to mind was how symbolic my old red coat was. So, for about 3 years, my little book was known as “You Know Your Fat When You’re Coat Has Stretch Marks.”
…However. The deeper I got into the project, the more I realized how unfitting the title was. For one, it didn’t really address my emotional and psychological problems with food. Two, it was fairly insulting. My book is designed to empower, not insult. So until I could find something more suiting, I changed the title to T.B.D.
Once I completed the first rough draft and had a moment to reflect on it, I thought about the context that the book took and what it actually meant to me. At its core, the book is my first hand account of my struggles in terms of weight loss, personal acceptance and my unhealthy love of food. More importantly, it’s an in depth look at how I overcame those struggles and found the ability to walk, not run, away from my problems once and for all.
The more I had people read my drafts, the more they kept telling me how it left them with a feeling of hope and inspiration that no other “weight themed/faith inspired” book had ever given them. I sat back and thought about what could possibly pull all of those attributes together and make sense in the process.
I must pause that story to briefly tell you this one. Around the same time I found myself craving apologetically themed truth. I wanted to know not just what scripture said, but also the context, time periods and social and economic backgrounds that were in place at the time the books were written. In researching the etymology of the gospels, I found the word gospel at its core to mean “a first had account in which glad tidings and good news is proclaimed.”
Pulling the knowledge from that story into the present one at hand, I looked at my book objectively, what I felt it said and what I hoped it will accomplish. It was as if the title fell right into place. “The Gospel According to Jeremy.” No, I didn’t like that. This story isn’t just about me; it is about the struggle that two out of every three people in this country now faces. The Gospel According to Chubby…yes, I think that fits quite well.
And so it is. I took that title and placed it upon all of the items that had been T.B.D. because I could no longer think of a more fitting title. What are your thoughts?