Friday, December 23, 2011

Just a quick note, here, Bloglodytes.  I am around, honestly, and checking in on most of your blogs at least occasionally, but the offspring are being little time-suckers at the moment.  Anyways, we've survived the worst and the days will be getting longer now (at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere.  For the rest of you, it's summer, so I have no sympathy at all) and before you know it those crocuses will be squirting up to say 'sproing!'

On the writing front, I intend to be back with pencils and a vengeance in January, and in the meantime, Echo Ink Review has a story of mine ("Ink") in their December issue.  Click on the link, scroll down slightly (look for the oyster) and then squint as you try to make out my name on the cover.  They claim it's available at Amazon, but I haven't seen it there.  Check your local library, if you're curious and have time during the holidays?  Do libraries even still stock short fiction publications?

Have a good rest, Bloglodytes!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lost in Übersetzing

Oh, man.
The offspring roam the hills on the Beara Penninsula.
Everytime I go away for a bit, Google "improves" blogger.  If I could program (and I can't, so you're safe, Bloglodytes) I would launch a series of platforms with the motto "We won't change unless you make us."  I would have "Blogosaur" for people to write their blogs on and it would never change.  And "NOFACELIFTBOOK"  which would also never change.

So.  Enough of my technophobe whinging; how are you, Bloglodytes?  I've been on holiday, rain, sun, wind.  The usual mix in west Cork.
Actually, I came here today to complain about something else.  I've joked elsewhere about the quirks of (mis)translation.  While roaming around some online bookstores the other day, I found some English books with inexplicably translated titles in German.  I don't know if this happens in other languages, but it is a rampant illness in German, which drives a lot of Germans batshit, I know.  I was reminded of a comment I ran across in a local TV guide about a mediocre TV movie.  I can't remember the original title of the film in English (*found it!  It was called Woman Undone!*), but the German title was Gnadenschuss im Flammenmeer.  The basic plot was that a man was found burnt in a crashed car with a single gun shot wound to the head.  His wife, whose fingerprints were all over the gun, powder burns on her hands, and who had also been in the crash, had no memory of the incident but was put on trial for murder (or something like that).  She loved her husband and could not believe the evidence.  At the end of the film, we find out that he had been trapped in the car, burning alive (she had presumably been thrown clear).  With no way to free him, she shot him so he wouldn't suffer.  The reviewer commented that the film was very bad, and that the one -perhaps- redeeming quality, that little bit of suspense,  was annihilated by the crappy German translation of the title.  Gnadenschuss im Flammenmeer,  means 'mercy-shot in a sea of flames.' Gee, I wonder why she did it?  (Check out the Den of Geek for a more extensive list, including Man With Beard's personal favorite, the inaptly named Schlappe Bullen beissen nicht (Floppy cops don't bite, AKA Dragnet)).

So, the book titles I ran across:

Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth has been swapped for the nondescript Milos ganz und gar unmögliche Reise, or 'Milo's completely and absolutely impossible trip.'  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... You could swap out the name 'Milo' and use the same title for the Narnia Books, or The Hobbit, or even Neverwhere...  The Incredible Journey... My last trip to the post office with the opening times from hell... 

For some inexplicable reason, Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time has been "translated" as Supergute Tage oder Die sonderbare Welt des Christopher Boone.  'Super-good days, or the peculiar world of Christopher Boone.'

Some are down-right boring.  An Abundance of Katherines was translated as Die erste Liebe (nach 19 vergeblichen Versuchen).  'First love (after 19 unsuccessful attempts.)'  What's wrong with Ein Reichtum von Katherines?  John Green, if no one bought the German language version of your book, you now know why.

Linda Urban's A Crooked Kind of Perfect has become
Das Leben ist kein Klavier, or 'life is not a piano'.
Thanks for that, and here I was trying to get myself tuned.

I know not all things can be translated, and I realise that publishers need to sell according to their markets, but I don't think that's the problem here.  I think it's a bad case of the people who make up the titles in Germany completely underestimating the abilities of their viewer/readership.  They project their lack of imagination and creativity on the public.  And change- not translate- titles that don't need to be changed.

Any film that hits German TV in which a woman (or man, or police officer, or whatever) does, well, pretty much anything  *other* than roll over and take it will be given the title 'FILL IN THE BLANK- A Woman (Man, Police Officer, Enraged Daffodil) Strikes Back.'
'Rape- A Woman Strikes Back' (Little White Lies)
'Abuse- A Daughter Strikes Back.'  (Silent Lies)
'Trial- A Cop Strikes Back (Mistrial)
'Soggy Cereal- A Comic Strip Character Strikes Back.'  (Made That One Up But You Get The Point.)
They do this instead of translating the title.
In the case of these films, it's become a sort of shorthand for 'skip this film, it's a crap made-for-TV film.'  You might even call it a public service.  Sometimes they butcher the titles of good films, too, but they are running TV stations and I don't expect better of them.  I live in a fantasy world where book publishers have higher standards than TV people.  When it comes to the books, it seems like the publishers are shooting themselves in the foot by giving the books mediocre titles that are likely to attract the sort of people that wouldn't enjoy them and conversely not attract the ones who would.  But there's also the translation issue; I sincerely hope the books were translated more faithfully than the titles.  It wouldn't instill me with confidence, you know?  If they're that frivolous with the title, what have they done with the rest of the author's carefully chosen words?

Maybe it's time for a film project:
Shitübersetzung- ein Manuskript schlägt zurrück.
'Crap translation- a manuscript strikes back.'
Anybody up for it?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's August now.  After the coldest summer in the last thirty years, we are now having hot, perfect for bathing weather, now that the kids are back in school.  So cruel.  OTOH, Middlekid is taking a life-saving course until late September, so I'm glad to know she won't be turning blue.

I did aim to post once per month, minimum.  I skipped July.  Did anybody notice?  I hope not.  I hope you were all taking advantage of your breaks and weathers, whatever your hemisphere.  I look forward to catching up on your blogs.

On the writing front, things are going surprisingly well.  I thought it would be harder to get into the rhythm again after taking the whole summer off, but there I was in the shed, scribbling away, brimming with new tortures for my characters.

On the publication front:  The Fucking Fairy Story (some of you may even know what I'm talking about) has been shortlisted somewhere for almost a year.  Beads of sweat, bloglodytes, beads of sweat!
And- here's where it gets a bit weird: I've had a short, flashy tidbit accepted somewhere else.  Now, this somewhere else is new, but I liked the look of their e-zine, and I liked the name, so I sent them something- no money, but so what?  They had technical difficulties, there were delays, etc., so I queried and they wrote back that they wanted it, yes.  Time slithers on, and what do I read on their blog, but that the pdf issue has gone out to all subscribers nearly a week ago.  I just kind of assumed since I was in the magazine, they would send me a copy or a magic link or something and I wouldn't have to beg for one.  It's mailing list only!  It's not even available on their web-site!  I wanna see!  I wanna see!  And once I've seen that I'm really in it, I'll post a link over their where those sorts of links are so you bloglodytes can see too.  Still, anybody else think this is odd?

Hope you're all writing furiously and happily.  It's nice to be back!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dreaming of Cats

I had a dream last night;
Middlekid has a small but tall chest of drawers in her room. In my dream, Peppercorn crawled out from underneath it, and had about eight kittens with her. The reason she disappeared was because she was busy having kittens, not because some wastrel ran over her. Weird, considering we had her fixed in March in real life.

It was a lovely dream, but I don't know where to file it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Of Cats and Assholes

Some miserable, worthless fuck-wad ran over our cat this morning. No one seems to have seen anything, and the coward drove off. Any way you slice it, Peppercorn is gone, gone, gone, and Mandy has to stay locked in the house because he won't stay off the street, sniffing the spot where she was lying.

This just sucks.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Anthropomorphic Food, Musical Manuscripts

Normally, I don't like eating things with faces, but for a punschkugel, I'll make an exception.

In other news, there is such a big, big difference between the phrase "the novel is in the bag," and "I have bagged the novel." Is there a day in the future when I am sure enough of myself as a writer to start a project I believe in and ram it right on through to the end without waffling, wandering off, being unfaithful? In short, the novel is back on the back burner, yes, again, because I feel like I'm beating my own head in with a brick that would rather be doing something else.
I really do fantasize about a day when I feel as if I have some clue what I'm doing as a writer and I know it may never come. Maybe it doesn't need to? Perhaps this is just the way I do things. Work on something a bit until it stalls. Put it aside and work on something else until that stalls. As long as I don't just play musical manuscripts, I mean, as long as things are getting finished and submitted in their own good time, it's ok, right? Right?

Monday, June 6, 2011


I'm getting better at handling rejections- some still hurt more than others, but for the most part they are all a learning experience.  At some point I was vaguely thinking there must be a magic number of times you can submit something before it becomes impossible ignore the fact that it's crap, even if you still can't see it.  I never really got around to deciding what this number is, or if it even exists; I retired many things myself, especially in my first year or so of submitting because my learning curve was steep.  (You know what I mean, perhaps?  That "thank BOB nobody ever accepted this!" story?)

The ones I stuck with have either been accepted somewhere (yay!) or had enough positive comments that I knew they were worth subbing.  Except for this one story.  It has been held rather long in some places, read by more than one reader in some places, but, in the end, always returned without comment.

And I've submitted it more than any other story.  Hmmmm.... What's a writer to do?  Perhaps it's time for a cooling off- I'll shelve it for a half year or so and then look if it's really any good.

So what about you, fellow bloglodytes?  You ever have story you really thought was good that no one wanted to touch?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Art & Fear

I flatter myself I'm not wholly chicken. I do think it takes a certain amount of bravery to be an artist of any sort. You have to be willing to expose yourself in all kinds of ways. I write things, sometimes, thinking oh, no. I shouldn't write that- people will think this character is me and that I'm a weirdo (not saying I ain't, but still, who wants that for their grand epitaph?). Or worrying that a piece of writing makes me look immature or conceited or obsessed. Or just exposes me as a crappy writer...

I look into Bayles and Orland's Art & Fear from time to time, when I forget what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. At the end of the day (read: at the end of my life) I can't guarantee that anything I will have written will be meaningful to anyone, so I might as well make sure it's meaningful to me. I'm making use of the vacuum, I guess. Usually, I accuse the vacuum of being guilty of giving me so much space that I lose the plot, quite literally. The upside is that I have enough space to decide, firmly, if I'm willing to stand behind a piece long before anybody else has seen it. Happy writing, Bloglodytes. Keep pecking away at those keyboards.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April, April, macht was ich will.

Hello, fellow bloglodytes. I've been a bad blogger, I know. Sometimes I have the impression there is an inverse correlation between the amount that I write and the amount that I blog. Man With Beard has been away a lot recently, but the good news is, I've written about 35,000 words in the past three weeks. The bad news is, somebody has to type it in now.
Any volunteers? I'll e-mail it to you and...

(ps: The proverb is actually 'April, April, macht was er will.' Or, April, April, does what it wants. What I wrote says 'April, April, does what I want.' Which has probably just jinxed me.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Shiny Lights in the Dim

Peppercorn on the pelmet, ready to laser all intruders (who don't bring kitty snacks.)  

Be it the sun or the cat, I'm all in favour of lights in the darkness.

Spring has arrived, and the purple crocuses and other garden inhabitants are popping up, which makes me very happy.  Spring is usually a prolific time for me, so I'm trying to get busy.  I'm plowing on with my novel again.  I begin to wonder if my characters are all half-lizard; they don't seem to want to get going.  I poke them with pointy sticks and they lie there like so much road-kill.  I have come to the conclusion that I am poking them with the wrong stick.  I need a bigger one.  Or one made of marshmallow.  Or a stick shaped like a tank.  I don't know.  I'll try anything once, though.

I have an obscene number of books on writing, which I read and re-read bits of, off and on.  I honestly can't tell if any of it is sinking in or not.  I would love to believe that my subconscious is making use if it all without telling me, but who knows?  Writing down words and shredding them afterwards seems to be the most effective learning method for me, so I'm off.

After this word:   I hate to bring this up, almost.  I know I'm very late to the game, either pro or con, but I'm just reading Twilight (yes, that Twilight) and I'm sort of in shock.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Still February

Feel free to ignore this post if it makes you uncomfortable.  It makes me uncomfortable.

Some of my fellow bloglodytes remember why I started this blog.  It was an outlet, and a dumping ground for feelings that didn't have anywhere else to go.  It was also, and I hope has been, a place to heal, grow and become less whiny.  To try and shift my focus and energies onto something more productive than being sad.  But it's nearly March, and I'm finding it difficult.  I know some of you guys now, in a pixilated, ethernetty sort of way,  so it doesn't feel like I'm just dumping my negativity into the nowhere anymore; it feels like I'm dumping it on people, and I'm sorry about that, but it's got to get out, or I'll explode and the mess in my office will be even bigger.  So I'm trying to keep writing, trying to get everything ready for Thirdling's BD party, and just generally trying to keep my chin up, but I suspect I will not be my usual barrel of laughs this month.

Let's blame my overuse of commas on present circumstances, shall we?
Over and out.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Last year I wrote this whiny post in February (do I write any other kind?) but somehow never saw the last comment, made by Paca, in the comment trail. I happened upon it just now because I was wondering if I had posted pictures of last February, and if it was as much of a frozen wasteland as this February.

Anyway, here's a poem, inspired both by Paca's comment and, alas, my current nasal condition:

Ode to Boogers

The boogers that sit in my nose
Resisting the firmest of blows
Are thoroughly überdried
Heck, they are petrified!
At least seventeen on the Mohs.

The rhythm is a little off, but the meaning is very deep. Yes, I know it's a limerick, but "Limerick to Boogers?"

Anyway, it is really cold. I honestly can't remember the last time we hit February and there wasn't a single Schneestolz or Schneeglöggli or Crocus up. A few things are just barely peeping up.

These bottom sprouts are yellow because the girls raked the yard three weeks ago when we had a brief warm spell and the snow melted. That's how little sun we've had since then! Three weeks they've had. I had to turn the flash off on the camera. It's so grey, it kept trying to flash. That was at 10:30 this morning, not twilight or something.
The middle ones are daffodils. I wonder if they will make it up by Easter. Only we like a wee bit o' flowery stuff with our annual Pagan Reproduction Day celebrations. >:]

If I make peace with the boogers, will we have to sign a Nasal Treaty, do you think?
(Sorry. I needed the laugh.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not Dead, Just Hibernating

I'm running a little behind. And the photographs are in exactly the wrong order; sorry about that. They are mostly self-explanatory, at least.
From bottom:
1) Mandarinli ('Mandy') in the Weihnachtsbaum
2) Mandy in the tree, attacking a chocolate mouse
3) Peppercorn, trying to blend in, failing to blend in
4) Offspring, making annual Snow Goon
5) View from office window
6) Peppercorn, fishing.

Now! This is a writing blog, right?
I have stopped submitting anything temporarily. I am a strange sort of mental lummox, and can't seem to remember that the important thing is the writing bit and not the getting published bit, so I am not submitting before summer, just writing. Writing writing writing. At the moment I am only writing crap, but at least I am writing. I can't seem to remember how, can't seem to open that vein at the moment, and can't tell if I'm trying too hard or not trying hard enough. This leads to desperately boring activities such as writing a list of the items on my desk. I don't dare write about any of the characters in any of my half finished stories, because they are all against me anyway and won't cooperate.
My mind even goes blank when faced with EE's engaging cartoonery. Of course, it's always possible that Evil has installed a mind-suck virus to dupe the minions he lures onto that page- I wouldn't put it past him, but I'm blaming the whole thing on


which I hate.
The mere fact that setting all my manuscripts on fire would produce heat is an almost unbearable temptation.