Listen to Pilot Light

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Happy Birthday Caribbean Compass

Years ago, I think it was back around the time of Columbus, or perhaps earlier, I was a young sailor, learning the ins and outs of living on board an old wooden vessel in the Caribbean. Information of a practical sort, the kind needed by sailors who didn't have huge budgets, was scarce. We learned from books (those things on paper, kids, not ebooks) and each other, especially each others' mistakes. I was proud to be a stellar example of how to do things wrong and thus benefit my fellow sailors.

In 1995 CARIBBEAN COMPASS was launched to solve that problem, fill that need. That first year I started writing for them, turning my own misadventures into humorous and occasionally helpful information. I wrote a monthly column for them until 2001 when we moved to St. Martin. I wrote for them sporadically after that, but they survived, even thrived without me. And today they are celebrating their 20th birthday. I have a short piece in the issue along with many other people who contributed to making the publication happen. If you have any interest in the Caribbean, sailing, or life in general, check it out. Congratulations to Sally and Tom and fair winds.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Translation fun

I'm having fun working with translators, getting stories out in various languages. Part of the fun is the various people you get to interact with. A woman in Izmir is translating a short story into Turkish and another woman is translating that story into Romanian. One of the novels, THE INVENTION OF CLAY MCKENZIE is already available in Spanish (in print and ebook). Soon it will be available in Italian and French, and by the end of the year, in Portuguese.
The questions the translators have about the English used (some of the colloquial expressions and puns don't translate well and have to be written fresh in the new language to make sense) and about the places and people give me reason to rethink what I've written. How could it be clearer? Did I miss a chance to do something really interesting here? I'm not going to change anything in the stories now, but it's great food for thought when writing the next one.