Posted in Today's File, Writing

Tweet Translations in the Pumpkin Patch: A Writer’s Life After Midnight

OR… Znalazłeś rozwiązanie?

Let it not be said that reclusive writers have no social life. The world is at my fingertips these days, even when I’m curled up in bed. I will confess that my physical geography has been exceedingly limited since my seasonal summer-job ended last month. We live out in the country with a single car (and zip for extra gas-money) and the bit of income I do make happens entirely at my keyboard.

Plus, I tend to go into hibernation-mode when the weather gets cold (it hasn’t snowed on us yet, but we still had frost at 10 this morning), and I’m perfectly happy to wake in the morning and consult my calendar to find there’s nowhere I have to go today. Which is, in fact, the case on most days. I’m not sure why I keep a calendar–except, perhaps, for the daily opportunity to cheer at its vacancy.

This could be YOU, Suzy... (photo from

Somehow, though, it still comes as a startling realization to me that I’ve rarely left the house these last two months. I don’t FEEL as if I’ve been “shut-in,” and that’s probably due to the fact that I’ve been engaging with other people the whole time. I HATE the telephone, but I’m “plugged in” around the clock with Facebook, Twitter, and this kick-ass community of writers online. Oh, yeah–and the new “boss” on IM, sending me the day’s freelance assignment every a.m. Kinda like opening a fortune cookie every morning to find out what off-the-wall topic I need to learn write about today. The flavor of the day is… “Dog costumes“!?

Suzy-cat is giving me one of those “don’t-you-dare” glares, though I’m sure she’d look lovely as a pumpkin…

I used to turn into a pumpkin myself by midnight–or at least become as useless as one–but that’s another change with the freedom of my unstructured days. I give myself permission to disregard the clock, because it’s not going to scream at me in the morning. Which is how it came about, in the wee hours of this morning, that I was fiddling around with a free graphing-app on my iPad, and discovering yet again the joys of personal networking.

Our son's Pumpkin Pie... Probably a better "morale booster" than the graph-kind...

I really had a simple little idea in mind–a pie-chart I could update through November to boost my morale during NaNoWriMo that Extreme Writing Event about which I’ve pledged not to blog, by charting my word-count-progress. Couldn’t figure out the stupid simple app, though, so I went to the developer website for help… and discovered it’s written in Polish. Amused at my own expense (as I so often am), I Tweeted the joke on myself, proposing that I needed a translator-app to decipher my graphing-app… and went back to playing with my pie.

A few minutes later a fellow writer in my network pinged me: “I speak Polish–need help?

Now how cool is THAT?

I had, in the meantime, succeeded in my struggles with the pie-chart (“easy as pie,” ha!) but I WAS curious about the meaning of the cut-and-paste question I’d included in my Tweet–a pair of words with more consonants than vowels (because when God divided up languages at Babel, Hawai’ians evidently got all the vowels & Poles got the consonants), the meaning of which I had no earthly idea. I hoped I hadn’t just spammed my fifty-five followers with some Slavic profanity…

Got translation?

I could almost hear her laugh (though I’ve never met her) when the reply rang in: “Yeah, it means ‘Did you find a solution?‘”

I DID, thank you. Though in the most unexpected of quarters. And THAT, in a pumpkin-shell, is life’s little lesson in the wee hours: you never know along which vine the answer might arrive, but there are Answers out there if you stay connected. The Great Pumpkin has a sense of humor. As any gourd God would have to, putting up with the likes of me.

"Did you find a solution?"


I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

35 thoughts on “Tweet Translations in the Pumpkin Patch: A Writer’s Life After Midnight

  1. Sounds like a great network you have working for you. Me, I’m still struggling with whether to set up a Facebook page. Twitter is way down the road. I don’t know how you do it. WP and looking for work seem to be all I can handle.

    Love the blog by the way.


    1. Just speaking for myself… Those social-networking tools have worked best when I’m not taking myself too seriously “as a writer”–when I just revert to being ME…

      Twitter is a perfect example–I didn’t think I had a use for it until I came across a job I wanted, for which the client wanted someone with an existing Twitter following. I knew I wouldn’t drum up a useful Following in time for that gig, but figured I “maybe oughta” learn how after all. So I set up an account, looked for some good folks to Follow, spent a few weeks trying to think of Useful and Significant things to say… And then decided to-hell-with-it and just started Tweeting those goofy little things in the day that made me smile. Bam, I started getting “follows.” Dunno where they came from, but next time one of those Need-to-Tweet jobs comes along, I’ll be blessing their good humor in signing up for my prattle. ;) But as far as time-commitment (at least once I learned the ropes), that’s been negligible. When something makes me laugh, I have 140 characters in which to pass it on; even a write-and-rewrite maniac like myself can’t overcomplicate THAT. ;)

      FaceBook… I don’t spend a lot of time with it, really–my blogs auto-post there, so that’s my “contribution,” and I pop in to check on status of the far-away kids and my parents, drop a few notes, see if anyone has contacted me…

      And WordPress–this is where I’ve been concentrating my writing-for-ME time (not to be confused with whatever writing-for-pay oddities come my way)–which is why my Twitter auto-posts here, and my FB basically sends friends here, so I can maintain my little illusion that I’m not scattered all over the place. Interesting side-note, though–not unlike the Twitter (once I stopped trying to be “serious” about it) the WP blog has inadvertently become my go-to writing-sample for prospective clients. I confess I get a nervous tummy-tingle every time my stats tell me that someone has searched for my blog by name, but it seems to do the trick.

      And having said all that… The Main Thing is that I’m still having fun. Don’t know if any of that ramble is useful for you, but there it is! :)


      1. Thank you. It was VERY helpful. I have a lot of thinking do. I recently changed the tone of my blog. Like you said . . . don’t trying so hard to be a “writer.” I relate to the write / rewrite. I do it obsessively. Again, thank you.


  2. I am with you! It has been thoroughly enjoyable to communicate with others through writing. It’s much easier, at times, to be honest when using written communication. Blogging feels a bit like letter writing. And I agree with you about being yourself while writing. Madeleine L’Engle says the best stuff comes out when we are not being self-conscious. I certainly have found that to be true.


  3. Kana, I would love to read more of how you landed the freelance jobs. I’ve been struggling for a year to get them and just can’t seem to land any. Any hints, tricks of the trade you’d like to share?


    1. I stumbled across, which you can join at no cost and place 30 bids/month on the (hundreds of) jobs posted there. That’s where most of my odd-jobs have originated. The Freelancer site takes a percentage-cut of your earnings (and because they don’t want to lose their middle-man perks, they don’t want you to give out any contact info… Having said that, several prospective clients who first “saw me” there have searched for and found this blog, and contacted me here to do business with them directly). As for LANDING bids there–my only two “tricks” there are using correct writing in the bid itself (it’s ASTONISHING how much atrocious slaughter-of-language shows up in people’s bids) and letting my sense of humor have a little room to play (which at least makes a bid more noticeable among the many variations of “I want this job”)…

      I’ve also gotten a couple nibbles from the “Need a Writer?” tab I added to this blog… As I was saying to Miss Demure Restraint earlier, the blog itself has become a (very public) writing-sample, though that has never been its *intended* purpose… :)


    1. Money couldn’t buy this perpetual Grin on my face… Which is just as well, because I couldn’t afford a Grin if it came with a price tag. ;)


  4. That is so awesome!! Technology these days allow for some amazing connections to happen! By the way have you written any books? I have only been following you for a week and I love the way you write and how expressive you are! I would totally read a book written by you. Anyways keep up the wonderful blogs!


    1. Ask me that question after November–if NaNoWroMo hasn’t made me stick forks in my eyeballs, I may have written a book then. ;) But no, no published books as of this evening.
      Thank you for the Boost of your compliment as I prepare to “face off” with a First Novel! :)


  5. The world is now a global village- that is what the post tries to make me believe. An English speaking asking for help with translating a Polish webpage and finding it, and a Hindi speaker reading and commenting on all that is going on!
    Wish this technological revolution reaches all and that too soon! I am hopeful!
    I have recently been active on twitter and haven’t been very impressed. Will spend some more time to see if there is sth really cool with it. WordPress is my latest liking! thanks for your post!


  6. Pahahahahahahaha….so glad I got to be a part of this little foray. In the spirit of your graphing app’s instruction manual:

    Zycze Ci duzo szczescia i radoscia z Twoim zyciem, ale wydaje mi sie, ze juz znalazlas.

    “I wish you much luck/happiness and joy with your life, although it seems to me you’ve already found that.”



    1. Mahalo nui loa (many thanks) for your kokua (assistance)–and for my Big Grin at that absurd hour of the night. :) Sorry, my Hawai’ian (the language, that is) isn’t up for the full sentence, and my Hawai’ian (the husband, that is) isn’t up/awake for tutoring… Which is probably how Pidgin evolved… “Canna say da whole t’hing, Brah, so I wen’ halfs…” ;)


  7. I love Twitter! I had so much trouble with it before, but, by just giving up on ‘how’ I should use it and focusing on ‘having fun’ using it, I’ve discovered so much.
    The community is so ready to talk and help and guide and encourage that sometimes, as you say; there is no need to leave the house. I’m certainly not reclusive or hermit-like; I’m always, always talking to people and Facebook, Twitter and my blog help me do that.

    Rockin innit?

    Btw… pumpkin-cat? Fab idea! ^_^


  8. I never considered freelancing before reading this post . . . might think about it a bit now.

    And whoever dressed that cat up is waaaay braver than I am. My cats would beat the s@*# out of me if that tried that on them.


      1. And I’m laughing… Just this morning my auto”correct” messed up a comment I was leaving on another blog, and of course I didn’t catch till after I posted. *hastily posts a corrective message*

        And yes, you’ll notice I didn’t include a picture of MY cat in that get-up. Wouldn’t dare attempt it! ;)


  9. I really enjoyed reading this post this morning. It hit me where I live, out in the woods in the cold and rain. Thanks, Charley McKelvy


  10. It has to be said, your blog is always good entertainment value. I started out intending to comment that I could certainly make use of your kind Polish translator (my Polish family often send me missives that make no sense whatsoever when I resort to my dictionary!) but by the time I’d read and absorbed all the above comments I’d totally forgotten the purpose of my comment! Like I said, good allround value for money.


    1. Ha, some of my family’s missives come across in the same state–and those are (purportedly) written in English! ;) The gracious midnight translator is Emmie Mears (who commented above) in case you need her services.

      “My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them–by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents.” ~Bingley, in Pride & Prejudice :)


  11. Kana-I really love the humor in your posts. I especially liked your cartoon where the lady says that she got up and got to her computer and what more do you want? Great stuff. Makes my blog seem so deadly serious. I have to say that I’m really glad that we connected through our blogs. It’s really great fun to blog isn’t it? Well take care.


  12. Like restlessjo, by the time I got through the comments I’ve forgotten what I was going to comment on… I scrolled all the way back up to the top…

    Ah yes, something about your empty calendar is how I feel about an empty mailbox at work (although I love things in my personal electronic one) and how I vaguely remember being that person that could go at any hour, but I have long succumbed to teaching hours and can’t (or really shouldn’t and know better) go past 10 PM. Okay, I may stretch it to 10:30 once or twice a week, but 3 times and I’ll regret it. I kind of miss the spontaneity of not having to keep routine hours. For example, I remember in college I was up late and knowing my roommate had to get up super early, I baked fresh muffins for her at 4 AM, and I thought it was “fun.”


    1. I always felt that way about the blinking light on my PHONE at work… Usually took me at least an hour of doing-other-stuff before I could “work myself up” to dealing with the phone… I have some serious phone-phobia issues. ;)


  13. This IS awesome, and what I love so much about the community as well, there are so many nice people willing to help each other out – I love that! And of course, it makes the world a little bit smaller, proving that no matter what our race or creed, were all just people trying to live a good life!


  14. The Polish thing is exactly why I love Twitter writers. I’ve had people answer randomly obscure questions, or offer to help me with a purchase that I realised last-minute could only be shipped to the United States, or any number of things. The community is completely amazing.


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