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Blog: On Health. On Writing. On Life. On Everything.

Writing Always – But In Which Language?

April 23, 2011

Tags: order, Americanized, Bavaria, China, cross stitching, English, European Natural Medicine, German, Hamburg, immigrant, language, mother tongue, Natural Medicine, novel, obsession, Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897), Sebastian Kneipp - Water Doctor, translation, writing, Writing Always – But In Which Language?

A few years ago I tried to translate my novel “Sebastian Kneipp, Water Doctor” into German – and I failed badly.

No surprise there: I have been living in the United States for so many years – sure, immigrants lose their mother tongue after a while!

That translation effort - I still remember it vividly: At that time I was probably at the 68th of the book. When I tried to translate it, it sounded awful: trite, shallow, stupid – you get the idea. I gave up on the translation with the feeling that I had lost my sense of “getting it” in German. Somebody else would have to do the job. I had become thoroughly Americanized, and was content with it – when I had decided to immigrate, that was what I expected, wasn’t it?

So, the problem was not that I had lost my mother tongue. The problem was that the 68th English version was not yet as good as the 83rd ...

Forward a few years: Last fall the novel was published - the 83rd version. Several German friends had read the English version of the novel and thought it would be a good idea to bring it out in German. I always said no, knowing I couldn’t do it. Then, recently, I had done a translation of a scientific text into German without difficulties.

Somehow, having successfully finished that translation must have worked inside me. As it happens so often with my projects that start on an unconscious level, one day I just sat down at my computer and began translating again. And this time, I liked the results – there was a voice, there was a language. Words came up from the past – I didn’t even know I knew them. As a youngster, I had had tuberculosis and spent a year in a sanatorium, in Bavaria (being from Hamburg originally) – you who have read the novel know that somehow my story made it into the book. Those old Bavarian words resurfaced when I needed them because Sebastian Kneipp (1821 to 1897) was a Bavarian – and he was the founder of modern Natural Medicine.

It will take me about half a year to translate the novel. But now I am hooked – I am working on it obsessively now. My husband claims I do everything obsessively, and it is true: I put the same obsession in when I had my cross stitch phase – stacks of hand towels and napkins at my friends’ houses still bear witness! I’d say that everything that is worth being done, is worth being done obsessively, immoderately, and well.

Of course, the translation takes me away from a few other projects I have cooking – like my next novel set in 16th century China. But it makes me very happy because I have not lost my mother tongue, after all.

Masaru Emoto: Praying For Water

March 31, 2011

Tags: water, anger, Armageddon, atomic industry, attention, celebrities, Charlie Sheen, children’s children, consumption, disappointment, distraction, emotions - negative, Earth, earthquake, Emoto - Masaru, English, Europe, Fukushima Nuclear Plant, Gaia, happiness for all, high blood pressure, Japan, Japanese, justice, love, Masaru Emoto - Praying For Water, “Messages from Water”, nuclear forces, order, poet, poetry, power plants, prayer, radio, reactor accident, reactor - leaking, science, scientist, survival, tsunami, Universe, wanting ever more

Masaru Emoto has invited everybody to pray for the sickened water at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan, at noon today. Here are the words he suggests:

"The water of Fukushima Nuclear Plant, we are sorry to make you suffer. Please forgive us. We thank you, and we love you."

Even if you come too late today, it is never too late to send loving thoughts to suffering people and to the violated Earth. Prayer lowers blood pressure by making you one with everything around you. When we get upset or feel anger, disappointment, and so on, these negative emotions stand between us and the world. When we pray, we step back into the web of beings in this Universe.

Masaru Emoto has been, for many years, fighting to keep water and our mother planet healthy, and I admire him for this. As a fellow water fighter I do stretch out my hand to him.

However, I wish he wouldn’t call himself a scientist and what he does science. In reality, his beautiful photos in “Messages from Water” are poetry, and they would not lose anything of their power if he would call himself a poet. Water does not speak Japanese, nor English.

Water, however, and our whole ancient Gaia planet, needs all our attention and love so that we all and our children and our children’s children will survive. The Japanese reactor accident has made clear again that we humans cannot contain the nuclear forces we unleash with every newly built atomic power plant. The discussion in Europe about this is fierce – and surely comes down on the side of dismantling existing power plants and not to build new ones. While we here are still distracted by Charlie Sheen, and the like.

I am sick and tired of the old arguments of the atomic industry. One woman on the radio said that it was not the fault of the reactor – “the reactor was fine” – but it was the tsunami that did it in. Well, we humans don’t control earthquakes and tsunamis, and ANY leaking reactor forces Armageddon on the people in its vicinity, and perhaps on all of us.

We can use wind and sun, and we can live closer to the land and less over the top. We can make justice and happiness for all a priority, instead of consumption and celebrities and wanting ever more. For all that I am sending my prayers to Fukushima today.
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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