Sunshine Abroad

The trials and rewards of French translation and beyond

Well, aren't you a tall drink of water in this lonely desert.

Why hello, dear readers. It's been a while. Life happened, of course.

But in the interim, I have written a thesis! Or, almost. Hello, 1 a.m., my faithful friend. You and I will be very close until deadline on the 31st.

Here's more news. You wanted that, right?

I'm going to Madagascar!

Yes, the island.

Yes, from the movie.

No, there will not be any penguins. There will be lemurs, though.

And I'm leaving a week from today. Well, technically from yesterday.

More to come soon when my brain resolidifies from the mush it has become. Until then, I'll leave you with this thought, from the exceptional documentary, "Jiro Dreams of Sushi":

Once you decide on your occupation . . . you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That's the secret of success . . . and is the key to being regarded honorably.

My friends. Dear readers. I love my work.

ALTA 2013 Review - The Big Things

ALTA members, it's official. Because of this month's conference, I have fallen madly and thoroughly in love with each and every one of you.  Let me count the ways in which we are awesome together:

  • We like comics. Graphic novels. BDs. There's a small niche group of us who are doggedly pushing this wonderful form of storytelling in front of mainstream American readers. And it's all beautiful.
  • We are poets. Even those of us who don't think so. We care about semantics, how words sound, how they look on the page, how they feel in our mouth, what they mean and how they mean it. I always say that I envy poets, but in reality, I am one. Just like the rest of you. 
  • We give each other leads. There's none of the backstabbing that tends to plague so many creative and competitive professions. Instead, we share information about residencies and programs, about grants and awards, about other conferences, about publishers and magazines, about what works and what doesn't. 
  • We laugh together about the strangest things. E.g. Cole Swensen: "I don't have a solution for that. Well, that's not true, I do have a solution, but it's not nearly as interesting as the problem, so we'll skip over it."
  • We have big ideas. "Translation is writing, not decoding." "Exaggerate the quirks of your characters." "Focus on how you can help." "These are my words, but not my thoughts." 
  • We have an idea, then we git 'er done. ELTNA didn't exist at 8am on Friday the 18th. By 5pm, it was officially founded, and launched eleven days later.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I can't wait to be an ALTAn (Altinian? Altese? Altite?) for many years to come.

How Do I Procrastinate?

Let me count the ways...

  1. Reading the New Yorker.
  2. Facebook.
  3. RSS blog feed.
  4. Funny things on the Internet.
  5. The Internet. Period.
  6. Singing along to the radio.
  7. Staring at a blank Word document.
  8. Staring at a French document I'm supposed to be translating.
  9. Reading all the novels I'm currently enthralled in.
  10. Eating yogurt and kettlecorn and fruit and hopefully not too many Reese's.
  11. Composing a blog post.


How do I deal with procrastination, let me count the ways:

  1. Standing up and stretching.
  2. Shutting down the Internet.
  3. Going for a quick walk.
  4. Making a to-do list to cross things off of.
  5. Feeling guilty that I'm not working.
  6. Doing laundry.
  7. Spreading out my workweek to fewer daytime hours, more evening and weekend hours. (It still averages 40-45 hours/week, or more.)
  8. Picking one of those long-term business tasks to work on (mostly marketing and grant applications).
  9. Composing a blog post.


Good. Now it's time for a walk.