koknishu: spring 1, #5

I think just the act of posting that last translation has made me dislike it.  I’m sending Spring I, #3 back to the drawing board.  Don’t look at it any more.  We’re moving on:


    the warbler
back in the branches
    of my plum tree,
singing in the spring
even as the snow falls

Japanese poetry often lacks a sense of “speaker”, due in part to the structure of the language itself.  Using “my” inserts a presence not expressly there in the original, but I find it shrinks and personalizes the scope of the poem.  “my plum tree” has a softer, smaller feel than “the plum tree”, pulling the scene of the poem into a familiar back yard, rather than a vague, open space-with-a-plum-tree.  Still not committed to the punctuation here–I played with dashes and different use of commas, even a colon, but nothing stuck, so I went with this one-comma version.

As always, comments and criticisms welcome!


kokinshu: spring 1, #3

In an effort a higher echelon of dorkdom (Nerdvana?), I have been devoting a portion of my free time to the translation of classical Japanese poetry.  The following tanka–a short poetic form which dominated Japanese culture for quite a long time–is from the Kokinshu, specifically the first book of spring verses.  I do not claim that it is perfect, or even necessarily done, but it is the first one I think I’ve gotten to the point of “decent”.

Here we go:


oh where
do the spring mists rise?
here in fair Yoshino,
in the mountains of Yoshino,
snow keeps coming down

I’m still a bit uncomfortable with the “oh where”, it’s a little melodramatic…  Thoughts, comments, and criticisms are welcome.

tin roof: rusted.

I am not even kidding when I tell you that I am watching this for research for a writing project:

kitty hawk: chapter 2 in review


At long last, we’re winding down the second chapter of Kitty Hawk.  I emailed Braden the scripts for the final two issues yesterday, so the end is solidly in sight.  The chapter turned out to be much longer than I expected–or at least, to take much longer to tell.  I had originally planned for it to be a quick, adventure-y episode to break up the larger plots and introduce some elements for later use, but it dragged out in the writing.  Reading it over, it’s not as slow or laborious as it felt in my head while we were putting it together, but the writing process definitely highlighted for me the drawbacks of our weekly micro-issue format.  Updating only once a week is a real hindrance, not only to audience-building, but to plotting and scripting as well.  It’s difficult to retain momentum and immediacy when you only need to be on stage once a week (also it encourages pacing breaks which are not the most sensical in the long run).

I still think there’s potential in the multi-page format, but it doesn’t outweigh the drawbacks of a weekly schedule.  If we’d had the resources to put out two issues a week, it might have been a different story, but four pages is definitely beyond our means right now.  Perhaps there will be more experiments in the future–and perhaps not.

The good news, for those of you who are still reading after all that paragraphy, is that we’ll be embracing a new format when we start chapter three, which will be not only more frequent in its updating, but more friendly for web reading.  At the same time, I plan on making a lot of changes to the plotting and pacing of the strip, making things a little more dynamic and giving the story more forward motion.

We’ll have more details over the next couple weeks, so stay tuned.  Excelsior!