The Original Japanese

by Mel Gilden

Time seems to drag along, and then suddenly many things will happen at once.

For one, I have been rewriting manga. This means the company sends me a Japanese comic book along with its English translation. But the translation was made by somebody for whom English was not their first language. My job is to make the clunky translation into conversational English. It's fun, and occasionally a challenge. There are three kinds of translations: The first is okay the way it is. The second needs a little help to make it seem more like colloquial English. The third is incomprehensible. I may have to read a sentence over and over again before it makes any sense at all, and then read it AGAIN before I can see how it fits into the story. I have no idea whether my edits are anything like what the original Japanese writer intended, but I do my best to be faithful.


Some things are, of course, untranslatable.

Netflix gives me a wonderful opportunity to see movies I'd like to see but don't necessarily want to purchase. Lately, I've been watching episodes of a current British TV show called Hustle. I started watching it because one of the stars is Robert Vaughn, who used to be The Man From U.N.C.L.E., but I kept watching it because it is so much fun. It is about a group of con people. Officially what they are doing is illegal, but they always chose a victim who deserves to be taken advantage of. And as they continue to remind us, "You can't cheat an honest man." Whatever. The show is lots of fun to watch, even when you're as confused as the victim of the con. It all comes clear in the end — for the viewer, anyway.

I've been visiting a weekly networking meeting run by Marc and Elaine Zicree. At these meetings I am generally able to trade business cards with a few people, and though no one has yet offered me money, I am hopeful. Networking sometimes give the illusion that something is happening with you career even when nothing is happening. For that alone it is useful. Sometimes encouragement is worth its weight in gold.

After months of trying, I think I have found an agent. She was recommended by a friend of mine and yesterday we had coffee together at a local Starbucks. Yes, she lives in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, as I do. I thought that might be a problem because most publishing goes on in New York City. But we seem to get along just fine, and she visits NYC every six weeks or so. I have a good feeling about this.

Also, after reading Dr. Big, she had many cogent and useful things to say about it. Her suggestions will mean a lot of work for me, but I believe when I'm done I will have a better book — or at least a book that is more likely to be purchased by some publisher.

It's been hot here lately, and I hate the heat. Thank goodness for air conditioning and glasses of cold water.