Progress report

I've just spent the past few hours chasing translation job leads and remaking my AbraPalabra Translations page. I'm going to push this business -- it's been a lot more lucrative to me, dollar-per-hour, that the writing, though not half so satisfying. So, if you're in the market for a translator, or know someone who is, please keep me in mind.

In writing, meanwhile, I've also been busy. Monday I sent off a little essay that was really fun. It will be the introduction to the inaugural issue of a new English-language journal devoted to Turkish literature. Now why am I, a specialist in Latin American society and culture, writing about Turkish literature? Funny you should ask.

You see, in the course of writing my novel about 15th century Constantinople and the Ottomans who were besieging it, I came across a manuscript in pencil titled "Mihri Khatun, A Turkish Poetess of the 15th Century," by the Russian scholar Nicholas N. Martinovitch (1883-1954) in the Special Collections Office of the New York Public Library, along with other papers and glass slides of this multilingual cultural historian. It was such a charming and erudite little book, and Martinovitch had struggled for so long, and so unsuccessfully, to get it published, that I thought it should not remain ignored. I had a copy made and offered it to historians of Turkey, and now it is coming out in the new Journal of Turkish Literature, edited by the distinguished professor of Turkish literature Talat Sait Halman in Bilkent University in Ankara. And Prof. Halman asked me to write the introduction. I am delighted, and so would be Martinovitch, though it has been half a century since his death and about 400 years since the death of his subject, the "Turkish, Moslem, beautiful woman of a good, religious family, who remained unmarried, was highly educated, unusually for the time, took part openly in serious discussions with her countrymen, was the author of scientific works and, moreover, was a famous, prominent, distinguished poetess."

Other little projects include my articles for Monster.com, for Hispanics/Latinos looking to improve their careers. I just sent in my fourth one on Tuesday, but the only one up so far is the 1st, about dealing with the psychological stresses of immigration. And of course I'm still working away on that big book on Latin American architecture and urbanism, right now focusing on the Classic Maya of the 8th-10th centuries AD. It's fascinating. I'll tell you more soon.