In Love with Sherlock (My 2015 InCoWriMo 8 of 28)

 

Dear M,

Greetings from Australia. Do you watch much TV? These days I have been a faithful viewer of Sherlock, the immensely popular BBC series that is now filming its Season 4 in England. Here in Australia we only started Season 1 at the beginning of this year, but I am already hooked.

I have always been fascinated by the idea of Time. It started out as a vague awareness, when I began to read bilingually, of the difference between the publishing time of an English-language book and that of its Chinese edition. Take the Harry Potter books as an example. When all the kids and their parents were waiting patiently outside bookstores across the English world for the sales of the books to begin, such frenzy did not reach the Chinese world until several months or even more than a year later, when the books were finally translated into Chinese. Even the Chinese media did not report much on the stunning popularity of these books in the West, for they knew it would not make much sense to most of the Chinese audience who do not read English.

Things are a little bit better now. Publishers in the Chinese world have learned to grab the Traditional or Simplified Chinese rights ahead of schedule, at international book fairs and through all sorts of literary agencies, so that when the English-language books are published, their Chinese editions are not far behind. For example, when the authorized biography of Steve Jobs was published in October 2011, the publisher of its Traditional Chinese edition somehow managed to have purchased the rights half a year earlier. Their three translators worked desperately for four months to enable the Traditional Chinese edition to be launched in Taiwan on the same day as the English original came out. It was truly a ground-breaking effort. As for the Simplified Chinese edition, its publisher in China simply picked the easy way and converted everything from the Traditional Chinese edition.

Still, Time is fascinating because, even though you get to read a book years after everybody else has read and talked about it, to you it is still the first time. It is still like the first time you fall in love, when everything is new and colorful, full of endless sweetness and unnecessary sorrow, mixed with a bit of jealousy and doubt, but mainly a sense of awe and wonder. You feel forever young. The memory is etched deep in your mind, and the love lasts forever.

In recent months I had a chance to watch the five Twilight movies, as well as the three Stieg Larssen films in Swedish. I also got to read David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time. People have long consumed these works and repeatedly debated about them, but the same fascination about Time always exists, so much so that I still fully immersed myself in them. Now I feel I am in love with Sherlock Holmes, in English, in a audio-visual way – and it is a love that is completely different from what I felt reading the Chinese editions of Sir Conan Doyle’s books some 30 years ago!

Perhaps my next InCoWriMo letter should be to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), demanding them – begging them, on my knees! – to start showing Season 2 of Sherlock as soon as possible. What else can you do when you are lovesick?

Sincerely Yours,

C.

 

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