You know when you’re first starting out writing you dream of people reading your work and being touched, even moved by it.
You know how books touched and moved you in your formative years and you long to have that kind of effect on other people.
Especially with children’s books, they can leave an impact that compare to no other books you might read in your life.
Yesterday I received an email from an eleven year old fan who must live in Australia because she referred to Wanting Mor by its Australia title: Jameela.
She thanked me for writing it and said how it really touched her heart. How she hadn’t enjoyed a book as much (actually she wrote ‘mush’–but I’m assuming that’s a typo) as that.
She said it had amazing feelings that made her want to hold onto it 24/7.
And most of all it made her think about how much she had compared to Jameela ‘who only had a cuple (sic) of items that would mean so much to her’ .
Oh her email made my heart melt!
How amazing to think that a girl living on the other side of the world, whom I’ve never met, has loved the story that emerged from my imagination so much. It makes every hardship, every struggle and every disappointment along the way worth while.
And then there’s my Japanese translator, a lovely lady named Sumiko Moriuchi.
She also loved Wanting Mor and ever so diligently made it accessible to readers in a language I can’t even read!
She was kind enough to send me a copy which she signed, and I opened up the book and looked at the Japanese characters, up and down the page, marvelling at the thought that these unfamiliar words represented my story!
And like Vanessa Trevisani (the Italian lady I mentioned in my previous post), Sumiko Moriuchi (don’t both their names sound so musical!!!) had lots of questions for me about Wanting Mor.
I have a confession to make.
There are a few cultures that I’ve always been in awe of.
Actually come to think of it, there are many cultures (native, Italian, Chinese, Arabian, Afghan, African…) I’ve been in awe of, and Japanese culture is definitely one of them!
When I was in grade five our teacher taught us about Japanese culture. We learned about origami, kimonos and the delicate way they’d present their food so that it looked as good as it tasted. Someone brought in a Japanese doll in a little glass case complete with those white socks on her foot and sandal/clogs and sticks in her hair with little dangly things that moved when the case was passed from hand to hand. She had that stylized pose with her head tilted to one side gracefully and oh, she was so cute in her red kimono with Japanese garden motifs complete with little bridges over lily ponds.
And it just seemed so cool!
I never tasted any Japanese food at the time.
Didn’t get my first taste of sushi till I was in my thirties and it was my Jewish friend who introduced me to it.
Now if I haven’t had any sushi for a while, I begin to crave it. Something about the mixture of soy sauce, wasabi and shaved ginger pieces sends my mouth into watering over load!
Even to be corresponding with Ms. Moriuchi about translating my story into Japanese was a thrill!
The funniest thing was at the end of all her questions for Wanting Mor, Ms. Moriuchi asked me how to make the Afghan rice pilaf that they served at the wedding of Jameela’s father. The pilaf with the carrots and almonds and raisins in it.
I knew vaguely, but to be sure I asked my daughter who’se married to my Afghan son in law, then relayed the instructions to Ms. Moriuchi. She made it and apparently it came out wonderfully.
Then she went a step further, and got hold of a copy of Big Red Lollipop, and brought it to the attention of the same publisher that took on Wanting Mor. I thought Wow!
When that same publisher commissioned Ms. Moriuchi to translate Big Red Lollipop into Japanese, Ms. Moriuchi went out and ordered a box of red and green lollipops.
When she gets stuck and is searching for the right word in English, she takes out a big red or green lollipop and licks it slowly (and probably ever so thoughtfully)!
I find the image of her doing so utterly charming!!!!