It’s just under 24 hours since I (kicking and screaming with reluctance) signed up with Facebook and was greeted with just over 1,000 emails from people asking to be my “friends” or congratulating me that I had finally seen the light, capitulated to the inevitable, and joined the biggest club on the planet with the lowest common denominator of any club on the planet. I know, that’s me being negative and what I ought to do is keep an open mind, give it a chance, see how it works out, etc. And I will do that (kicking and screaming with reluctance!)
All of this would hardly be worth mentioning if it hadn’t brought up something else, something that I also received a bunch of analog comments about (i.e. people actually spoke to me, I mean to my actual face!) You see, after spending 20 years living in Berlin and writing just about all my regular columns and some daring books in German I have a Stammpublikum, that is a hard core of regular fans who want to read and hear me in German. Dear Stammpublikum, honestly I have a lot sympathy for you. Those people who accuse me of leaving Berlin are talking out of their asses (not least because I own an apartment here and most of my stuff including an oversized wine cellar is here), but it is true that I have been writing more in English and rather less in German since New York became my second home. I know that many of you would have preferred for me to stick with German. If you urgently need a large dose of full-throttle Stuart Pigott in German, then please buy the current issue of Der Feinschmecker magazine (12/15) in which there is a big article by me about Berlin. There is also my regular column in FINE, and every two weeks I have a column in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. Indeed, this Sunday’s issue will contain the highlights of the year and that’s a must for German-speaking readers!
Why did I make the move to publishing e-books, in English? When, three years ago, I once again began spending a serious amount of time in places that my mother tongue is spoken I realized how much I had missed it, and how much easier it is for me to write in it. Most of my writer heroines and heroes wrote in English (Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Wolfgang Hilbig are important exceptions), and most of what I read is in English. I have a fluency in my mother tongue that extends from the last things I thought while writing this to my first memories and beyond all those things into the realm of imagination and dreams. This – and the technical possibilities for self-publishing on Kindle – made it possible to write ROCK STARS OF WINE AMERICA #2: AZ with MJK so fast that it came out just four days after the last events described in the book actually happened. Can you imagine how liberating that was? If not you might want to read the book. It is obtainable from the Kindle Store (just download the free Kindle app on your phone or tablet, then click on the link below):
There is also the simple fact that it is easier to write about english-speakers in their own language. ROCK STARS OF WINE AMERICA is a series of e-pamphlets that each explores the underground winemaking of one American state in-depth. It would have been absurd to publish this material first in German, and waiting to simultaneously publish a German-langauge edition alongside the original English-language one would have slowed me down by several months. That is not shooting from the hip, the American way of doing things that belongs to this project as much as the logo above and below this story. I am now considering an offer from a potential translator (who I got to know through Facebook – it is good for something) and we’ll see if this is a viable proposition. I will certainly have to pass on the costs to readers, so expect a $9,99 cover price instead of $4,99 for the English-language original. However, the more pressing question is if it can successfully be translated, for the tone is a special variation of American-English incorporating some English-English elements. There are numerous American literary and rock music associations, every one of which a German translator would have to “get”. So, dear Stammpublikum I’m investigating the possibilities, but making no promises I don’t know if I can keep. Tut mir leid!