Finally I am the editor 

Corona-Bellver-Castle freedom-from-sub-editors | blog - Cecilie's PenAndWok.com

FINALLY! Tomorrow marks the launch of long-awaited MallorCAN Relish,MallorCAN Relish, an online magazine about all the great things about Mallorca, in which I am co editor! Yaoooooo! Be-bop-a lula! Yippeeeee! Etc. This is what I have always wanted.

I'm lucky! It all started with me getting a job as an interviewer and photographer in Olive Valley interviewer and photographer in Olive Valley, a website for Mallorca's business community. The Covid rigmarole/lockdown put something of a damper on that endeavour, but not before I had met John M at an Olive valley function. He asked me to write for a new online magazine he was starting. It was originally meant to be about catering, but then he thought: Catering? Why not cycling too? Why not restaurants? Why not local people who do stuff? 

Mallorca-dancers-salsa-cathedral- freedom-from-sub-editors | blog - Cecilie's PenAndWok.com

Yes! People who do stuff - excellent. They need support and encouragement. This was a dream come true, because in this magazine, no one would be messing with my writing, unlike in my former life in Hong Kong where I worked in English language South China Morning Post as a feature writer and columnist. That was a great job, a magnificent job but... well, let's just say that like many newspapers, the SCMP had this policy where sub editors had to insert their own stuff. And the sub editors were often Indian. They would take my best jokes and puns, and make them look like the minutes of a meeting of chartered accountants. 

That was bad enough, but at least the original meaning was legible. What was far worse was when they took a sentence and changed it to what they thought it ought to be, rendering the whole story meaningless. 

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Saxophone Uncle in Hainan

The worst thing they ever did to me, yes ME! for I take my writing personally,  was a column about Hainan Island off the Chinese coast. It was about how one should never procrastinate, and was published one JULY. Here is the original:

“I can see you have a lot of dental experience” the dentist remarked as he slammed the metre-long injection needle into my jaw and punched it home. I was having my fourth mouth operation as punishment for procrastination.

 Yes, it turned out to be every six months you should go see the dentist, not every six years. The consequence of my arrogant laziness (and to be honest not a little fear, but how was I to know that dentists no longer drill with a foot pedal-driven wheel and stick you in the arm with an awl to distract you from the pain?) was that I had developed Gum-Something-Itis and had to have my tooth roots scraped off with a sharp instrument, down to the jaw.

 It was bitter to pay so many thousands just to be in pain and unable to eat, but at least I learnt that procrastination never, ever works.

 I had just started the extensive mouth work last Christmas when my friend A and I went on a dignified rampage around Hainan Island. Every time A (a famous shopping procrastinator) saw something he thought he might like to maybe buy one day “but we can get it on the way back or tomorrow,” I shouted out: No! Get it NOW! There may not be a tomorrow!

 In charming Sanya on the southern coast we headed straight for the beach where under the palm trees we found dozens of musicians playing the erhu and other traditional Chinese instruments, belting out the revolutionary songs of their youth.

 One group interested me in particular; a band of old men and women playing saxophones and clarinets. Their saxophone teacher, Mister Wang, was there, 85 years old and nimble-fingered like a saxophone playing mountain goat. The 86-year-old Mister Li, playing a mean Moscow Nights himself, had only been learning the instrument for two years, and it was he that made my newfound non-procrastination rule kick in.

 “This is it!” I declared to A. “As you are my witness, I am finally going to start playing the banjo, a dream for 30 years!” If an 86-year-old could practise for only two years and produce such great tunes (although they did sound better live than during subsequent viewings of the video I shot, where it appeared that they were all playing different melodies) I’d be damned if I couldn’t learn the banjo.

 And as soon as I got back to Hong Kong in January I bought a banjo and began. I also printed out all my photos of Mister Wang et co. and sent them to him after procrastinating only for two months, with a letter thanking him for a great day and inspiration. Carpe diem!

 That letter came in return two days ago. It was marked “unclaimed”. 

Chinese_musicians_Sanyu freedom-from-sub-editors | blog - Cecilie's PenAndWok.com

But the editor had changed it to: "The letter came back two days LATER." WHAAAAT? What letter would take two days to be returned unclaimed in the same building, let alone from Hong Kong to Hainan including looking around for a saxophone player who had sadly died?
A nadir in my writing life. 
But now, glory, all mistakes I make will be mine and mine alone. Yaooooooo! Above is a documentary I made from that trip. The music uncles start at 08:21 
 

 

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