Lost In Translation
I was happily minding my own business two days ago. I was not mining my subconscious for Great Ideas. I was not daydreaming, free-associating, brainstorming, or otherwise soliciting the Muses for inspiration. In fact, I was just working out what would be a nice secondary border to accompany those birds that are perching around the hem my current sweater. I didn't want a smaller version of what I had already done, nor did I want to reproduce some part of the previous combination.
That's when the Uninvited Idea barged in. I tried to get U.I. to lay back down quietly in the background. I asked it to wait its turn, hold on for a time when I was not already involved in active problem-solving. You see, the Uninvited Idea did not have anything to do with the secondary border issue I was trying to puzzle out, and while it was interesting, and even tempting to spend a little time with U.I., I did not see how it was going to get me any closer to solving my accent border conundrum. U.I. refused to listen to me, however, and went clattering around in my head, banging on the pots and pans I normally leave lying around the joint to catch inspiration drops as they fall (might need that later). U.I. pounded on the ceiling, demanding attention, until I had to sit down with graph paper and a pencil, of all things, to deal with it. Just a little attention, I reasoned, and the Uninvited Idea will quiet down and leave me alone. U.I. was too big to fit into the drawing program I usually use, so there I was, all low-techy with scribbles and paper, and kind of annoyed that I was not fixing my border problem. And that's when I realized that the Uninvited Idea WAS the fix for my border problem. All I had to do was translate a phrase from English to Norwegian.
I don't speak Norwegian. Not even the lyrics to Take On Me, which are in English. For that matter, I don't claim to have more than a feeble purchase on my native tongue. So I did what any technicious 21st-century doofus does and went Googling for a translation in the Internets. Trouble with the Internets is they don't always (ever?) agree on anything. The Norwegian equivalent to "pining", it turns out, is more like "wish". Which is not at all appropriate, according to the friend-of-a-friend-of a 14th cousin twice removed who was able to respond to my e-mailed plea for help. No, instead of "wish", I needed "yearn" or "long" since there is no such thing as "pining" in Norway (lucky buncha Scandinavians if you ask me). Okay, I reasoned, each step brought me closer to using the Uninvited Idea to resolve what had by this time grown from a little border problem to a full-blown Border Skirmish. And then there was the matter of the 3 or 4 other words in my phrase that had still to be addressed, in terms of gender, tense, and state of being. Did I mention that the only person I even sort-of know who can speak Norwegian was out of the country? Turns out she's in Norway, of all places.
With the help of my new friend-of-a, I think I have a reasonable adaptation (Like I would know if I didn't?). At the very least, I can feel confident that I used every single resource (sorry, everyone I called begging for information) at my disposal, and several that were not.
I think you will like the way it turned out, and I really wish I could do show and tell for you now. For the time being, I will leave you with this, and hope you like it when you see it in the book:
"Lengter etter fjordene"...