Not too long ago, I received an email from Dirk Schwieger in Germany. Dirk is a very longtime fan and friend of Beanworld. On his own, with a nod from me, he brokered a deal between Dark Horse & Ventil Verlag for a German language edition of Beanworld--or should I say Bohenwelt?
Ventil Verlag is small but cutting edge German publisher that focuses on pop theory, cultural studies & societal analysis.
As Dirk said when he first approached me:
"ventil has a soft spot for subcultures, they have read beanworld and have come to love it, and they are willing to spend their time and money for bringing it to german-speaking audiences (and into german, swiss and austrian book shops).
i have found a very helpful partner in crime in daniela seel of kookbooks, another german publisher specializing in cutting edge poetry, fiction and children's books. daniela is a respected poet, translator and editor, and she does an amazing job at bringing the sounds and metrics of the german version in line with the original.
So recently Dirk wrote:
"translation is finally completed but the 'canary bird' really broke my neck: on her first meeting with beanish, dreamishness talks about having heard "the canary bird laugh". i've gone through some lengths to investigate some kind of meaning into this, yet couldn't find anything but the possible allusion to a very high-pitched voice. is there some other kind of reference or motif i should know about?
My response was:
About the canary bird laugh.
It's something my Grandmother always ended every story with.
Instead of saying "And they lived happily ever after" she would end each tale with "And the canary bird laughed."
If you want to see the entire artifact: go here.
If you notice I dedicated TOTB #1 to her because she taught me how to "hear the canary bird laugh." So it's a happy chirpy, tweety, springtime song bird sound. A bit of private joke with my family.
These folks are my mother's parents: Larry & Laberda Post. For a while as a pre-schooler we lived with them and they were both very important people in my life. My grandfather , Larry, was in the printing business. He was a really great guy. He died when I was 11 and so I remember him a lot better than my sister or any of my cousins.
My grandmother pretty much got to see all her grandchildren grow into young adults.
Laberda (or Gran'ma Berda as I called her 'cuz I couldn't say her name when I was little) was a genuine character. She said and did the funniest things. Family gatherings can often become "Let's tell stories about Laberda" events. In my father's last days I reduced my mother to tears of laughter by repeating something her mother had always said.
It was a nonsense word.
My grandmother excelled at nonsense words and phrases.
She told stories about meeting the The Kitty & The Horsie and The Giant.
When she said "And the Canary Bird laughed" it meant "Story's over. Time for bed."
My love of storytelling comes from all over the place but I've placed the honor of my first and most important influence at the feet of my Gran'ma Berda.
Now I'm not the only professional storyteller amongst Laberda's grandchildren. My cousin, Janet Nolan (here with me above) writes children's books.
Picture books she calls them.
We're not just related.
We're great friends.
I'll let her intoduce herself to you:
If I found a bumper sticker that said “I break for good stories,” I would put it on my car. I love a good story I always have, and I’m not the least pick picky about what format the story comes in: television, movie, theater, or a song.
Though my favorite stories have always been in books. I consider a good book my ticket to travel – to a different time, place or reality. I love that books have the power to scare me, thrill me, make me laugh, and make me cry. And when I find that one book that educates me, challenges me, or opens me up to a new way of thinking, I believe I’ve found a gift.
My childhood was filled with gifts: The Boxcar Children, All-of-a-Kind Family, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and the Outsiders, which I have probably read ten times. Books were my foundation; they were my vitamins, my nutritious foods, and they exercised my brain in a way a classroom never could.
I started writing picture books about ten years ago. I wrote one story after another. Some were good, and some were not so good. It didn’t matter because I considered my early attempts at writing the artistic equivalent of singing in the shower, harmless but fun. But like anything, if you work hard at it, you usually improve.
My first book, The St. Patrick’s Day Shillelagh, came out a while ago. It tells the story of a boy who leaves Ireland during the Potato Famine and sails to America. On his way across the ocean, the boy whittles a branch from a black thorn tree into a shillelagh, which is a walking stick or cane. The shillelagh is passed down through the generations and its story told on St. Patrick’s Day of every year.
My second book, A Father’s Day Thank You, is a happy story about a little bear that does not know what to get his wonderful Papa Bear for Father’s Day. The little bear figures it out when he realizes the true meaning of saying “Thank you.”
So here are some details for the big birthday weekend. On Friday June 17th, Chris's movie will be shown in Livermore, CA, at the Vine Theater.
Saturday June 18th is the official birthday party, noon to 4:00 in the parking lot of firehouse #6 in Livermore (I think). I know there will be bands, balloons, food, speeches, press coverage, and a book signing by yours truly. It's no charge and all are welcome.