order of oddfish cover

The Order of Oddfish

cap

I’m in the Mississippi Delta!

March 15, 2012

March 9 was my birthday. That makes me thirty-nine years old now. When I was a kid—say nine years old—what did I think I’d be like when I was thirty-nine? Honestly, I don’t remember. But I never suspected how happy it would make me when Heather and I had kids. I mean, I knew I’d be happy, but I’m unreasonably happy. There’s Lucy and me to the left, when she painted both our faces. And of course Heather and Ingrid to the right.

But right now I’m about 700 miles from them all! On Wednesday morning I jumped in the car and drove 12 hours, from Chicago to Indianola, Mississippi. Why? Because on Thursday I’m appearing at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center as part of their “Spring Fling” program. I’ll be doing theatrical readings from The Order of Odd-Fish and leading a “Dome of Doom” writing hootenanny / costumed dance party freakout. Then on Friday I’ll do the same thing at the Drew Public Library in Drew, MS.

I’ve been visiting a lot of schools and libraries this spring. If I’m lucky, sometimes the students I speak to give me Order of Odd-Fish fan art like this one below from Alyssa. It’s of Sefino in full butler mode. Great job, Alyssa!

ITEM! Remember how the German translation of The Order of Odd-Fish came out last October? It’s called Der Orden der Seltsamen Sonderlinge (that literally translates as “The Order of Weird Nerds”) and it’s been fun reading the reviews. I can’t read German, so I just use Google translate, which comes out rather nuttier than perhaps intended. I loved this positive review from nahaufnahmen.ch, in which the reviewer has one reservation. Google Translate, take it away:

“The only thing that gives reason to frown, the author of the affinity for cats, or better, dead cats. Again and again it is important that kittens should be murdered or to have a villain, the blood of cats.”

Well, that’s a pretty fair assessment, actually. Here are other Google-translated German reviews from literaturemarkt.info and media-mania.de).

Speaking of the German edition: Sondra Eklund of the book blog Sonderbooks (who’d written a great review of Odd-Fish here) has started a strange and fascinating project: a line-by-line comparison of the English and German versions of Odd-Fish! This is intense. In each installment, Sondra unearths new delightful German phrases for us to learn while reading along in the book. Here’s the first installment, the second installment, the
third installment, and the fourth installment. Each Sunday she adds a new episode.

Click over to learn marvelous words like “Flusskrebs” (crawdad), “Schaltern und Schiebereglern” (dials and switches), or “Papperlapapp” (balderdash). Papperlapapp! Delicious. In some places the translator, Wolfgang Thon, even outdoes the original text: “dangerous companion” translates to “Gefährlichen Gefährtin,” and Sondra says “this is a case where the translation trumps the original by at least ten points.” I have to agree, that’s a lovely and quite Odd-Fishian phrase. But the best part is the discovery that the Belgian Prankster is translated as “der Belgische Scherzkeks.” Which basically “Belgian joke-cookie.” BELGIAN JOKE-COOKIE! I love it. Thanks for doing this, Sondra!

OK, I’ve been driving for 12 hours and I need to sleep before tomorrow’s hoo-hah. Good night!