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Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Tuesday, 19 May 2009 in Uncategorized

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On Saturday the Mormon Church just down the street from us caught fire and burned.  My friend who lives next door---VERY close---was  in her kitchen at the time, and was ordered out by the fire chief, who said that her house was likely going to go.  It was the classic what-to-save situation. She said she looked around and realized that it was all "just stuff."  She took her laptop and her cell phone.

And she was lucky because her house is unscathed.  Eventually some salvaged valuables from the church were stored briefly in her house---but she said, "Lots of paintings of Jesus. I wonder if he felt comfortable in our Jewish household."  After a while Jesus was moved to the Friends Meeting House nearby and presumably will stay there---among friends--- for a while.

I have just come back from Dubuque, Iowa, a quick trip---a flight out there, a speech in the evening, and a flight home the next day.  But it was a nice time. A good crowd, interesting poeple and a lovely city.

Then, last night, here in Cambridge, a wonderful fund-raising event headed by writer Alice Hoffman, She does this almost every year, to raise money for the Hoffman Breast Center at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge. Alice was treated there for breast cancer some years ago, and now, in part because of her incredible fund-raising,  it is a world-class facility and has been a source of healing and hope for many, mnay women.

At each event, six writers read from their work, after a lovely cocktail/hors-doeuvres and followed by dessert and coffee.  Last night the authors were Elizabeth Berg, Sebastian Junger, Gregory Maguire, Claire Messud, Tom Perrotta, and Jennifer Weiner.  I did it one year and I can't remember all of the others that year, but I know two of them were Anna Quindlen and Alice McDermott, plus Debra Winger, who read from a friend's work.

I am packing today, and leaving tonight for a ten-day trip that will take me first to London and then to Africa.  Then a quick trip to LA when I get back, and after that to Maine, where I will settle in and work hard and without distracton on at least three separate projects.

And in the middle of the summer, in late July, am taking my two grandsons, 8 and almost-11,  on a week-long adventure.

OKay. Passport. Camera. Anti-malaria medication. Check. check. check.

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Comments

Guest
Dorothy Menosky Monday, 29 November 1999

Congratulations! You deserve it all. Fill your heart and mind with the accolades.

Guest
ojimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

I'm curious about how faithful works in translation are to the original. Umberto Eco mentions the difficulties of translations: "The problem frequently arises from the fact that translations are either 'source oriented' or 'target oriented.' the first trying to make the "B" language reader understand what the writer has thought and said, by bsically transliterating the text. And the the second trying to convey the meaning of the text by reshaping the text in the "B" language.
Poetry, perhaps, is the most elusive genre of literature to translate, mainly, I think because words are the seed of a poem and most words in a poem are pregnant with meaning, sometimes, merley echoing some whisper of a meaning.
I wonder if most authors worry about such things, or is it publishers who have to shoulder such burdens?
Cheers!

Guest
Lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

Yes, it is something an author wonders/ worries about. Once I had a letter from a German writer, bilingual, who simply wrote to tell me that she had read my book AUTUMN STREET in both English and German, and that it was a wonderful translation. I was pleased to hear that. But usually there is no way to know.
I took a course in Chinese poetry in graduate school, and was fascinated to see how sometimes two different translations of the same poem seemed to have no relationship to each other, no similarity. Words in Chinese can have several different meanings, and the poet uses them to evoke layers and resonances of meaning, but the translator of course is limited and often thwarted.

Guest
ojimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

I've a curious mind. The idea of reading the GIVER and the THE GATHERING BLUE in Spanish has now peeked my interest. Perhaps I'll give it a try.
I have read translations of Chinese poetry and have always felt like I have my nose against a glass, wanting to taste what's revealed/concealed behind it.

Guest
Lia Mejia Monday, 29 November 1999

I just want to say that I love your "The Giver" trilogy! :D I'm at the moment rereading them as a means to spend my time between classes at college. I was just wondering if you were ever going to consider writing a fourth book? :D Again, I love your books!

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