Posts Tagged ‘translating’

Fixing sidewalks, and a day of poetry

pleo nuzzling olpc
Originally uploaded by Liz.

Moomin and I woke up late but I am superefficient in the morning and I got him to choir on time, laying out his clothes for him to get dressed before he got out of bed into the cold to eat his cereal. I drove him the 2 blocks to school, not able to deal with the thought of my cold fingers on the wheelchair rims at 7:30 in the morning.

Then I worked for a bit just to fix a few little problems. I will do Real Job ™ work more seriously tomorrow. Today was for me.

I got all fired up over Caltrans and the ADA and started this Flickr group, “Inaccessible!”.

A blog for photos of inaccessible places and spaces. Ever been frustrated at lack of wheelchair access, insane potholes in the sidewalk, stairs, badly configured bathrooms too small for wheelchairs, badly placed handrails, elevator buttons too high for you to reach? Snap a photo, label the place as clearly as possible, and explain why it is a barrier.

My hope is that this group will be useful to building owners and people who want to make their environment more accessible. It also helps those of us with disabilities to express our frustration and to record daily encounters with barriers to access. Documenting the problems may also help us to follow through and try to get those problems fixed by the people responsible for them.

and wrote this: Caltrans evades responsibility for sidewalk ramps.

And then olivia_circe came over and we worked for NINE AND A HALF HOURS on organizing and submitting my poetry and translations to journals. I am so grateful. It is a huge weight off my mind to know that I’m plowing through all that built up work of 10 years or so. (The years before that, I mostly don’t like the poems enough any more to send them out.)

I’m learning from this that it is hard work to send out stuff. It is not just some mental block I have or some self destructive, self sabotaging impulse. It’s a lot of work! Two fairly smart efficient people spent almost 20 person-hours just now to get that shit together! And it is only the very tip of the iceberg.

We are putting all the information into my private wiki. First there is finding places that I want to send stuff to. Then figuring out what to send. Then looking up guidelines and reformatting and putting together the work according to those guidelines. Then often a bio for me and if it’s a translation, for the original author. Then on top of that they often want an introduction written, or something about the translation process. THEN… a cover letter. (Which I keep as short and to the point as I can with no sucking-up or bullshit in it.) Then email in whatever file format they want or print and snail mail. So, a lot of work. We sent 6 submissions out, queried 5 other places, and set up framework for a lot of other stuff. I have been dumping originals and translations into an author page, and then olivia_circe has been going in and gardening out the individual poems into their own pages. Then, lists of journals and guidelines and deadlines, interlinks, a master list of submissions (or as I now like to call them after one feminist journal’s explanations of the evils of submission, “offerings”), pages on individual authors, sample query and cover letters, ALL THAT.

So, if it took us 20 hours to do 6 submissions it is no wonder I have barely done 4 or 5 submissions a year.

It feels so good and right to be doing this!

I am astonished as I see the enormous pile of work that I have done, and that I get no real-world respect or credit for having done and that almost no one sees. Holy crap. I need to get it out there. Seriously, people.

Plus, olivia_circe is fun to hang out with.

I picked up Moomin and looked at his schoolwork, got him a snack, etc. We talked about his Math-athon and about Abraham Lincoln, he read some Spiderman DVD comics, and went outside for a while. I fed him and Nukie pizza while they did whatever it is they do in his back yard in the half-torn-down and gutted garage building and their piles of rocks and treasure.

Then I went off into mad poety talk over here for National Poetry Month’s beginning and wrote a bit about one of my favorite poets that I’ve been translating for a while. I wrote about why I like him and his work and why I feel a certain kinship and understanding.

Moomin and I wrote some emails together to family and then I read him more of Farmer Boy, we looked at the globe and talked about geography and history and politics and travel, railroads, race, Native Americans, the early U.S., and so on. I will say more about that tomorrow but for now I need to STOP TYPING.

I walked well most of the day, but towards the end began to squeak and freeze up every time I had to go from sitting to standing or vice versa. By 8pm I could not walk much any more and I am back in the wheelchair in the house. But, am doing just fine. I will go to work in the morning tomorrow and then come home to rest. Zond-7’s nephew who has moved here without a lot of support or backup or anything, needs a place to stay for a bit and he called me today to ask if he can stay here. It would work out well for me not to be alone all week and he is a lovely house guest and does not make work for me and sweetly offers to do errands.

Okay, bath and and a book and bed. I don’t have any April Fool things planned. My head is just in another sort of space at the moment.

Earth Logic middle, coming down with a cold

It gives me peculiar satisfaction that the fantasy heroes in this book sit around interpreting and translating poetry all day long.

The confusing bits of this book leave me a bit more confused, or that could be the cold and fuzzy-headedness.

Also I am cranky as hell and wish very much for complete peace and quiet.

Bending over wasn’t too hard today. I did the laundry and walked around a fair bit without lurching.

Oh, yesterday in the airport I acheived the stationary wheelie! I could do moving ones, and then have been getting closer and closer, getting into a sort of pendulum rocking motion to stay in place, and suddenly by the baggage claim I got the trick of staying still. Repeated it a few times, but I don’t feel mastery of it yet.

It has been hard to get back into work today, and at 4 or so I stopped reading all the back emails and wiki pages and rested, ate soup, and read my book. Oh and also I lost my voice almost completely. Mercifully I didn’t get sick until *after* the con… though work is piling up alarmingly.

To the theraflu! stat! maybe if I go to bed at 9pm!

Why why why did I ship Water Logic? Why???

a translation finally out

I translated a short book of poetry about 6 years ago, and it just came out. It’s not as fancy as I thought it would be and I only have a tiny credit for it. And the book is even more super-small-press than I thought. And my translation of the preface never got put in. AND the format of the translations are more like footnotes, so all the effort I put in… ugh! But at least it’s out and now I am over the pages required to apply for an N3A grant as a translator. Prof. F. warned me years after I had already done the project that the person was maybe a bit… sketchy… and not respected as a poet. I now know what she means, and yet I liked the poems and had a nice time translating them. I would have been much more excited to see it with all its flaws 6 years ago or even 5.

Cramps and poetry

Today I was writhing in pain in bed, with the nastiest worst cramps and most sudden-onset gusher of a period, ever. It started abruptly in mid-morning and by 4pm I think my entire uterus had turned liquid and fallen out. I was finally able to get up for real and eat something around 2. Somehow until then I kept Moomin amused, or he kept himself amused. The batcomputer came in for heavy use. He wrote some thank-you notes with only minor spelling help (“guess” and “laugh”).

Since christmas day itself I’ve also been in pain from my toes, fingers, and knees, typical winter joint pain for me, but until now I thought I had escaped that hell! Dammit! What happened! It can’t be the rain because it rained a lot this fall and nothing bad hit me.

Anyway, worst cramps ever, and mostly i just lay in bed groaning quietly on a heating pad and trying to distract myself by reading book after book.

On the other hand….

The last few days have been good for poetry-writing and translating.

I’m in this pleasant haze of being around other people, parties, enjoying hanging out and getting to see everyone.

Last night it was nice to hang out with Caraja – book sale, writing in a cafe, nice korean food, and we watched some more animated star trek – which, as I remember how much I liked it when I was little and how intense I felt about the short stories, makes me feel extra happy. I was thinking how much I wanted to be Spock, and about my male-identifiedness and how misogynist i was as a little girl. I hated girls, girliness, and all i knew was, spock was the antidote, he was my hero. If I could be spock, or obviously spocklike, no one would mistake me as someone who would have those loathesome girly qualities. I went around talking about how emotions were stupid (including happiness).

I thought a bunch about blogging, and love, and relationships, and old girlfriends from college, and the ways that places take on personality and hold memory so intensely.

A moment this week in the rain when the streetcorner suddenly looked like I think it would 40 years from now in my memory — I could feel my future self there in the completely different place looking at a photograph or a memory of how it looked to me right at that minute. IN other words, my current reality looked old fashioned. It was like pre-nostalgia.

Poems are going on in me in response to reading lots of Carmen B3renguer and Maureen Owen while also deep into the “Women writers of the middle ages” book. B3renguer’s poem “Mala piel” is mindbreakingly broken, excellent and weird. She’s so verby!!!! I need to write her back but I’m feeling really shy about it.

Tomorrow I’ll pull it together to write some job-type things (assuming the cramps will let up.)

Rook’s reading “She-Hulk: Single Green Female” to Moomin in bed. Oh, a highlight of today was Moomin’s delight in some Chip & Dale cartoons. He was completely destroyed by them, rolling around on the couch helpless with laughter.

busy busy day

I spent all day translating stuff into final versions, good long random gossip with local librarian at lunch about kids’ books and sf, and then picked up kids, hung out on the playground, gossiped about NCLB and the school board and district policies, hung a little with Squid, talked about kid behavior, met up with The Hippie and Dragonboy, then to my house, snacks for kids, 5th grade homework, gossip, books, more snacks, making more food for kids, dressup, and interesting discussion of “playing spy”. It was fun to see them all.

Manny says Jo was fine, her anesthesiologist has her on all her correct meds and is aware of everything, all is well, and she is in surgery now.

Now I’m off the school board meeting. *whew*

Nice things that happened this week

I did a lot of complaining about the head injury and my jaw, so here are some of the nice things from this week:

– Moomin’s whale dance and all the dances in that performance

– Moomin drawing a cool complicated picture and enjoying it, instead of staring at the page and complaining that he doesn’t know how and that he wishes he could draw comic books

– Good long talk w/ Rook

– Hanging out with my sister

– Hanging with Jo while I wrote and she drew and the kids played nicely

– Went out to see The Fountain and liked it a lot despite cheesiness and some ugly racism and colonialism and general tormented-genius-white-guy-problems focus

– messing with my wiki install and structure, and discovering the wikichix

– Playing pinball with Shanana and singing punk rock songs at the top of our lungs in a bar – playing air hockey and galaga

– reading a book with the squirm-worthy title “When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit” and realizing it was fantastic

– Moomin’s different hip-hop dances that he made up to “Spiderman”, “Underdog”, and “He’s the Greatest Dancer”

– Getting Caraja’s novel draft over email and printing it out and feeling all excited

– last but not least getting email from the author I’m translating!!! with friendly permission to publish!

progress report on what the hell to do with myself

– sent out 3 batches of tr4nslation submissions.

– looked for places to send my own poems.

– sent out 2 query letters trying to find particular poets i am translating to ask for permission to publish/negotiate rights.

– wrote to N3A to ask about details unclear in guidelines. (I have a slim chance of qualifying, depending on what counts for their pagecount.) Realized there are other grants and i dont have to obsess on qualifying for this one.

– gathering info on all possible gr4nts. printing it out. making a timeline of when applications are due.

– making a binder of xeroxes or printouts of all my publications with the info attached to them. (so that i have it at hand for the qualifying-for-gr4nts process.)

Determining to apply for W1tter Bynn3r, P3N, 1CTW, and scholarship to an interesting workshop in Mexico.


Must not pin all hopes on getting some big-ass thing like this, but must do it anyway and have some hope and charge myself up for it.

Part of the thing that stops me from doing things like this is that I always feel the ghost of the temp job i *should* have. LIke, i cannot possibly spend time doing this process, or then, doing whatever results from it, because it is impractical, and instead, i should be working at anything to get a paycheck. Every day I spend on this is a day I’m not making money.


Can I go hide in a corner now?! Or must I use the next hour before picking up Moomin from school to work on one of these grant thingies? I feel like I’m going to fall to pieces just from contemplating it all.

to the library! poetry!

I’m off to the library to work on my talk for the conference next week. I need to do a bit more background reading so I feel comfortable. And I want a couple of quotes. And to do at least 2 more translations for my examples. Need to look up a couple of poems from Desolacion. Which when I went to look them up in a book i *thought* was my complete poems of mistral… weren’t there. Jeeez louise! All the most lesbonic ones (surprise!)

Have I mentioned that I am increasingly crushed-out on Langston Hughes, the more I read about him? You know… he’s kind of a dork. Always full of this sweet earnestness. I wish I had some recordings of him reading in Spanish.

I keep thinking about how he pitched Mistral. It seems very odd. He mystical world-mothered her, as she kind of did to herself and as many others did, but he also didn’t un-queer her, imho, deliberately, echoing the U.S. 50s queer reading of Sappho, not so much the 20s latin american suicidal heterosexual lovesick sappho. Still, I have these quibbles about context left out… especially poems that are mom-ish, and song-like, but that are directly engaged with modernismo – the princess one especially! to play with it… with the niña read as “muse” or “love” … right? Mistral doesn’t do what people like Ibarbourou or Borrero did, musifying a man or a god… she musifies children, so that to her art, she’s a powerful mother… Okay, I can talk about that, but what does it have to do with Hughes? I don’t know enough! Plus, I feel he did a bit of a rush job…( and with nameless assistant grad students!) … A good, a fantastic job… but he took his populist ideas about song and negritude and in a way, edited and translated mistral into that, but for women and motherhood. Which, actually, is very cool, but… he depoliticizes her. If she had translated him, and had mysticalled him up as a primal world-father… he’d be pissed.

My translating yesterday went really well. I got into the groove, and the spot, and the abyss: way down in there, hauling huge bags of language with me, and made some funky shit out of it. Played with C.B.’s weird regenderings of language. I think any way atall of translating this stuff will be wrongy wrongsterville, so, am slapping extra words in there like there’s no tomorrow to convey double meanings, and trying to break gender/grammar too.

The hardest thing is the way that her regendered nouns look like verbs to me, the body/action, woman as action-doing-speaking-body. Also, she is fantastically dirty and bold, and I have to go back over the poems, meditate on the dirty boldness, and then stare at my english versions, transposing. The bricks are there, and I have to pull them out, puzzle, stick them back in in different spots, without collapsing the whole wall, at this stage.

I started writing a new thing but then realized it was exactly the pattern of this june jordan poem and then i was damn pissed off. i might finish it anyway. But first i should finish the 3rd section of my long long homeric hymn.

muted but good

I think my blogging has been a little bit muted lately b/c of privacy issues and because what I am thinking about is so complicated it would take me forever to explain it. But at some point I’ll try.

Today I wrote a bunch, did some translating, collating of info, chatted with Quilter, messed with the school mailing lists sites, did the games club at Moomin’s school, and then played with him a bunch. Talked with Steely Razor – who lives down the block – and Moomin seemed to get along okay with her kids. I would predict he would get along with the more non-sporty one, but it’s hard to tell. How nice would that be if he had a couple of friends within walking distance?! We flew balsa wood airplanes at the park with great success. Ran into Squid & Iz, and a kid that I knew from park visits etc. several years ago. It was fun talking to Iz’s teachers – esp. the one with purple hair – she seemed like a lot of fun.

I ended up at ritual roasters, w/ C. and then we ran to Borderlands where I got the sequel to Touched by Venom. Yay! Can’t wait to read it!

“One Freak Show” was good, funny…. I’d seen several parts of it but they were new & extended longer (and still funny the 2nd time.) The stuffed animals at the beginning were fun… a little dog that identifies as a baby harp seal?! And then wrapping that up with the ending of being the velveteen rabbit loved into being real. I’m okay with that level of xtreme sappiness. Especially when mixed with tough butch dyke/transguy asskickitude. We got boob-taping & peeing standing up demos. The no-ho no-lo no-op balls to the wall thing, but with a beat – that worked well. And extended commentary on lgbtqqi. (And remember, in latin america you get an extra TT in there.) Also, jokes about lesbian processing and how we were all sex-radical strippers in the 90s will pretty much always be funny…. It was a good show and Lynnee’s high energy and silliness & sincerity were great – as always.

Also it made me totally hot when lynn ripped the duct tape off his chest. whoa! hot!!! sexAY!

ate at the new little star pizza on valencia – it was great – and uncrowded. actually i have to say (blasphemy) it’s better than zack’s pizza in the east bay.

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worky worky work!

I’ve been working super hard on things, especially translating and the encyclopedia article. The article is like 1 million times more work than i thought it would be. But it’s also fun; and I love the feeling of collaborating. It was also really hard but interesting & good to ask people to read the draft version and ask for their feedback.

Now I need about 4 library days in the next 2 weeks. at Stanford and at 24th and Mission.